Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 116
James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
Page 116
further operations; she had to dock for repairs and did not reënter Hampton Roads until a month later.  50
  “Captain Ericsson,” wrote the Chief Engineer of the Monitor from Hampton Roads on the day of the fight, “I congratulate you upon your great success. Thousands have this day blessed you. I have heard whole crews cheer you. Every man feels that you have saved this place to the nation by furnishing us with the means to whip an iron-clad frigate that was, until our arrival, having it all her own way with our most powerful vessels.” 1  51
  This momentous encounter demonstrated that the naval ships of the future must be iron-clad. The “wooden walls of England” were no longer her security. 2  52
  The performance of the Monitor on Sunday did not entirely dispel the apprehensions in Washington and throughout the country, occasioned by the destructive work of the Merrimac on Saturday. McClellan had decided to transport his army to Fort Monroe and, using that as his base, advance on Richmond by the Peninsula between the York and James rivers. But this movement required the control of the sea in Hampton Roads and at Fort Monroe by the Union Navy and this was rendered dubious by “the possibility of the Merrimac appearing again.” He therefore asked Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Fox [March 12], who was still at 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?” Fox replied: “The Monitor is more than a match for the Merrimac,
Note 1. O. R. N., VII, 27. [back]
Note 2. Authorities: The Correspondence and several reports in O. R. N. VII; B. & L., I; III; Welles’s Diary; J. Hay; Swinton; Chesnut. Other Confederate vessels and gunboats, Union frigates and tugs, Confederate and Union shore batteries had a part in this contest but, as their action did not seem to me material, I have omitted the mention of them in the narrative to avoid burdening it with too much detail. [back]


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