I am attempting to gather the original texts of all the reports from individuals that had particular knowledge about the CSS Virginia and the battles involving her or her crew. Where I have access to text that I may include here, I will (if I have permission to publish). If I don't have the text itself, I will include a pointer to where it may be found. When you click on an off-site pointer, it should appear in a different window to help indicate that the article is not mine. If not, please contact
Report to Buchanan, March 9, 1862, portion contained in Buchanan's report of March 27, 1862.
Manuscript: "The Virginia, the First Confederate Ironclad, Formerly the United States Steam Frigate Merrimac", Southern Historical Society Papers, written in 1874, submitted October, 1874, published December, 1874.
"A Correction", Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol 1, pp 90-91, written March 11, 1875.
"The Services of the Virginia" in The Confederate Soldier in the Civil War. In the United Service, Vol VIII, 1883, is a paper entitled the same which is indicated the be a reprint of the SHSP report. The text appears to be virtually the same as the Dec. 1874 SHSP paper.
Letter from Cave Springs, Ga. re battle of Merrimac and Monitor. 10-1-1874. To Col. G. W. Mumford, Richmond, Va. Mentions Col. Morris. Includes a letter from September 26, 1873. (at the Eleanor S. Brockenbrough Library in the Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, Va.)
"Sketch of Catesby ap Roger Jones", extracts in Jones, L. H. Captain Roger Jones of London and Virginia, Some of his Antecedents and Descendants. Albany, N.Y.: Joel Munsell's Sons, Publishers, 1891, pp. 263-269.
See Tattnall court martial..Testimony, January 27, 1863, regarding lack of obstructions in the James River in May, 1862.
"The Career of the Merrimac" in The Southern Bivouac, March 1887 pp. 598-608, summarized in "Notes on the Monitor-MerrimacFight," Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. I, 1887, p 718.
"The Career of the Iron-Clad Virginia, (formerly the Merrimac) Confederate States Navy, March-May 1862" in Miscellaneous papers, 1672-1865, now first printed from the manuscript in the collections of the Virginia Historical Society, Brock, R. A. (Robert Alonzo), 1839-1914. Richmond, Va. : The Collections of the Virginia Historical Society, 1887. (Copy at Library of Virginia, VPI, MT)
Letter to the Editor Virginian, August 3, [no year] (Copy at the MOC, MT). He apparently is responding to some errors in accounts by Commander Parker.
H. Ashton Ramsay, Acting Chief Engineer
"Career of the CSS Virginia (Merrimac)" in Confederate Veteran, July, 1907.
"How the Merrimac fought the Monitor," Hearst's Magazine, December 1913, pp 884-894.
James Thomas Brady, Ordinary Seaman
Naval Reminiscenses, letter to the editor, Kosse (Texas) Cyclone, May 23, 1907. See the small Brady collection at the Hill Memorial Library at Louisiana State University, or the newspaper at the University of Texas library.
Elijah Wilson Flake, Landsman
Battle Between the Merrimac and the Monitor.
Polkton, NC. 1914. 12pp.
CSS Beaufort Crew
Muster roll of the CSS Beaufort, September-November, 1861 and April, 1862 from the ORN Series II, Vol. 1, p 281
William Harwar Parker, Captain
Recollections of a Naval Officer 1841-1865. Charles Scribner's Sons, NY, 1883. Reprinted by the Naval Institute Press, Anapolis, Maryland,1985, in their Classics of Naval Literature Series. Chapters XVI and XVII describe his pre-Civil War years on the USS Merrimack. Chapters XXII through XXV cover the time of the Virginia.
"Battle of the Merrimac and the Monitor" in Confederate Military History, Gen. Clement A. Evans, Editor,Vol. XII. Thomas Yoseloff, New York, NY. 1899. Reprinted by A. S. Barnes and Company, Inc. 1962. Chapter 6, pp36-46.
The Confederate States Ram Merrimac or Virginia : the history of her planned construction, and her engagements with the United States Fleet, March 8 and 9, 1862. Hermitage Press in Richmond, 1907. 34pp. Also extracts included in William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Papers, Vol. 2, No. 2. (Oct., 1893), p. 132. (Copy at LoV, VMI, UVA, UTA, SMU) Apparently the same as the SHSP article.
Letter in the Richmond Dispatch, March 1890(?) about the "Merrimack's Men." Referred to by Porter's letter.
Francis W. Dawson, Masters Mate (mid-March - April 17, 1862)
Reminiscences of Confederate Service; 1861-1865.
