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christmas-snapshot3The “date which will live in infamy” cast a large, dark shadow over Christmas 1941 in Allegany County.

As Thanksgiving 1941 approached, the war in Europe was on people’s minds but it wasn’t the dominant story of the day. Residents were more concerned about a coal strike that had started in Pennsylvania and was spreading around the country. At times, it appeared more dangerous to Americans than the war. The headlines on the Cumberland Evening Times the day after Thanksgiving showed Allegany County’s priorities:

GUNS CONTINUE TO BLAZE IN MINE STRIKE

Roosevelt Indicates Federal Action Is Probable

BRITISH-AXIS SHOWDOWN IN LIBYA NEAR

The day before Thanksgiving, an editorial in the Cumberland Evening Times noted, “Although some American ships have been sunk, some American lives have been lost and we are far nearer war than we have been at any time since the new conflagration was lighted in Europe, we are in a manner of speaking, still at peace. Whether this condition will continue we do not know, but at least we should be thankful for the blessings we enjoy at present.”

The Christmas season kicked into gear with ads for sales and specials for stores like Rosenbaum’s and Lazarus. However, officials encouraged early shopping because shortages were expected before the end of the year. Although the United States had not declared war against Germany, Japan, and Italy, many people expected it to happen, and with war, came a reallocation of resources to provide the soldiers on the front with the equipment and food they needed. However, this also meant that on the home front, there was often rationing.

City workers made for a gala on Dec. 27 to honor servicemen from the area. It was thought that about 1,000 men who had already enlisted could get passes to return to Cumberland for the celebration.

That was before Dec. 7.

After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the United States became a country formally at war. The focus shifted to war-time production of goods and raising a fighting army. Even the coal strike, which had caused so much worry at Thanksgiving, was set aside as the government drafted miners. The United Mine Workers and management agreed to work together for war production.

Though not a heavy presence in daily life at this point, what presence there was was growing, and the newspaper noted that it put a “damper” on the holiday celebrations. Notes about the selection of air raid wardens for 26 different areas of the city crept in among the notices about holiday parties. Even editorial cartoons reflected both the holiday and the war. The city’ conducted its first blackout test the day after Christmas with every home and business within a 10-mile radius of Cumberland expected to douse their lights for 15 minutes once the warning went out.

While a gift-buying boom was expected at Christmas, Christmas 1941 saw another boom. “War brides’ brought a boom yesterday at the marriage license bureau with Court House clerks swamped with altar-bound couples before noon, and the usual Christmas business for Dan Cupid will be increased by khaki-clad young men getting married while home on brief furloughs,” reported the Cumberland Sunday Times. The newspaper noted that 49 couples applied for licenses on Dec. 20.

The city also organized a Civil Air Patrol to protect the skies over Allegany County. About 100 pilots in the area volunteered to help in this endeavor. The need was only heightened when two days before Christmas bombers were seen flying over the city. Fortunately, they were American bombers on maneuvers.

Not so fortunate was the report from the WPA supervisor in the area that a cache of dynamite at the airport was tampered with. “Fifth column” sabotage was suspected and the dynamite was moved.

The newspaper tried to put everything in perspective for its readers with an editorial that read, in part: “It is important that we bring about a condition of worldly peace and that this may be accomplished we must vanquish those responsible for its disruption. The thought of Christmas and all that it means should strengthen us in this task. If we are to make such a peace enduring, then we must cultivate that spirit of good will without which there can be no real peace. If we do not do this, then all our sacrifice, all our anguish, all our suffering shall have been in vain. If during this Christmas season we seek that peace of which the herald angels sang, then we can hope for that lasting peace promised unto us. So it is not incongruous to observe Christmas in time of war for the peace of Christmas is in the heart.”

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00-russia-coal-shovel-030915Burning coal was once a common way to heat homes in Pennsylvania, at least as far back as the mid-1700s when bituminous coal was first mined at “Coal Hill”, which was across the Monongahela River from Pittsburgh. However, in York, many residents apparently feared the burning rock, according to the York Dispatch.

Even as coal’s popularity grew to not only heat homes and buildings but to power railroads and fuel the population growth in western Pennsylvania, York relied on wood for its fuel source. Compare this to the fact that Pittsburgh was burning 400 tons of bituminous coal by 1830.

