Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 115
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James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
 
Page 115
 
 
than so many pebble stones thrown by a child.” 1 At one time Lieutenant Jones, who was in command of the Merrimac, inquired, “Why are you not firing, Mr. Eggleston?” “Why, our powder is very precious,” was the reply, “and after two hours’ incessant firing, I find that I can do her about as much damage by snapping my thumb at her every two minutes and a half.” 2 Jones determined then to ram the Monitor as the Cumberland had been rammed the previous day. But the engines and boilers of the Merrimac were defective; her speed was only five knots; she was unwieldy and her iron prow had been twisted off and lost in her encounter with the Cumberland. Opportunity offering, however, she made for her antagonist at full speed, but the Monitor being easily handled, got out of her way, receiving only a glancing blow. “She gave us a tremendous thump,” wrote the Chief Engineer, “but did not injure us in the least.” 3 The Merrimac got the worse of the collision, springing a leak; she had, also wrote Jones, “received a shot which came near disabling the machinery.” 4 But Worden was hurt. In the pilot house, which was constructed of iron logs in the manner of a log cabin, he used a look-out chink to direct the movements of his vessel. A shell struck and exploded just outside, severely injuring his eyes and leading him to believe that the pilot house was seriously damaged. He “gave orders to put the helm to starboard and sheer off.” 5 Jones, either because he thought the Monitor had given up the contest or because his own boat was leaking badly, steered towards Norfolk and the struggle was over. The Monitor was uninjured and in condition to engage the Merrimac if she appeared on the morrow. But the Merrimac was too badly damaged for
 
Note 1. O. R. N., VII, 11. [back]
Note 2. B. & L., I, 702. [back]
Note 3. O. R. N., VII, 26. [back]
Note 4. Ibid., 59. [back]
Note 5. B. & L., I, 727. [back]
 

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