Bell I Wiley, editor. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge, Lousiana. 1980. 214pp. Originally published by The News and Courier Book Presses, Charleston, S.C., 1882. Although Dawson became a CSA Captain, he began the war in the Navy. In Chapter VIII he covers the April trip of the Virginia and the preparations to take the Monitor while he was on the Beaufort. (Copy at MT)
Ivey Foreman, Midshipman (or Acting Volunteer)
Letter, 1862 March 11, Portsmouth, [Va.], to M[artha] E. [(Hoskins) Foreman] Lewis concerning the Battle of Hampton Roads. The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, XLIV (April 1936), 116-119. (at VHS)
CSS Patrick Henry Crew
J. R. Tucker, Commander, CSN, Captain of the Patrick Henry
House of Representatives Bill, April 8, 1863, for $100,000 prize money for the Battle of Hampton Roads. Filmed from the holdings of the Boston Athenaeum. Microfilm. New Haven, Conn. : Research Publications, . On reel 6 of 143 microfilm reels ; 35 mm. (Confederate imprints, 1861-1865 ; reel 6, no. 325). (Rice)
Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America
Report to the Confederate Congress, April 10, 1862. Primarily consists of the April 7th report of Secretary of the Navy, S. R. Mallory, which primarily consists of the March 27th report of Franklin Buchanan. Also in "Battle of Hampton Roads--Confederate Official Reports." Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. VII, No. 7, July 1879, pp 305-314 and in ORN Series I, Vol 7, pp 43-49 and as microfilm (Research Publications, New Haven, Conn. 1974, Confederate Imprints, reel 15, no. 874).
Stephen R. Mallory, Secretary of the Navy
Letter to Flag-officer F. Forrest, July 11, 1861, quoted in Scharf, p. 149 directing the conversion of the Merrimack. Also in Brooke's 1891 SHSP article. (The text in Scharf and Brooke uses a date of 1862 but that is clearly in error.)
Letter, May 2, 1862, to General Joseph E. Johnston, Commanding Army of Northern Virginia, Notes that the Virginia must be destroyed when Norfolk falls, expressing a wish that, before that, it could run into Yorktown.
Letter, May 8, 1862, to General Benjamin Huger, Norfolk. Lee desires
that the Virginia guard the mouth of the James River rather than aid in evacuation of Sewell's Point and Craney Island.
Letter, May 10, 1862, to General Joseph E. Johnston, Commanding Army of Northern Virginia, Notes that
that several navy guns have been mounted at Drewry's Bluff in addition to the three original guns.
Letter, May 13, 1862, to his wife "But the loss of the Virginia has produced such profound sensation that all personal considerations are smothered."
Letter, May 15, 1862, to General Joseph E. Johnston, Commanding Army of Northern Virginia. Remarks
about the battle at Drewry's Bluff with only the two iron boats engaged.
R. E. Colston, General, CSA, in command of a CSA brigade on the south side of James River, watched from Ragged Point on March 8 and 9 (in the water, within 3/4 mile of the battle on the 9th).
John L. Porter, Naval Constructor
See the images at the Naval Historical Center.
Letter to Mallory (authored with Williamson & Brooke) regarding using the Merrimack as the basis for an iron-clad, June 25, 1861. In Brooke's 1891 SHSP article.
Letter to Charleston Mercury, March 19, 1862, regarding the belief of others that the Virginia would not float, in Brooke's 1891 SHSP article. Also quoted in Scharf, p150, (incorrectly as from April 8, 1862, Mercury).
Letter "Who Planned the Virginia?" in the Examiner (April 11, 1862) dated April 8, 1862 in response to Mallory's report of March 29, 1862. Asserts that the plans of the Virginia were his. In Brooke's 1891 SHSP article. Also extracted in Scharf, p 148 (attributed to the Enquirer on March 8 or 29, 1862.).
C. S. S. Virginia (Merrimack): Story of her Construction, Battles, etc. By John L. Porter, Naval Constructor. June 25, 1861??? (at the Eleanor S. Brockenbrough Library in the Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, Va., Library of Virginia, Norfolk Public Library, Univ of Virginia)
Letter to Rev. J.S. Moore, Portsmouth, Va. With Sketches. Nov. 4, 1861.(at the Eleanor S. Brockenbrough Library in the Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, Va.)
Letter re construction credits in Richmond Dispatch, March 29, 1890(?). Referred to by Brooke's SHSP article.
Stephen Dodson Ramseur, Major, C.S.A., commanding two rifle guns at Sewell's Point on March 8-9, 1862
" 'The Fight Between Two Iron Monsters' : The Monitor versus the Virginia as Described by Major Stephen Dodson Ramseur, C.S.A" in Civil War History, (Gary Gallagher, editor), Vol 3, 1984, pp 268-271. (Ramseur's letter is dated March 11, 1862.)
