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Monitor Crew's Account of Sinking
By The Associated Press
From an account of the Monitor's sinking in 1862, written by Francis Butts, a crew member:
``I went forward to the cabin and found the water just above the soles of my shoes, which indicated that there must be more than a foot in the vessel. I reported this to the captain and all hands were set to bailing - bailing out the ocean, as it seemed - but the object was to employ the men, as there now seemed to be danger of excitement among them.''
``... the Rhode Island (a vessel that had been towing the Monitor) ... now lay her whole length against us, floating off astern; but not a man would be the first to leave his ship, although the captain gave orders to do so.''
``(I) think I was the last person who saw Engineer S.A. Lewis as he lay seasick in his bunk, apparently watching the water as it grew deeper and deeper, and aware of what his fate must be. ... `Is there any hope?' he asked; and feeling a little moved at the scene, and knowing certainly what must be his end, and the darkness that stared at us all, I replied, `As long as there is life there is hope.' `Hope and hang on when you are wrecked,' is an old saying among sailors.''
``The captain again gave orders for the men to leave the ship, and fifteen, all of whom were seamen and men whom I had placed my confidence upon, were the ones who crowded the first boat to leave the ship. I was disgusted at witnessing the scramble. .
``It was half-past twelve ... when I stood on the forecastle of the Rhode Island, watching the red and white lights that hung from the pennant-staff above the turret, and which now and then were seen as we would perhaps both rise on the sea together, until at last, just as the moon had passed below the horizon, they were lost, and the Monitor, whose history is familiar to us all, was seen no more.