On the 8th of March, 1862, the monster Merriinac, the first ironclnd afloat. sealorl the fate of wooden sbipsof warforall time. When she steamed ixito Hampton Roads, flve Union vessels lay jnst across the channel - the 50 gun frigate Congress, tbe 80 guu sJoop Cumberland, tho 40 gun frigates Roauoke and Minnesota and tbe frigate St. Lawrence, also rating 50 gans. Tho Congress and Cumberland opened on the rain, but she paid no at tention, aiming to mako short work of the enemy with her powerful beak. Closing iu on the CumberJaml, she strnck her at right augles, cutting an immense. hole near the forerigging and at the s;ujc time sweepinpc away two e vin ere wis witb shots from lx;r bow guns. Wheii hailed ro stirrender, Captain Morris oí tho Curoberland, h'red with the spirit of the Old Guard, shonted: "Never! I']l sink alongside!" Tho JVJerrimac baoked away, leaviiig her bñak iii tho sidé of thoCuiubcrland. The Jatter continued i 11 action au bonr, firiug with lier deck guus nntil sbe sank up to lier peak. The Constfess bad given the ram a broadside as she passed to strike the Cmnbeiland, butwhen turuhig toavoid collision she grounded and was at tho mercy of the enemy. Her commander, Captain J. P. Smith, was killed at the first lire. Tho Merrjmao steamod np ■vithin 20 yards and riddled her with shells and hot shot. The frigate Alínnesota grounded when attemptiiiK to enter tin light, but the St. Lawrenue and Roanoke hurlcd broadsides at the ram, with no othcr effect than to ent away her unproteoted parts - the pipes?, davits, stanchious and rail. Darkness ended the battle, loaving the Merrimao with eigbt guns and their crews in flghting trim. Her tour inch arnior was harely inden ted.