William Norris, Chief of Signal Corps and Secret Service Bureau, CSA (eyewitness to battle from Portsmouth)
History of the Confederate States Navy, originally published in 1867. Although he was not personally involved with the Virginia, as an officer of the CSN, he knew or had access to many of the people involved and collected many documents to include in his 1255-page tome. The Virginia is covered on pages 128-238.
French Forrest, Commodore, CSN, in command of Norfolk Naval Yard.
To General Lee, "The Merrimac is up," May 30, 1861, from Scharf, p 140.
Order to Catesby Jones, November 23, 1861, to test the guns arriving for the Merrimack.
Letter to W. G. Webb, November 25, 1861, to ship iron for the Merrimack.
Order to Acting Master Parrish, December 6, 1861, regarding the remove of obstructions in the Elizabeth River channel.
Letter to Major-General Huger, December 9, 1861, regarding removal of obstructions in Elizabeth River.
Letter to Major-General Huger, January 25, 1862, requesting oil for the Merrimack.
Letter to Major-General Huger, February 15, 1862, regarding confusing any signals that may be made by spies when the Merrimack is undocked.
Letter to Naval Constructor Porter, February 15, 1862, regarding adding two small boats to the Virginia.
Order to Catesby ap Roger Jones, February 17, 1862, regarding the commissioning of the Virginia, and to put the men on board.
Order to Lt. Morgan on the United States, February 17, 1862, to prepare to move the crew to the Virginia.
Letter to Major-General Huger, February 27, 1862, requesting powder for the Virginia which is detained by the lack of powder.
Letter, Feb 28, 1862 to Col. S. S. Anderson, CSA, requesting powder to be transferred to the Virginia. It will take 3 days to fill the ship's cartridge bags with 18,000 pounds of powder. ORN Series I, Vol 1, p 778
Letter, Feb 28, 1862, to Lt. Comdng. Van R. Morgan, United States, to transfer to the Virginia all but 50 pounds of powder per gun. ORN Series I, Vol 1, p 778
James Morris Morgan, Midshipman ,CSN
Recollections of a Rebel Reefer.Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston and New York, 1917. Contains a description of coming on board the Virginia shortly before it was destroyed and a much longer description of the battle at Drewry's Bluff.
John Jordan Shoemaker, Soldier at Sewell's Point
"When the Merrimac Made History," Richmond Times-Dispatch, March 8, 1936, Section V, pp 1-2. (The recounting of the battle is from "old papers" "found recently." It obviously was not written soon after the battle and probably was written many years after the battle.)
Francis Roger Gregory, surgeon 12th, 23rd, 38th N.C. regiments
Letter March 29, 1862, from Sewell's Point describing preparations for a battle between the Monitor and Virginia. At the Library of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Southern Historical Collection (#3374 Ferebee, Gregory, and McPherson family papers).
Edward O. Parry, 1st Louisiana Special Infantry Battalion
Papers at the US Army Military History Institute (Harrisburg CWRT Coll.) - Something about finding CSS Virginia's Flag in Cape May, NJ.
"A true description of the fight between the "Merrimac" and the "Monitor" in Hampton Roads, Va., Sunday, March the 9th, 1862, as witnessed by Capt. Tom Smith, an old blockade runner" 12pp (Copy at Norfolk Public Library)
J. H. D. Wingfield, Assistant Rector, Trinity Church, Portsmouth, VA.
"A Thanksgiving Service on the Virginia, March 10, 1862" in Southern Historical Society Papers, vol XIX, pp 249-250. The article is authored by "Spectator" but primarily contains the address by Wingfield.
Reprint on March 23, 1912, of portions of the Norfolk Day-Book report of March 10, 1862.
Log entry for March 9, 1862. Record Book Group 24, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
John L. Worden, Commanding the Monitor to March 9, 1862, Lieutenant, USN
Letter to Commodore Smith, responding to letter of command, Jan. 13, 1862.
Report of reporting to duty commanding the Monitor, Jan. 16, 1862.
Report regarding the allowance of officers and men for the Monitor, Jan 22, 1862.
Report to Gideon Welles with his recommendation of crew for the Monitor, Jan. 27, 1862.
Report of return to docks by Monitor due to defective steering, Feb. 27, 1862.
Report to Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, March 8, 1862, arrival of Monitor in Hampton Roads.
Report of the expected sailing of the Monitor and the muster roll of crew and list of officers, March 1, 1862.
Telegram indicating the trial trip of the Monitor will be on March 3. March 1, 1862.
Report of departure from New York en route to Hampton Roads, March 6, 1862.
Letter to Dinwiddie B. Phillips, March 13, 1882, excerpted in "Notes on the Monitor-Merrimac Fight" in The Southern Bivouac, March 1887, summarized in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. I, 1887, p 718.