Bituminous coal is also known as soft coal. It has a lower proportional amount of combustible carbon than anthracite coal. Pennsylvania’s bituminous coal fields are under 14,000 square miles of the commonwealth and in parts of 33 different counties.

“Many people were of the opinion that the ‘black rock’ taken out of the earth even though it burned and radiated heat, should not be disturbed from the bed where God had planted it,” according to the York Dispatch in 1925.

People believed that the smoke produced by burning coal was injurious “and not at all wholesome like wood smoke,” according to the newspaper. Some people believed using coal was the work of the devil, probably because of the similarities between the image of a burning Hell and the burning coal.

While this seems odd now, there is some validity to the reluctance. A study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives showed that families in rural areas where people still burn coal in household stoves experience elevated levels of household air pollutants that can lead to health problems such as asthma, respiratory illness, and cancer.

The first coal use in York was in the Golden Lamb Tavern, which was located at the southeast corner of Market and Queen streets, according to Conrad Aulbach, a retired employee of the York Gas Company in 1925. His family lived a block away in a log house at the corner of Queen and Mason streets.

In the 1850s, Peter Wilt, the tavern owner, took a risk and purchased a special stove in which to burn the coal. He set the coal up in the public room to keep it toasty warm. Andrew Alden wrote in his article, “Coal in the Home,” that “Once ignited, coal burns slowly with little flame and high heat, occasionally making gentle ticking sounds. Coal smoke is less aromatic than wood smoke and has a dirtier smell, like cigar smoke compared to a pipe mixture. But like tobacco, it was not unpleasant in small, dilute doses. High-quality anthracite makes almost no smoke at all.”

The hot stove in the Golden Lamb was also used to keep water warm to make hot toddies, which was a popular cold-weather drink at the time.

The stove and coal was purchased in Columbia and brought to York in a Conestoga wagon. As coal became more accepted in the city and the need grew, it was transported to York by rail and canal.

What helped York overcome its reluctance to use coal was the formation of the York Gas Company in 1850, according to the York Dispatch. Coincidentally, this is where Aulbach worked for 43 years once he was old enough to get a job.

Although Aulbach was too young at the time to remember the first coal stove being used in the tavern, he did remember hearing his parents talking about it. It was something unique in York at the time. Years later, when the tavern was razed, Aulbach saw the stove taken away to be used in another building.

 

Pennsylvania went from being a leader in the production of bituminous coal to watching the industry decline in the 1920s. The market was shrinking and too much coal was being mined. Mines began closing and in the 1930s, West Virginia passed Pennsylvania as the leader in bituminous coal production.

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Miniature Railroad

Pen-Mar’s miniature railroad. Courtesy of the Franklin County Historical Society.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

At least that’s how the Chambersburg Merchant’s Association looked at things on July 10, 1906. Nearly every business in town shut down on that Tuesday so employees and town residents could spend the day at Pen-Mar Park for Chambersburg Day.

“Pen-Mar is the place for every loyal citizen of town to go to-day. By going to Pen-Mar you will not only have an opportunity of being with the majority of the town people on an outing that will also be benefitting the hospital,” the Public Opinion announced.

The weather was clear and pleasant, which encouraged people to make the outing.

Special Western Maryland Railroad trains ran throughout the day ferrying people the 24 miles to park. Three trains carried at least 700 passengers to the park.

Col. John Mifflin Hood, president of the Western Maryland Railway, created Pen-Mar Park in August 1877. The park offered a view of over 2,000 square miles and two mountain ranges at an altitude of 1,400 feet.

“From here on a clear day, one could see the town clock in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, at a distance of 24 miles–with binoculars, of course,” Frank and Suanne Woodring wrote in the book, Images of America: Pen-Mar.

Pen-Mar Park featured a dancing pavilion and a dining room that could seat 450 people. An observation tower was added in 1878. The very popular three-foot-high miniature railroad with an engine, tender, and three cars was added in 1904. As many of 2,000 people a day rode the Little Wabash around the park.

The park quickly became a popular destination for tourists who traveled on the railroad from towns and cities all over the East Coast to the Maryland and Pennsylvania mountains. The peak single-day attendance at the park was 20,000 people.

Chambersburg businessmen, professionals, and merchants enjoyed the amusements and speeches by President of the Chambersburg Council J.D. Ludwig and City Solicitor T.J. Minehart in the park’s auditorium. Both men talked about the needs of the town and the state of the business community in Chambersburg.

