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Description: EYEWITNESS DESCRIPTIONS OF THE MONITOR AND MERRIMACK
War-date letter of Pvt. J. H. Skelly of the 101st Pennsylvania, 4pp. 8vo. on patriotic stationery, Camp Parina, Apr. 15, 1862, to his wife on a variety of matters including an eyewitness account of witnessing the maneuvers between the Confederate ironclad C.S.S. Virginia (formerly the U.S.S. Merrimack and the U.S.S. Monitor. He writes, in part [misspellings corrected] : "... I will give you account of the Merrimack. She is an ironclad boat. She is the boat that sunk the Congress and Cumberland and she is lying at Sewell's Point and she come out every day but sent them too far from her quarters. They took two of our... vessels. One was laden with coal and the other was only the little Monitor is watching her very close. The Monitor looks like two logs of wood In the water she is only about eighteen inches out of water. We passed within about one hundred yards from her when we came down the river April 18. She is kept at the fort to keep the Merrimack from passing down the river, for if she gets out she would do a great deal of harm, so they have to keep her in her quarters, although she comes up to Newport News on her one side of the river. She don't venture too near here, for there is guns here throws balls that weighs 62 lbs. and the[y] wasn't coming close to them, though the balls that hit the Merrimack has no more impression on her than throwing peas against a board house but the little Monitor opens breadbasket for her. She had hard work to get her to port, but she has been fixed up and is out again... Yesterday for the critter was out and they would not venture [out] so we had no papers..." Usual folds, else very good condition.

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March 30, 2011 11:00 AM EDT

Stamford, CT, US

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