Official report to the Secretary of the Navy, Jan. 5, 1868. Included in Tindall's article , Tyler's Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine (Vol III, 1922), and excerpted in a footnote to the chapter "In the Monitor Turret" in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. I, 1887, p729. Is this also the letter from 1868 excerpted on page 197 of Hoehling?
Letter apparently to Ericsson, March 12, 1862, published in Scientific American. Greene claims that he put five shot through the Virginia (when he was operating the gun, he couldn't see what happened to the shell; that had to be reported from the pilot house). He also claims that the Monitor will go along side the Virginia and fight until one sinks, in direct contradiction to orders issued by Lincoln previous to Greene's letter.
Letter to parents, March 14, 1862. Relates trip to Hampton Roads and the battle.
In Post, Lydia Minturn, Mrs., ed.: Soldiers' Letters, from camps, battle-field and prison. Published for the U.S. sanitary commission. Bunce & Harrington, New York. 1865. pp 106-115.
In "The Fight Between the Monitor and the Merrimac." United Service 12 (Apr 1885): pp. 448-454. (This copy is missing some content compared to the 1865 publication.)
Excerpt of a private letter written just after the fight, in a footnote (p 762) of "In the Monitor Turret" in Century Magazine (see below).
"I Fired the First Gun and Thus Commenced the Great Battle." Am Heritage 8 (Jun 1957): pp. 10-13 & 102-105.
"The 'Monitor' at Sea and in Battle." USNIP 49 (Nov 1923): pp. 1839-1849.
An eye-witness account of the battle between the U.S.S. Monitor and the C.S.S. Virginia (formerly U.S.S. Merrimack) on March 9th, 1862. Washington: Naval Historical Foundation, 1962? (Copy at William & Mary University, Virginia).
Letter to Captain Worden, April 24, 1862 quoted from The Blockade and the Cruisers (Soley, Charles Scribner's Sons) in a footnote of the chapter "In the Monitor Turret" in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. I, 1887. p. 726.
Aboard the USS Monitor, 1862: The Letters of Acting Paymaster Willaim Frederick Keeler, U.S. Navy, to His Wife, Anna. Daly, Robert W. ed., U.S. Naval Institute, Annapolis, 1964. (See this March 9, 1862, letter to his wife)
"The Monitor and Merrimac" in Personal Narratives of Events in the War of the Rebellion, being papers read before the Rhode Island Soldiers and Sailors Historical Society. Fourth Series, No. 6, Providence. Published by the Society, 1890. (Copy at Library of Virginia, Norfolk Public Library, UVA)
Testimony before the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, Dec. 24, 1864. Report of the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War at the Second Session, Thirty-Eighth Congress. United States. Congress Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War. 3 Vols. Washington, GPO. 1865. Vol 1, p 53. There is more about Ericsson and the Navy Department and Monitor design.
Ellis, David Robert, Coal Heaver
The Monitor of the Civil War.
Annville?, PA. 190-?. 39pp. Reprinted from the Lebanon County
Historical Society, Lebanon, Pa. Historical papers and addresses,
v. 8, no. 1?
Commander W. Smith, Commanding the Congress
Report regarding insufficient crew for the Congress, Jan. 21, 1862.
"The Congress-Merrimac Fight", Letter in Century Magazine, Volume 8 (New Series), page 642, August 1885. He describes a gun disloged by and a fire set by the first broadside of the Virginia that kept burning. He also describes the damage raking fire by Lt. Wood's gun as the Virginia later swung around.
Letter to J. M. Broomall, March 24, 1862. Printed years later. From the archives of the Media Library, Media, Pennsylvania.
Frederick H. Curtis, Gunner
"The 'Congress' and the 'Merrimack'", retold by Frank Stedmon Alger in The New England Magazine. Vol. 25, Issue 6, February 1899, pp. 687-693. Captain of the No. 8 gun, he was wounded by the first broadside from the Virginia when a shell came in the No. 7 gun port. He reports only one ramming of the Cumberland and that the Virginia backed off from the Cumberland and ran aground. The after magazine was flooded to prevent an explosion from a fire in the wardroom. Says he fired the last shot after the command was given to cease firing.
"The Cumberland", a paper by Companion Rear Admiral T. O. Selfridge, March 6, 1907. [Copy at LoC]
"The Story of the Cumberland" in Naval Actions and History, 1799-1898, Military Historical Society of Massachusetts, (Boston 1902): 101-126.
Memoirs of Thomas O. Selfridge, Jr., Rear Admiral, U.S.N. with an introduction by Captain Dudley W. Knox. New York & London, G.P. Putnam's sons, 1924. xii, 288 p. front. (port.) plates, maps (part fold.) 24cm.[Copy at LoC, MT]
Daniel O'Connor, Private USMC
Letter, April 24, 1861, about the events at Gosport Navy Yard on April 19-20.
