The following was transcribed from W.S. Mabry, A Brief Sketch of the Career of Catesby ap Roger Jones, 1912, by Martha H. Tyson.

Mabry indicates the P.S. is in Ericsson's handwriting. He indicates this is a copy that was sent to Jones from G. V. Fox.


NEW YORK, Nov. 24th, 1874.

MY DEAR SIR: I am at a loss to understand why you have opened afresh discussion about the Monitor and the Merrimac fight, so happily disposed of by several patriotic writers to the satisfaction of the country--I may say to the satisfaction of the whole world.

No one knows better than yourself the shortcomings of that fight, ended at the moment the crew had become well trained, and the machinery got in good working order. Why? Because you had a miserable executive officer who, in place of jumping into the pilot house when Worden was blinded, ran away with his impregnable vessel. The displacements of the plate of the pilot house, which I had designed principally to keep out spray in bad weather, was really an advantage, by allowing fresh air to enter the cramped iron walled cabin--certainly that displacement offered no excuse for discontinuing the fight--the revolving turret and the good steering qualities of the Monitor rendering it unnecessary to fire over the pilot house.

Regarding the rebel statement before me, I can only say that if published it will forever tarnish the lustre of your naval administration, and amaze our people, who have been told that the Merrimac was a terrible ship, which but for the Monitor would have destroyed the Union fleet and burnt the Atlantic cities--in fact, that the Monitor had saved the country.

Need I say that Jones' statement will be published in the professional journals of all civilized countries, and call forth sneers and condemnation from a legion of Monitor opponents. Poor Count Platen and Alderspanes, the criticism and blame that will now be heaped upon them by the present kings party, will be insupportable.

How the changes will be wrung on the statement of the Merrimac's commanding officer, that the Cumberland could have sunk his vessel (admitted to be "unseaworthy," the hull being covered with only one inch plating), yet the Monitor was unable to inflict any damage, not a man on board the Merrimac wounded or killed. But the unarmed Cumberland destroyed two guns, wounding and killing several of the Merrimac's crew.

Again the Monitor, when challenged to come out, " hugged the shore under the guns of the fort." Counter statements, even if believed, would never be published. But I have said enough.

Should the rebel statement be published, its effects will be more damaging than probably any incident of my life.

Please find your several documents enclosed.

Yours truly,
(Signed) J. ERICSSON

P.S.--The original, written under strong emotion, being nearly unintelligible, I forward the copy.

Yours,
J. ERICSSON

CAPT. G. V. FOX, Boston.


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Transcription copyright 1994-1997 by Martha H. Tyson and Mabry Tyson