The Waynesboro merchants were invited to participate, but there was limited involvement.

“It was hoped to have our merchants join their Chambersburg brethren but on account of today being pay day in the shops it could be arranged,” the Waynesboro Herald reported.

Still, some merchants were able to get away in the afternoon to take part in the relaxing day with their fellow businessmen.

Likewise, some Chambersburg businessmen enjoyed a ride on the relatively new trolley to visit Waynesboro from Pen-Mar. The trolley had been added three years earlier and was part of the Chambersburg, Greencastle and Waynesboro Street Railway. A round trip cost from Pen-Mar to Waynesboro cost 20 cents. The trolley also ran from Chambersburg to Pen-Mar, but the trip took an hour and 40 minutes. The trolley company offered rebates on the fares during Chambersburg Day and donated the rebate amount to the Chambersburg Hospital.

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Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

The horses resembled harnessed dragons. With each breath exhaled through their nostrils, the horses’ breaths turned to vapor resembling smoke from fire-breathing dragons. They pawed at the snow on the street, waiting anxiously.

A sleigh with a driver sat behind each horse. The young men in the sleighs grinned at each other and at an unspoken signal, they snapped their whips and the horses leaped forward pulling their respective sleighs behind them.

While the sleighs might be typical vehicles of the day, if one of the drivers was Frank Deatrick, then he would be riding in in a streamlined speedster that would draw as many appreciative glances as a Ferrari would today on the roads of Gettysburg. Deatrick’s sleigh, though costly, was fast and designed for racing.

“Suddenly there was the thud of rapidly galloping horses’ hoofs, and homes empty along York and Chambersburg streets. Mothers dashed swiftly to make sure their children were off the street. A passing wagon drew hurriedly to the side of the road. Heads peered from doors and windows to watch the sight–Gettysburg was having another horse race,” the Gettysburg Times reported in a 1952 article interviewing “old timers about their childhood memories 50 years earlier.

These weren’t sanctioned horse races, seeing as how the streets of Gettysburg are not a racetrack. Boys will be boys, however, and they like to race whether it’s in cars, on foot or in sleighs.

George “Pop” Hughes recalled that the boys raced from the intersection of York and Hanover streets to the intersection of Springs and Buford avenues. He’d been too young to take part in any of the races at the time, but he had enjoyed watching them and wishing he could ride in one of the buggies or sleighs.

The races didn’t last long, probably because the drivers didn’t want to be around when the police arrived. They typically raced in the morning. This was an inconvenience for residents along the impromptu racetrack, but the streets were less crowded at that hour.

The races could happen at any time of the year. If there wasn’t snow on the ground, then the drivers would race their buggies or sit astride their horses and urge them to go faster like a race jockey.

The next great love of young men—the car—was in existence, but they were expensive, undependable and few and far between. However, 1902 was also the year before the Ford Motor Company opened and the famous Model T would start rolling off the assembly line in 1908. The Model T go travel as fast as a horse pulling a buggy and the view was much better for the driver.

Because young men have a need for speed and also tend to embrace technology, automobiles soon caught on in Adams County and before long, car races through towns replaced horse races. East Berlin had its first automobile race in 1910, according to the East Berlin Historical Preservation Society.

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Note: This is the third part in a three-part series about Samuel Dana Greene and Cumberland (MD)’s connections to in the epic battle between the U.S.S. Monitor and the C.S.S. Virginia.

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Samuel Greene

The nature of naval warfare had changed in the morning of March 9, 1862. The C.S.S. Virginia had retreated leaving two destroyed wooden warships behind, but also a victorious ironclad called the U.S.S. Monitor.

Because of the battle fought at Hampton Roads, Virginia, the world’s wooden navies had become obsolete.

During the battle, Cumberland-born Samuel Dana Greene had commanded the turret of the Monitor as executive officer. He had chosen the targets and fired each round. When Captain John Worden was wounded, the 22-year-old Greene took command of the Union ironclad.

Worden wrote of Greene in his report to the Secretary of the Navy, “Lieutenant Greene, the executive officer, had charge in the turret, and handled the guns with great courage, coolness, and skill; and throughout the engagement, as in the equipment of the vessel and on her passage to Hampton Roads, he exhibited an earnest devotion to duty unsurpassed in my experience.”

