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    Monitor v. Merrimac: Eyewitness Account of Hampton Roads Engagement. Archive of material related to the ironclad vessel, the U.S.S. Monitor. The featured item is a 12-page manuscript letter (marked "Copy") from an unnamed sailor aboard the U. S. Steamer Monitor, Hampton Roads [VA], March 14, 1862, written to his parents less than a week after the famous battle of the ironclads, neatly penned on three bifolium letter sheets. Evidence indicates the writer was Lt. Samuel Dana Greene. "In the afternoon the sea was breaking over our deck at a great rate... our berth deck hatch leaked in spite of all we could do... The water came through the narrow augur holes in the pilot house with such force as to knock the helmsman completely round the wheel. At 4 P.M. the water had gone over our smoke stacks and blowers to such an extent that the blowers gave out and the engine room as filled with gas." The engineers and firemen, overcome with gas, were carried above deck to revive. A tug boat towed down to calmer waters which enabled them to pump out excess water... "At 4 P.M. we passed Cape Henry and heard firing in the direction of Fortress Aromac. As we approached it increased and we immediately cleared ship for action. When about half way between Fortress Monroe & Cape Henry we spoke a pilot-boat. He told us the Cumberland was sunk, the Congress on fire & had surrendered to the Merrimac... as we approached Hampton Roads, we could see the fine old Congress burning brightly... we vowed vengeance on the Merrimac if it should ever be out lot to fall in with her. Captain Worden took the ship to Newport News to assist the Minnesota which had been run aground by the Merrimac. "At daylight we discerned the Merrimac at anchor with several other rebs under Sewell's Point. "The Merrimac got underweigh accompanied by several steamers and started directly for the Minnesota... As the Merrimac came down, the Captain passed the word to begin firing. I triced up the port - ran the gun out - and fired the first gun, and then began the great battle between the Monitor and Merrimac... We loaded & fired as fast as we could... The speaking trumpet from the tower to the pilot house was broken, so we passed the word from the Captain to myself on the berth deck by paymaster Keeler & captain's clerk Ziffy. Five times during the engagement we touched each other, and each time I fired a gun at her... Once she tried to run us down with her iron prow, but did no damage whatever: after fighting for two hours we hauled off for two hours to hoist our shot in the tower. At it we went again as hard as we could..." The Captain was temporarily blinded and transferred command to the writer of the letter. The Merrimac started to retreat, but shots were being directed from the captured ship Minnesota and the rebel battery at Sewall's Point. Following orders, the Monitor did not pursue the Merrimac, but proceeded to the grounded Minnesota where Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus Fox congratulated the crew. A stirring and dramatic letter from one of the key players in the seminal naval battle. Sold together with a John Ericcson ALS dated April 8, 1862 regarding financial matters and some confidential reply to Mr. Anderson, a cut signature of Samuel Dana Greene (with some similarity to the eyewitness "copy" account which may have been written by a secretary or clerk), two cut signatures of John L. Worden (Captain of the "Monitor"), and a cut signature of John Ericcson (the inventor of the ironclad)

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2015
    12th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 822

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