Two letters, March 13, 1862, and March 27, 1862. Copies are in the Personal Papers Section, Marine Corps Historical Center, Washington D.C. (See Sullivan 1997. From Personal Collection of Mr. John Connor)
"How I Saw the Monitor-Merrimac Fight" in New England Magazine, July, 1907, Vol XXXVI, No. 5, pp548-553. New England Magazine Company. (Copy at MT)
Provides an interesting view of the battle, esp. the hoplessness of the night of March 8. He does elaborate his experiences with information (often indicated by "It is said") that is counter-factual and does report on events he could not have seen.
S. R. Franklin, Lt. USN. (Temporarily housed on the Roanoke)
Description of the events in Chapter XV of Memories of a Rear-Admiral, Harper & Brothers Publishers. New York. 1898. Most unusual fact mentioned is that an officer of the Virginia was reported on leave in Norfolk when the Union captured the city and was said to believe the Virginia was not destroyed. (Copy at MT)
Balsir, Captain, USN
Short quote about the battle of March 8-9 in Scharf, p. 160.
"The Last Days of the Rebel Iron-Clad Merrimac and Occupation of Norfolk, As Seen From the U.S.S. Susquehanna" in War Papers. Read Before the Commandery of the District of Columbia, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. Volume 1, Papers 1-26 March 1887-April 1897 Originally Printed by the Commandery as Individual Papers 1887-1897.
Testimony on the Monitor and Merrimac before the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War. March 19, 1862. Report of the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, United States Congress Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War. 3 Vols. Washington. GPO. 1863. See Part III, pp 415-421
Very interesting and candid.
John Ericsson, designer of the Monitor
Letter to Scientific American, March 15, 1862. Re the ventilation of the Monitor, the cause behind her near sinking en route to Hampton Roads, and an assertion that the Monitor could support bigger guns that could sink the Virginia. Also there is a comment on Ericsson appearing before the NY Chamber of Commerce to discuss harbor defences.
Letter to G.V. Fox, Nov 24, 1874, from Mabry's Brief Sketch of the Career of Catesby ap Roger Jones, 1912. Ericsson objects to the publication of Catesby Jones's manuscript describing the battle, which he published in the Southern Historical Society Papers. When Mrs. Fox donated the Fox papers to the NY Historical Society, she included a note that she destroyed some letters that were meant to be private. The original of this letter may have been destroyed then.
"The Monitors" in The Century, Volume 31, Issue 2, December 1885, pp 280-299.
Out of ammunition, Merrimack and Yorktown are off Signal Point
Congress burning. Enemy steamers hauled off toward Pig Point.
Letters to Wife
March 11, 1862 Camp Butler. He reports almost being killed by a percussion shell from the Virginia. "I came very near being killed again. I had just dismounted & stepped into my room to write a telegram to Genl Wool when a large shell from the Merrimac went throw my [room?] smashing everything before it & knocking down my chimney & stopped just behind my chair as I was writing -- Fortunately it did not burst & I was saved again. It was one of those elongated percussion shell that should have burst on striking my fireplace, but owing to a slight imperfection in a screw I was saved.
"We had no killed of my command & one man only had his leg taken off." [Copy at LoC]
March 31, 1862 Newport News. He talks of disagreements with General Wool. [Copy at LoC]
Report of an injury, Congress burned, Monitor has arrived.
Dix, Major-General, US Army
Letter to Major-General Wool with telegram from Gideon Welles to proceed immediately to Washington with the Monitor. March 5, 1862.
G. B. Cannon, Aid-de-camp
Telegram, March 9, 1862, to General Mansfield, Monitor is giving the Yorktown and Merrimack more than they want.
George B. McClellan, General
Message to Gen. Wool, Feb. 21, 1862 that "The ... monitor... will be at Hampton Roads within the time you specify.", quoted in Scharf, p 143.
The last two sheets of a note on telegraph paper.. Not certain who was to be the recipient or the date. Apparently March 8, 1862. [Copy at NARA?] "I do not mean to give you the order to do so but to relieve you from the grave sence[sic] of Responsibility which every good officer feels in such a case. I would only evacuate N[?] when becomes clear the Rebels [w?]ould certainly obtain complete control of the water & render it [?unpassable?]. do not [?save?] the task of placing [...] garrison under the necessity for surrendering. you will also please inform me fully of your views and wishes. The practicability & necessity of reinforcing you. The performance of the Merrimac places a new aspect upon every thing. I may probably change my whole place of campaign just on the eve of execution."
