Today in History:

58 Series I Volume LI-I Serial 107 - Supplements Part I

Page 58 Chapter LXIII. MD., E. N. C., PA., VA., EXCEPT S. W., & W. VA.

my regiment by the way of Norfolk in a short time. Please give my respects to all the officers. I hope to be with them again soon.

I, very respectfully, remain, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant, Commanding Company B, Union Coast Guard.

Colonel WARDROP.


MARCH 8, 1862.-Naval engagement in Hampton Roads, Va.

Report of Captain William J. McIntive, Ninety-ninth New York Infantry (Union Coast Guard).

FORTRESS MONROE, VA., March 18, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report to you that with my company I was on board the U. S. frigate Congress in the fight with the iron-clad floating battery Merrimac or Virginia, on the 8th instant, off Newport News, Va. As you are aware, my company was detailed on the 13th of January last to make up the crew of the Congress, having that day paid off and discharged over 300 men; we remained on board practicing at the big guns until the 8th instant, at which time there was with me George L. Elder, second lieutenant, and eighty-seven enlisted men of my company; of the ship's officers and men, there were two hundred and seventy-odd. About 1.30 p. m. on the 8th day of March, 1862, the Merrimac opened fire upon us with her two bow guns, and as she passed up the James River gave a broadside from four guns, to which we replied with our starboard battery and stern guns, as long as they would reach. The Merrimac after going up the river, just beyond our range, turned toward the sloop of war Cumberland, lying some 800 yards above us; after firing many raking shots into her (the C.) she (the M.) ran into the C.; then drawing off a short distance the M. renewed fire, and ran again into the C., when the latter commenced sinking rapidly, and very soon fell over on her beam ends; during this time the Merrimac was occasionally sending a shot into us, and engaging the shore battery, L Company, Fourth U. S. Artillery, which was actively firing upon her. Only our stern guns could be brought to bear on the M., and those endangering the C., we ceased firing; but before the Cumberland sank, the rebel steamers Jamestown, Yorktown, and a tug, which came in sight at the beginning of the action, had reached an effective position and were rapidly firing upon us, to which we gave an almost constant answer with our starboard guns. When the Merrimac was approaching the Cumberland, finding our ship would not swing to her cable, we let it slip, set sail, and ran her aground. The Merrimac, having sunk the Cumberland, was placed in a raking position toward us, about 100 yards from our stern, when she commenced a rapid and most destructive fire with shot and shell upon us, breading the muzzle on one and dismounting the other of our stern guns; it was only then our commander, Captain William Smith, ordered our flag to be lowered. The rebel steamers continuing to fire upon us, we hoisted a white flag to the peak, when in a few minutes the rebel tug Beaufort came alongside; an officer boarded us, ordered the men ashore; said he would take officers and burn the ship, and seemed unwilling to wait for the wounded to be taken out; but, thank God, our kept up such a galling fire upon his vessel that he was forced to leave our decks and move his tug off in haste; when she left our side a short distance, notwithstanding our white flag, the Merrimac opened on us again with shot and shell, one shell bursting on our gun deck, killing

Page 58 Chapter LXIII. MD., E. N. C., PA., VA., EXCEPT S. W., & W. VA.