When Worden gave Greene command of the Monitor, Greene had moved the ship to shallow water to determine whether it could continue fighting. When the Monitor moved back into action, the Virginia was already moving toward Norfolk. Rather than pursue, Greene had returned to protect the U.S.S. Minnesota, which had been its primary duty.

The next morning as the Monitor moved through the fleet. “Cheer after cheer went up from the Frigates and small craft for the glorious Monitor, and happy indeed did we all feel,” Greene wrote.

Later the crew received a hero’s welcome in Washington City and a visit from President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.

To the Union, the victory was clear; the Virginia had abandoned the battlefield. That traditionally meant the Monitor was victorious. However, the South refused to admit the loss. They claimed that when Greene pulled away to check the steering gear during the battle, the Monitor had retreated, and the Virginia had then chosen to leave to keep from being trapped by the low tide.

On March 10, Greene was relieved of command because he was thought to be too young and inexperienced to serve as captain. Greene remained with the ship as the executive officer.

The two ironclads would never meet in battle again. Only two months later, with Union troops advancing on Norfolk, the Virginia could retreat no further up the James River because the water was too shallow. She was ordered grounded and blown up to keep from being captured.

The Monitor’s fate was no better. “We returned to Hampton Roads in November, and sailed thence in tow of the steamer Rhode Island, bound for Beaufort, N. C. Between 11 P. M. and midnight on the following night the Monitor went down in a gale, a few miles south of Cape Hatteras. Four officers and twelve men were drowned, forty-nine people being saved by the boats of the steamer. It was impossible to keep the vessel free of water, and we presumed that the upper and lower hulls thumped themselves apart,” Greene wrote.

Greene was ordered to the U.S.S. Florida as executive officer and later transferred to the U.S.S. Iroquois. Following the war, he served as an instructor at the Naval Academy.

Though he had a successful career, his failure to sink the Virginia and the Confederacy’s unwillingness to admit the defeat of the Virginia seemed to haunt him. In 1885, Greene wrote a lengthy article about his experience on the Monitor, and shortly before it was published, he committed suicide by shooting himself.

However, history remembers Greene better than he remembered himself. In 1918, the Navy launched the U.S.S. Greene, which would serve until the end of WWII.

In 2002, the Monitor’s turret and other artifacts, including the remains of two of the lost seamen, were recovered in a Navy salvage operation and are on display in the U.S.S. Monitor Center in the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, Virginia.

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Note: This is the second part in a three-part series about Samuel Dana Greene and Cumberland (MD)’s connections to in the epic battle between the U.S.S. Monitor and the C.S.S. Virginia.

Monitor_officers2

Officers on the deck of the U.S.S. Monitor. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

The crew of the U.S.S. Monitor wasn’t sure what they would find when they steamed into Hampton Roads on March 8, 1862. The sounds of thunder they had heard were now believed to be the sounds of cannon booming during a great battle.

The crew suspected what the C.S.S. Virginia could do, but the report sounded like tall tales. An iron hull that the largest cannonball only bounced off of? A ram that would sink a warship in a single blow?

Impossible. Yet this was a new age, an age in which iron could float and, as the crew was about to discover, fable could become fact.

“As we approached Hampton Roads we could see the fine old Congress burning brightly, and soon a pilot came on board and told of the arrival of the Merrimac, the disaster to the Cumberland and the Congress, and the dismay of the Union forces,” Monitor Executive Officer Samuel Dana Greene wrote in an article in The Century Magazine in 1885.

Born in Cumberland, Greene had entered the navy as an “acting midshipman” in 1855 at the age of 15. He volunteered for duty on the Monitor and because of the shortage of junior officers in the navy, he was made executive officer. Greene’s assigned crewmen to their watches and quarters. He was also gunnery officer and trained the crew on the two Dahlgren guns in the turret.

The U.S.S. Minnesota had been headed to assist the U.S.S. Cumberland and the U.S.S. Congress in their losing battles against the ironclad Virginia, resurrected from the sunken U.S.S. Merrimack. The Monitor dropped anchor beside the Minnesota to give the wooden ship the protection of the Union’s hastily built ironclad.

In August 1861, the Navy Department had solicited ideas for ironclad vessels and selected John Ericsson‘s unique design. The ship had been built in less than 100 days. When in the water, the ship’s deck rode only a foot above the water. One Confederate naval officer described the Monitor as a cheese box on a shingle.