Foxhall Parker, Lieutenant, USN
"The 'Monitor' and the 'Merrimac.'" Record of the United States Naval Institute 1, no. 7 (1874): 155-162. G.V. Fox indicated that this account was written after consultation with John Worden and indicates that the Monitor withdrew first.
Joseph Smith, Commodore, USN. Chief of Bureau Yards and Docks
Letter to Lt. Worden naming him to command the Monitor, Jan. 11, 1862.
Andrew A. Harwood, Chief of Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography
Letter to the Commodore Jos. Smith regarding the maximum weight of projectiles for the guns of the Monitor, Feb. 7, 1862.
H. Paulding, Commandant of the New York Navy Yard
Order to Lt. Worden to proceed to Hampton Roads, March 4, 1862.
Richard Strader Collum, Major
Report on the battles of March 8 and 9, 1862 at the Pennsylvania Commandery, Naval Order of the United States, March 9, 1898. Includes a letter from Dana Greene to his parents dated March 14, 1862. (in the Special Collections, Alderman Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va)
William Edgar Rogers, Colonel, US Army
The first battle of the iron clads as seen by an eye witness, copy at VPI.
Edward Nicholas Boots, 101st Penn. Veteran Volunteer Infantry (The online versions are published by Edward Boots, a descendant.)
Letter, April 1&2, 1862, from Potomac River & Fortress Monroe. He refers to the "Merimac" coming out and firing 3 shots at Newport News.
Previously published in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography April 1961
Letter, April 12, 1862, from Camp Kiem, VA. Talks about the Monitor and Virginia exchanging a few shots. Their artillery would have fired but the British ships were in the way.
Previously published in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography April 1961
William C. H. Reeder, Co. A, 20th Indiana Infantry
Letters at the Miami County (Indiana) Museum. He observed the battle of the Monitor and the Virginia.
William C. Dermady, 1st Long Island Volunteer Regiment
Letter, April 3, 1862, from Newport News (with pieces of the Congress and Cumberland). Indicates that one of the Rebel gunboats threw 6 shells into Newport News "last Monday" (March 31). Apparently not at Newport News on March 8-9. This letter is no longer where I found it on the net.
H. G. Tucker, Captain, U.S. Engineer Corps
Report, April 20, 1861, regarding the attempt to blow up the dry dock at Norfolk.
Egbert L. Viele, General, US Army
"A Trip with Lincoln, Chase, and Stanton,"Scribners Monthly, An Illustrated Magazine for the People. Volume 16, Issue 6. October 1878. pp. 813-823 Scribner and Son. New York. Describes Lincoln's trip to Fort Monroe to try to take Norfolk and the Virginia and the subsequent capture of Norfolk.
F. Hurly, Third Massachusetts
Letter, April 22, 1861, about the evacuation of Gosport Navy Yard. From New Bedford Daily Standard, April 27, 1861.
T. D. Cook, Jr., Third Massachusetts
Letter, April 21, 1861, about the evacuation of Gosport Navy Yard. From New Bedford Daily Standar, April 27, 1861
Arthur Buckminster Fuller, Chaplain, 16th Massachusetts Volunteers
Letters in Richard F. Fuller: Chaplain Fuller: being a life sketch of a New England clergyman and army chaplain. Boston. 1863. pp 233-245. Extracts are in Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Harvard Memorial Biographies, 2 Vols. Cambridge, Sever and Francis, 1866. Vol. 1, p. 79-94. Lots of oratory but not so many facts
M. C. Meigs, QuarterMaster General
Telegram to Dahlgren, March 13, 1862. [NARA?] Ordered nine barges. Concerned that the Monitor might fail mechanically and the Virginia would be free to come up. Has heard the Virginia can out run the Monitor.
Benjamin Franklin Isherwood, Chief Engineer, USN
"Experiment to Determine the Evaporative Efficiency of the Boiler of the Roanoke" in Experimental Researches in Steam Engineering, B. F. Isherwood. William Hamilton, Hall of the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia. 1863. pp 210-216. Describes the boilers on the USS Merrimack with information about speed, coal consumption, range, etc.
Official correspondence regarding the Monitor, telegrams, notes, and brief letters from various U.S. Navy officers regarding the construction, service, and repairs of the ship, including accounts of the engagement with the Virginia. In the Missouri Historical Society Archives.
Other Union Sources
The Scientific American
"The New Frigate Merrimac," Vol. XI, No. 28, March 22, 1856, p. 222. The Merrimack is back from her trial run and, according to an unverified source, her machinery was a failure. She only attained a maximum speed of 9mph with an average of 7mph.
"Models of Ships - The Speed of the Merrimac," Vol. XI, No. 34, May 3, 1856, p. 267. A letter suggesting that the reason for the slow speed of the USS Merrimac was in part due to the use of government naval constructors rather than consulting naval constructors.
