Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 34.djvu/330
322 Southern Historical Society Papers.
days before the evacuation of Norfolk, the entire squadron re- tired to Old Point as soon as the Virginia made her appearance near Craney Island.
GOING IT ALONE.
The Virginia on this last occasion was not accompanied by the small squadron that operated with her on the 8th and Qth of March, and on the nth of April. She was alone, and had she been as vulnerable as Chief Engineer Stimer asserted, and as Assistant Secretary Fox hoped, surely there was no need for two iron-clads, two sloops-of-war and two gun-boats to retire to shelter as they did.
The report of the second day's engagement, March gth, made by Lieutenant Catesby Jones to Captain Buchanan, is very brief. Captain Buchanan's report embraced the opera- tions of both days, March 8th and Qth. It is dated Naval Hos- pital, March 27th, 1862, and was forwarded to Secretary Mai- lory, who turned it over to Jefferson Davis, and was by the latter submitted to the Confederate Congress on the loth of April, 1862. The report of Lieutenant Jones was as follows. "At daylight on the Qth we saw that the Minnesota was still ashore, and that there was an iron battery near her. At 8 o'clock we ran down to engage them (having previously sent the killed and wounded out of the ship) firing at the Minne- sota and occasionally at the iron battery. The pilots did not place us as near as they expected, the great length and draft of the ship rendered it exceedingly difficult to work her. We ran ashore about a mile from the frigate and were backing fifteen minutes before we got off. We continued to fire at the Minnesota and blew up a steamer alongside of her, and we also engaged the Monitor, sometimes at very close quarters. We once succeeded in running into her and twice silenced her fire. The pilots declaring that we could get no nearer the Minnesota, and believing her to be entirely disabled, and the Monitor having run into shoal water, which prevented our doing her any further injury we ceased firing at 12 o'clock and proceeded to Norfolk."
JONES WAS CRITICISED UNJUSTLY.
Lieutenant Jones was subjected to criticism for failing to