Early tests of the ship’s abilities hadn’t been heartening, but it was the Union’s only hope to stand against the Virginia which had so easily proved victorious over two wooden ships on March 8.

“Between 1 and 2 A. M. the Congress blew up, not instantaneously, but successively; her powder-tanks seemed to explode, each shower of sparks rivaling the other in its height, until they appeared to reach the zenith — a grand but mournful sight. Near us, too, lay the Cumberland at the bottom of the river, with her silent crew of brave men, who died while fighting their guns to the water’s edge, and whose colors were still flying at the peak,” Greene wrote.

The Confederate sailors celebrated their victory throughout the night and in the morning, headed toward the Minnesota to sink it as well. The Virginia came within a mile of the Minnesota and opened fire.

The Monitor moved alongside the Virginia, swiveled its turret so the twin guns faced the Virginia and Captain John Worden ordered, “Commence firing!”

“I triced up the port, ran out the gun, and, taking deliberate aim, pulled the lockstring. The Merrimac was quick to reply, returning a rattling broadside (for she had ten guns to our two), and the battle fairly began. The turret and other parts of the ship were heavily struck, but the shots did not penetrate; the tower was intact, and it continued to revolve. A look of confidence passed over the men’s faces, and we believed the Merrimac would not repeat the work she had accomplished the day before,” Greene wrote.

As the gunnery officer, he personally chose the target and fired each shot from the Monitor.

The Virginia wasn’t prepared to fight another ironclad. Its guns were loaded with grapeshot and explosive shells, which had no effect on an ironclad. Meanwhile, the Monitor was firing 168-pound balls from 17,000-pound guns.

Captain Henry Van Brunt of the Minnesota wrote, “Gun after gun was fired by the Monitor, which was returned by whole broadsides from the rebels with no more effect, apparently, than so many pebble stones thrown by a child.”

The intense firing caused so much smoke that spectators couldn’t see the battle at times. The smaller Monitor would move in close to the Virginia, sometimes even touching the other ship, and fire both guns. Then the Monitor could quickly move to a new location, swivel the turret to redirect the guns and fire again.

Inside the turret, the men, including Greene, were black with powder and nearly deaf from the sound of hits against the iron skin of turret. The turret took at least nine direct hits with the worst damage being dents.

At one point, the Monitor tried to ram the Virginia, but a steering malfunction caused the Monitor to barely miss it. In the pilot house, Worden was looking out when the Virginia fired on the passing Monitor and hit the pilot house.

Blinded, the captain was carried to a sofa and Greene was called from the turret. Greene arrived and saw the captain. “He was a ghastly sight, with his eyes closed and the blood apparently rushing from every pore in the upper part of his face. He told me that he was seriously wounded, and directed me to take command. I assisted in leading him to a sofa in his cabin, where he was tenderly cared for by Doctor Logue, and then I assumed command,” Greene wrote.

Uncertain of how badly the steering gear had been damaged, Greene ordered the Monitor to break off the fighting. When Greene found the damage was not so serious that the Monitor couldn’t fight, the ship reentered the engagement. However, the Virginia was itself retreating from the battlefield in order to keep from being trapped by a low tide.

“We of the Monitor thought, and still think, that we had gained a great victory. This the Confederates have denied. But it has never been denied that the object of the Merrimac on the 9th of March was to complete the destruction of the Union fleet in Hampton Roads, and that in this she was completely foiled and driven off by the Monitor nor has it been denied that at the close of the engagement the Merrimac retreated to Norfolk, leaving the Monitor in possession of the field,” Greene wrote.

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Note: This is the first part in a three-part series about Samuel Dana Greene and Cumberland (MD)’s connections to in the epic battle between the U.S.S. Monitor and the C.S.S. Virginia.

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The CSS Merrimack sinks the USS Cumberland in 1862. Courtesy of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

She was a monster; a thing of nightmares. A more fitting name for the C.S.S. Virginia would have been The Phoenix, for she had been created from the ashes of the U.S.S. Merrimack.

And the U.S.S. Cumberland, which had aided in the demise of the Merrimack, would help complete the birth of the Virginia.

The Cumberland was a warship launched in 1842 and converted into a heavy sloop-of-war in 1856. Her armament consisted of 22 nine-inch guns, a 10-inch pivot guns and a Dahlgren rifle gun that fired a 70-pound ball.