"A Different Story about the Merrimac," Vol. XI, No. 34, May 3, 1856, p. 267. A letter refuting bad reviews of the Merrimac, quoting a letter from a Lieutenant from the Merrimac saying she achieved 15 knots under sail, and the steam engine is for auxiliary use only.
"The Steam Frigate Merrimac," Vol. XII, No. 9, November 8, 1856, p. 70. A glowing review of the Merrimack as a line-of-battle ship from her trip to Southhampton.
A short note on the failure of the brass seats of the airpump foot valves on the Merrimack. Vol. XII, No. 11, November 23, 1856, p. 88.
"The 'Merrimac' as a Rebel Battering Ram", New Series,, Vol. V, No. 19, November 9, 1861, p 304. This article includes an image that is not too bad considering the Virginia was still being constructed (and the artist didn't realize the ship would rider lower in the water). The information on the guns was wrong. The information on the thickness of the plating was out of date.
"The Ericsson Battery," New Series, Vol. V, No. 21, Nov. 23, 1861, p. 331. An early description of the Monitor.
"Report on Iron-clad War Vessels," New Series, Vol. V, No. 25, December 21, 1861, p. 387. A report about awarding contracts for the three iron-clad designs.
"Harbor Defences -- Martello Towers," New Series, Vol. V, No. 24, December 14, 1861, p. 377. While discounting a suggestion that the Virginia might sneak into Philadelphia, the article notes that it could overcome the defenses.
"Notes on Military and Naval Affairs," New Series, Vol. VI, No. 7, February 15, 1862, p. 98. The Monitor is launched. Some consideration of it doing ramming. Ericsson confident she can sink the Virginia in minutes.
"The Working of the 'Monitor'," New Series, Vol. VI, No. 13, March 29, 1862, p. 194. Letter from Ericsson that includes a letter from Greene. Greene claims that he put five shot through the Virginia (when he was operating the gun, he couldn't see what happened to the shell; that had to be reported from the pilot house). He also claims that the Monitor will go along side the Virginia and fight until one sinks, in direct contradiction to orders issued by Lincoln previous to Greene's letter.
"The Armament of the 'Merrimac'," New Series, Vol. VI, No. 18, May 3, 1862, p. 275. The article suggests that some of the guns on the Virginia were from Blakely.
"The British Navy and the Armstrong Gun," New Series, Vol. VI, No. 18, May 3, 1862, p. 275 from the London Engineer. The effect of the battle of the Virginia and Monitor upon the current English Armstrong guns.
"Concussion of Heavy Guns," New Series, Vol. XI, No. 12, September 17, 1863, p. 185.
Claims that the reason the Monitor withdrew and failed to follow the Virginia is that the discharge of the Monitor's own guns threatened the pilot house roof and those at the sight holes.
"Chiefly about War Matters,"Atlantic Monthly, July 1862, "By a Peaceable Man"
This well-known author describes the Monitor and events of and after the battle. However, the inclusion of this article in this bibliography does not mean to imply this Hawthorne piece is based on his actions and what he saw himself.
A picture of the Merrimac (? more). April 12, 1862.
"The Second Trip of the 'Merrimac'." May 3, 1862.
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Harper &Bros., New York, New York
"Monthly Record of Current Events," Volume 24, Issue 144, May 1862 (covering the events of March), page 837. Nothing of particular interest here other than the usual errors.
"Editor's Easy Chair," Volume 24, Issue 144, May 1862, pp. 844-850. On page 845, the editor reflects upon the utility of Monitors to protect the United States from the English navy.
"Iron-Clad Vessels," by A. H. Guernsey: Volume 25, Issue 148, September 1862, pp. 433-447. Describes the building of Monitor-class vessels.
"About Cannon," by J. T. Headley: Volume 25, Issue 149, October 1862, pp. 593-607. Describes the history of cannon, esp. naval cannon. Mentions the Monitor and Virginia and considers the dangers to coastal cities of invincible ships.
"Report of property taken at the Navy-Yard, Gosport" in Poetry, Rumors, and Incidents, p. 70
"The Cumberland" (a poem) from the Baltimore American, in Poetry, Rumors, and Incidents, p. 73.
"On Board the Cumberland" by George H. Boker (a poem) in Poetry, Rumors, and Incidents, pp 79-80. Also in Frank Moore's Anecdotes, Poetry, and Incidents of the War: North and South. 1860-1865. pp 106-107.
"The Sword-Bearer" by George H. Boker (a poem about Morris and the Cumberland) in Poetry, Rumors, and Incidents, p. 91-92.
"The Men of the Cumberland" (a poem) in Poetry, Rumors, and Incidents, p. 94.
