The Merrimac or Virginia. 15
were therefore surprised to see her run off into shoal water, where our great draught would not permit us to follow." This second with- drawal was most probably coincident with the following fact, given by Lieutenant S. Dana Greene, the executive officer of the Monitor, page 725-727, " Battles and Leaders of the Civil War," volume I. Lieutenant Greene says :
"Soon after noon a shell from the Merrimac's gun, the muzzle of which was not ten yards distant, struck the forward side of the pilot- house (of the Monitor) directly in the sight-hole, and exploded. Captain Worden was standing immediately behind this spot and received in his face the force of the blow, which partially stunned him, and filling his eyes with powder, utterly blinded him. Worden, blinded as he was, believed the pilot-house to be severely injured, if not destroyed. He, therefore, gave the orders to put the helm to starboard and 'sheer off.' Thus the Monitor temporarily retired from the action to ascertain the extent of the injuries she had received."
Lieutenant Greene, then succeeding to the command, continues his account. " In the confusion of the moment the Monitor had been moving without direction. Exactly how much time elapsed from the moment that Worden was wounded until I had reached the pilot- house and completed the examination of the injury at that point, and determined what course to pursue, it is impossible to state ; but it could hardly have exceeded twenty minutes."
Lieutenant Greene admits that being summoned to W T orden, "he found him standing at the foot of the ladder leading to the pilot- house, and that he assisted in leading him to a sofa in the cabin, and then assumed the command." If he had contented himself with his statement, " it is impossible to state the time," and had not attempted to qualify it with "hardly exceeded twenty minutes," he would have been more accurate.
THE MONITOR WITHDREW.
As an officer of the Beaufort, and in close proximity to the engage- ment, though not in the melee, for none of our wooden gunboats