When the Civil War began in April 1861, the Cumberland was docked at the Gosport Navy Yard in Virginia. Though Virginia had not yet seceded from the Union, its sympathies were with the Confederacy. The day following the bombardment of Fort Sumter, the decision was made to open the underwater valves of the Merrimack, another warship, and sink her.

“I begged the captain of the Cumberland to withhold the order; for assistance might be sent, and at any time she could be sunk with a shell from our battery. But the order was given, and the Merrimac slowly sank till she grounded, with her gun-deck a little out of water,” Thomas Selfridge wrote in an 1893 article in The Cosmopolitan. He served as a lieutenant on the Cumberland.

The next day the order came to abandon the shipyard. Nine ships, or one-quarter of the U.S. Navy according to Selfridge, were burned and an immense amount of weapons and munitions were left behind for the Confederacy.

“It was a splendid, but melancholy spectacle, and in the lurid glare, which turned night into day, the Cumberland slipped her moorings, and, in tow of the Pawnee, left Norfolk,” wrote Selfridge.

In November, the Cumberland sailed to the mouth of the James River near Newport News, but in the interim, she had fought in the bombardment and capture of the Hatteras forts. She was the last American frigate to go to battle under sail.

By this time, reports had made their way north that the Confederacy had raised the Merrimack and were turning her into an ironclad fighting ship. The Union was scurrying to build its own ironclad, but the Confederacy had a head start.

Hampton Roads, where the Cumberland was stationed was the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay and from there the gateway to both the capital of the Union and the Confederacy. Union officials feared what the Merrimack, now rechristened the Virginia would do if made its way to Washington. Navy Secretary Gideon Welles ordered fleet commanders to send ships in Hampton Roads out of harm’s way. “The blockade commanders couldn’t get the ships out of the Roads in time, and on March 8, a clearly rattled Welles reversed the order. By now, it was too late. His worst nightmare was unfolding,” wrote Paul Clancy in his book Ironclad.

As the Virginia, steamed toward Hampton Roads, Union shore batteries shelled it and watched in amazement as the shells bounced off the iron hull.

The Cumberland’s crew sighted the Virginia around 12:30 p.m. March 8. At first, she was believed to be a mirage because of atmospheric conditions.

The Virginia steamed full speed toward the Cumberland. As it passed the U.S.S. Congress, it fired a broadside damaging the frigate. Then the Virginia rammed the Cumberland with a 1500-pound iron spar. Even as the ram sunk deep into the Cumberland under the waterline, the Virginia reversed its engines. The ram broke off inside the Cumberland.

The Cumberland’s crew fired upon the ship. “So furious was the Cumberland’s response that the greased sides of the Confederate battery seemed to fry like bacon,” wrote Clancy.

Protected by its iron skin, the Virginia’s guns tore up the crew and deck on the Cumberland. Yet, the Cumberland’s gunners continued firing until the guns slipped underwater.

Selfridge wrote of the crew, “They really believed themselves invincible, and indeed could they have had a fair fight would have shown themselves to be such. With but few officers, for the first time in their lives exposed to a terrible shell fire, seeing their comrades mangled and dead before them. The manner in which these decimated guns’ crews stood unflinchingly at their guns, with water pouring over the decks, the ship trembling in the last throes of her disappearance, until the word was passed from their officers, ‘Every man look out for himself,’ just before the ship went down, was not only sublime, but ought to embalm the name ‘Cumberland’ in the heart of every American.”

Seeing the fate of the Cumberland, the Congress moved into shallower water where the Virginia couldn’t follow. However, the Congress ran aground leaving the Virginia free to draw as close as it could and fire upon it until the Congress flew the white flag of surrender.

When Confederate boats approached the Congress, Union shore batteries fired upon them so the Virginia fired incendiary shells at the Congress and burned her to the waterline.

It seemed almost too easy. It had been two warships against one new, untested ship. Yet the one had triumphed with no loss of life while the Cumberland had sunk with 121 lives of 376 lost and the Congress had been burned with 240 dead out of 434.

Nothing could stand in the way of the Virginia. It could steam up the Potomac River and bombard Washington or make its way up the coastline to destroy New York Harbor. It was unstoppable.

But even as the crew of the Virginia celebrated the victory, one ship had heard the sounds of battle and even now steamed south where among the debris of battle. A David would challenge the new Goliath.

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