War of the Rebellion: Serial 107 Page 0059 Chapter LXIII. NAVAL ENGAGEMENT IN HAMPTON ROADS, VA.

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five or seven, it is said, but so many dead were lying around that it was impossible to tell which number was correct. About the time the rebel officers left our deck, many of the men jumped overboard into the river, and some twenty-odd upon the Beaufort. The latter were the only prisoners taken. The ship's boats being lowered, we commenced active operations to get the wounded and men on shore, and our exertions were not lessened by a knowledge among the officers that the fire was increasing immediately over the powder magazine (and then we could only hope to delay the first progress by covering the hatches, which was done), yet it was in the dusk of the evening when the officers left, the wounded and all the men having been sent on shore. During the whole of this terrible engagement my men behaved with admirable bravery and coolness, and though the ship was on fire several times in different places during the action, and the dead and wounded were falling everywhere, yet all orders were promptly obeyed, and every one kept at his post. Among such general good behavior it would seem difficult in justice to the rest to especially notice any one of my company as most eminently active and useful, and yet the concurrent testimony of the ship's officers and my own observation was that Second Lieutenant George L. Elder and Private John Reel displayed the coolest courage and greatest activity in fighting the ship, helping the wounded, and deserve to be particularly mentioned in this report. Previous to the approach of the Merrimac within rifle musket shot of us, Lieutenant Elder and myself were engaged in seeing that our men were at their posts, helping the wounded to the cockpit, passing water to extinguish the fire, and pulling on ropes to work the ship, whichever was most necessary. On the Merrimac nearing us, we carried muskets to the poop deck, and fired at her port holes. Being ordered from here on account of sharpshooters firing from the M., we descended to the captain's cabin, and while firing from there, a shot passed through the cabin, killing our sailing master, Mr. Moore, on the quarter deck, and the splinters it made knocked a marine down and myself, wounded him very badly on the face and head, and throwing Lieutenant Elbulkhead. I escaped with but a slight scratch on my wrist, and a bruise on my breast. On reaching the shore, Lieutenant Elder and myself started to find our wounded men, whom we saw in hospitals of the different regiments in Camp Butler, receiving every attention from the surgeons of the army. During that night Corpl. Charles Tyman, who was badly wounded in the hip, died under the surgeon's knife; the next day at noon we buried him and Lieutenant Joseph B. Smith and Quartermaster Leroy, of the U. S. Navy, with the honors of war, in the camp burial ground, all receiving their death wounds on the frigate Congress. The bodies of all killed, excepting those in this action, were probably burned that night in the ship, as her magazine exploded shortly after midnight. The next morning, finding the Monitor was fully a match for the Merrimac and was keeping her engaged two miles from us, I manned two boats with twenty of my own men, and made a three hour search, and found nothing worthy of a note. It now becomes my painful duty to add a list of the killed, missing, and wounded of my company.*

All of which is respectfully submitted.

Yours, obedient servant,


Captain Company D, Ninety-ninth Regiment New York Volunteers.

Colonel D. W. WARDROP,

Union Coast Guard, 99th Regiment New York State Vols.,

Camp Hamilton, Va.



* Nominal list (omitted) shows 9 killed, 15 wounded, and 7 missing.