JULY 31ST-AUGUST 1ST, 1862: Confederate batteries at Coggins' Point, Virginia, took Union forces under fire on the James River between Harrison's Landing and Shirley, Virginia, sinking two Army transports. The USS Cimarron, Commander Woodhull, immediately opened counter fire on the battery.
Praising Gunner's Mate John Merrett who, although extremely ill and awaiting transfer to a hospital, bravely manned his station in the main magazine, Commander Woodhull wrote: "Merrett is an old man-of-warsman; his discipline, courage, and patriotism would not brook inaction when his ship was in actual battle. His conduct, I humbly think, was a great example to all lovers of the country and its cause ... it is the act of a fine speciman of the old Navy tar."
This mutual respect between the naval officer and the long service enlisted man enabled the Navy to maintain its tone throughout the Civil War despite the rapid expansion.