"The Frigate Cumberland" by Elizabeth T. Porter Beach (a poem) in Poetry, Rumors, and Incidents, p. 96
"Joe's dead" in Poetry, Rumors, and Incidents, p. 101.
"McKean Buchanan volunteers on the Congress" in Poetry, Rumors, and Incidents, p. 103.
"The Naval Revolution.", April 5, 1862, describing the battle of March 8 and 9, 1862, pp 327-330, 344. Includes Jones's report of March 8 and the Norfolk Daybook account from March 10.
"The American Iron-Clad Vessels," April 12, 1862. A short description of the construction of the Monitor and Virginia.
An article (in English, but outside the United States) possibly written in 1864 contains accounts by a member of the Cumberland and by a correspondent. In the Norfolk Library.
"An eye-witness" account beginning on page 140 in Edmonds, S. Emma Evelyn, Nurse and spy in the Union army : comprising the adventures and experiences of a woman in hospitals, camps and battle-fields. W.S. Williams & Co., Hartford. 1865. 384pp. This appears to be the same "Washington correspondent" quoted by E.V. White and in Abbott's The History of the Civil War in America, p. 346. who was at Fort Monroe.
"Mariner" He was in the shipping business and owned a shop under the bluff with the batteries one mile upriver from Newport News Point. He watched the battle on March 8 from the batteries.
The Great Naval battle as I saw it, and remarks upon American genius. Oriental commerce, why we should control it. Necessity for temporary Government aid to steamship lines. Our great national blunder and its results. Notes of a traveller. [Signed "Mariner."] Daily Morning Chronicle, Washington, D. C. 1872].16pp. (Copy at Army War College Library, US Navy Historical Center Library [9pp]) "The Merrimac had well chosen the flood tide for her mission of destruction, and whilst saying nothing of the cause, I will say that they maneuvered that long heavy ship with its great draft of water, in that narrow channel, in a manner that did great credit to American seamanship. The day was calm and bright. As she came up with and passed the Congress, she sent her shot and shell crashing through her with terrible effect, and steered straight on for the Cumberland, and striking her on the port (left) bow, continued going ahead until the Cumberland's two anchors "brought up" both ships, straightening the two chains out of water for some distance, with the weight and momentum of the two vessels. The engines were then reversed, and the Merrimac, dragging the Cumberland in the opposite direction by her ram, until the anchors again brought her up, and by that well executed maneuver the ram was drawn out, leaving a huge hole in the Cumberland some distance under water. After the Merrimac had released her ram from the Cumberland, and demanded that ship's surrender, which was promptly refused (as I was told) by Commander Morris, she then commenced sending her deadly missiles crashing through her, at close quarters, riddling her like a sieve, and at the same time pelting away at the battery on shore. ... The Cumberland was settling down rapidly, but fighting desperately, and was fast losing her buoyancy, by the pouring in of the water below. She rolled and staggered like a drunken man as each broadside was discharged at her enemy, and as she rolled I could distinctly see (from where I was standing all this time at the battery) the blood of the mangled crew oozing from her scupper holes, and running down the ship's side. Thus rolling and staggering for a few minutes longer, and as she discharged the last gun at her foe, she took a long and final roll, and fell over on her port beam ends (or left side), with her mast-head trucks striking the water, and there the mass presented a sad picture to behold. The hull, with its great weight of battery, &c., sank rapidly, and striking the bottom, it righted up for a moment, and the masts stood erect, and in another moment they listed over till the bilge of the wreck rested on the bottom, and there she lay with her lower mast-heads a little above water. As the masts and spars came out of water, the flag in its right place came also, but the staff to which it was secured was so near the water its fly would drag in the strong current of the river as the wind would slacken, and rise again as each puff would strike it and shake off the water, as though struggling between life and death. The wreck lay with her head pointing where the sun was soon to go out of sight for that day, and her stern toward the shore batter that had been so gallantly fought in her defence, but to no purpose."
Roland Greene Mitchell
Letter, March 11, 1862, in Post, Lydia Minturn, Mrs., ed.: Soldiers' Letters, from camps, battle-field and prison. Published for the U.S. sanitary commission. Bunce & Harrington, New York. 1865. pp 118-122. Apparently this is from a civilian who was near Fort Monroe at the time of the battle. He indicates that the Minnesota and Sewell's Point exchanged fire before the Virginia ever fired.
The war in the United States. Report to the Swiss military department; proceded by a discourse to the Federal military society assembled at Berne, Aug. 18, 1862.
Translated from the French. De la guerre actuelle des États-Unis d'Amérique. New York, D. Van Nostrand, 1863. 148pp. (Online copy at UMich). While he was not there for the battle and certain parts were apparently hearsay, he did visit the Monitor and may have discussed strategies with the Union officers.