MARCH 12, 1862-10.45 a. m.
Captain Wyman informs me that the barges sent down have no arrangement for sinking them, and have so little stone in them that he thinks they would not be very efficient in blocking the channel.
JNO. A. DAHLGREN.
March 12, 1862.
Captain G. V. FOX, Fort Monroe:
Can I rely on the Monitor to keep the Merrimac in check, so that I can make Fort Monroe a base of operations. Please answer at once.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
March 12, 1862.
G. V. Fox, Assistant Secretary of the Navy:
The possibility of the Merrimac appearing again paralyzes the movements of this army by whatever route is adopted. How long a time would it require to complete the vessel built at Mystic River, working night and day? How long would Stevens require to finish his vessel, so far as to enable her to contend with the Merrimac? If she is uninjured, of course no precaution would avail, and the Monitor must be the sole reliance. But if injured so as to require considerable repairs, these things are important to be considered. The General would desire any suggestion of your own on this subject.
By order of Major_general McClellan:
J. G. BARNARD,
NAVY DEPARTMENT, March 13, 1862.
Major General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN,
The Monitor is more than a match for the Merrimac, but she might be disabled in the next encounter. I cannot advise so great dependence upon her. Burnside and Goldsborough are very strong for the Chowan River route to Norfolk, and I brought up maps, explanation, &c., to show you. It turns everything, and is only 278 miles to Norfolk by two good roads. Burnside will have New Berne this week. The Monitor may, and I think will, destroy the Merrimac in the next fight; but this is hope,not certainty., The Merrimac must dock for repairs.
G. V. FOX.
March 13, 1862.
On Sunday I sent down fifteen boats. On Tuesday eight more, making