Later From Fortress Monroe. The Naval Battle In Hampton...

June 04, 2000




Desperate Fighting and Loss of Life.



The Capture and Burning of the Frigate Congress.


A Confederate Steamer Cut in Two.




The Loss of Life.

The Georgeanna arrived yesterday morning at 7 o'clock. She brought up a large number of passengers, principally women and children, who came from Fortress Monroe. They are those who have from time to time gone down from Baltimore, but have been unable to go any further. It was said that Gen. Wool designed to order all the women from Old Point.

Lieut. Worden, who was in command of the U.S. iron-clad steamer Monitor, came up in the Georgeanna. He is considerably injured in the face and eyes, but not dangerously. He proceeded on to Washington.

A number of the crew of the U.S. frigate Congress and sloop of war Cumberland, who were saved from those vessels, also came up. They report that nearly all the principal officers on board the Congress were taken prisoners, and conveyed to Norfolk. Her crew, however, were permitted to make their escape in the best way possible, many of whom were drowned in attempting to reach the shore, a mile distant.

Among the drowned is said to be the chaplain of the Congress. The magazine of the Congress exploded on Saturday night, and the fine vessel became a total wreck.

The frigate Cumberland, which was sunk, was commanded by Captain Radford. All on board fought with the most determined bravery.

We subjoin full details of the engagement, both on Saturday and Sunday, furnished by the "Associated Press."


Full and Stirring Details.

Fortress Monroe, March 9 -- P.M. -- The long-expected and talked of rebel steamer Merrimac has at length made her appearance in these waters.

Yesterday afternoon, with the assistance of two wooden gunboats, which came out with her from Norfolk, and the Jamestown and Yorktown, which came down the James river, she made an attack upon Newport News and the naval vessels stationed at that place.

The Merrimac was first seen from the ramparts of Fortress Monroe on her way to Newport News about a quarter before 1 o'clock. Two gunboats followed, all carrying the rebel flag at their stern.

The gunboats had a French flag at the masthead, by way, it is supposed of complimenting the French men-of-war in the roads.

The Merrimac had a flag at her bows, which was thought by some to be a commander's blue flag, and by others it was set down to be a black flag, but most likely the first opinion was correct. She appeared to be very low in the water. Her sides, bows and stern were covered with a sloping iron roof, extending about two feet below the water line, and meeting above like the roof of a house. at her bows, on the water line, were two sharp iron points, about six or seven feet apart. Her number of guns has been stated at twelve, but she might not have had so many. At her bows, two guns were seen projecting from a long elliptical port-hole.

The precise design of the enemy did not become apparent until between one and two o'clock, and by that time the Minnesota had got under way for the scene of action.

The Roanoke (flag ship) having been disabled by the breaking of her shaft some time since, was taken in tow by the tug boats Dragon and Young America.

At about the same time the alarm signal gun of the fortress was fired, and the whole garrison promptly turned out under arms, eager for the anticipated fight.

The Tenth regiment of New York volunteers were drawn up, and briefly addressed by Col. Bendix, and all testified the greatest delight at the prospect of getting into action.

After being under orders for some time, the garrison was dismissed until they should be wanted.

The rebel boats steadily pursued their way to Newport News, and the Merrimac soon turned the point and was lost to view of the eager spectators at the fortress.

The first shot was fired by the frigate Cumberland, at a little past two o'clock.

The Sewell's Point battery then opened upon the Minnesota, which was passing up, and the Sawyer gun, from the Rip Raps, replied with a few shots at the Sewell's Point rebels.

A thick cloud of smoke was soon seen to arise above and hang over Newport News, indicating that our batteries there as well as the sloop of war Cumberland and the frigate Congress were engaging the enemy.

The progress of the action could not now be seen from the fortress, but the telegraphic line thither kept Gen. Wool advised of the progress of events.

A dispatch was after a time received announcing that the Cumberland and the Merrimac were in close quarters. As the latter approached the Cumberland, she did not pay any attention to the Congress, but after firing two guns struck her (the Cumberland) with her sharp bows, making a jagged hole in her side, at the water line, about seven feet in extent.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.