Newspapers

Burning of the Navy-yard The Richmond (Virginia) Daily Dispatch, April 23, 1861 Steel-clad Ships, The New York Times, August 8, 1861 The Great Naval Victory, The Richmond (Virginia) Daily Dispatch, March 11, 1862 The Iron-Clad Steamer Virginia,' The Richmond (Virginia) Daily Dispatch March 19, 1862 The Steam Frigate Merrimac, Daily Lynchburg Virginian, September 12, 1861 The Virginia, Daily Richmond Enquirer, April 3, 1862 The (Virginia) Norfolk, March 10, 1862 War Movements, The Richmond...

Point

The gun captain (1) adjusts the sliding-bar of the rear sight to proper distance given by the Officer of Division, and falls back so as to be clear of the recoil, lanyard in hand, face to the gun port, standing directly in the rear of the gun, with his eye ranging over the sights, and keeping in view the water-line of the opposing ship, trains the gun by voice or sign. A gun captain's assistant (6) throws back the hammer on the primer, and takes hold of the lever of the elevating screw. At the...

Ready Fire

Confederate Ironclads Images

When the target comes in view, the gun captain (1) gives order, Ready - Fire. He.then pulls the lock-string. The sponger (3) lets go port-tackle. The loader (5) closes the port. The engineer revolves the turret so as to point the gun abeam. This gets the scuttle clear for passing up more ammunition. Three members of the gun crew ( , 11 and 15) turn the crank and run the gun in. The compress man (9) eases the compressor with his lever. The gun is now ready for re-loading. In terms of gunnery...

Articles

Confederate Ironclads Images

Eggleston, John R., Captain Eggleston's Narrative of the Battle of the Merrimac, Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. 41 (1916), Richmond, VA, pp.166-178 Greene, S. Dana, In the 'Monitor' Turret, Battles & Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. 1 (1956), Thomas Yoseloff, New York, pp. 719-729 Interesting Facts about the Merrimac, The Scientific American, New Series, Vol. VI, No. 23 (June 7, 1862), p. 355 Phillips, Dinwiddie B., The Career of the Merrimac, The Southern Bivouac, New Series 2, No....

Statistics And Analysis

Crucial to understanding the outcome of the four-hour battle at Hampton Roads is the fact that the firepower of both the Virginia and Monitor was limited. The Virginia did not carry armor-penetrating bolts and had only a limited amount of solid shot for use as hot shot with two of her 9in. Dahlgrens. The gun crews aboard the Monitor were restricted by orders not to use solid shot or explosive charges over 15 pounds. Had double charges of 30 pounds been used, the Monitor may have destroyed the...

Confederate Ironclad Tennesee Book

Confederate States Marine Corps

Baxter, James Phinney, III, The Introduction of the Ironclad, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA (1933) Daly, Robert W., How the Merrimac Won The Strategic Story of CSS Virginia, Thomas Y. Crowell, New York (1957) -(ed.), Aboard the U.S.S. Monitor 1862 The Letters of Acting Paymaster During the battle of Mobile Bay, on August 5, 1864, the CSS Tennessee served as the flagship of Admiral Franklin Buchanan, previous commander of CSS Virginia, and was bombarded into submission by the Chickasaw...

Stevens Floating Battery

Iron Clad Rail Car Civil War

Ironclad oceangoing vessels were already in the process of revolutionizing war at sea when the American Civil War began in 1861. The main navies of the world had been experimenting with steam-powered propulsion and floating batteries for years before the advent of the Confederate casemated ironclad Virginia and the Union turreted ironclad Monitor. The earliest experiments in the use of iron plate to resist the force of cannonballs appear to have been made in France as early as 1810 by a...

Engaging The Enemy

The two 6.4-inch Brookes rifles aft of the smoke-stack aboard the Virginia were designed by Lieutenant John Mercer Brooke. Similar in appearance to Parrott guns, the method of reinforcement of the breech was different. Whereas an iron band was welded to the tube of a Parrott in one piece, Brooke heated several heavy wrought-iron rings. When expanded, they were placed tightly around the breech. Once the iron cooled, it contracted over the breech, and forged a very strong band. The reinforced...

Further Development

Canonicus Crew Photos

The battle of Hampton Roads received considerable international attention. On March 29, 1862, the London Times announced, There is an end of wooden ships, and the Americans are now recognizing the fact to some purpose. Although they already had the Warrior and Ironsides, plus nine other ironclads under construction, the British hurriedly committed themselves to the further extension of their fleet of ironclad vessels. In France, the Paris Constitutionnel claimed that the Civil War in America...

The Combatants

Paymaster William Keeler

Following recovery, Buchanan was promoted to the rank of admiral and sent to command Confederate Navy forces on Mobile Bay, Alabama. He supervised construction of the ironclad CSS Tennessee and was on board her during the engagement with Farragut's Union fleet on August 5, 1864. Wounded once again, and taken prisoner, he was finally exchanged In February 186S. Naval Historical Foundation photo NH 562 2 The executive officer of the CSS Virginia was Franklin Old Buck...

Aftermath

Ironclad Sangamon

In the years following the Civil War, many of the monitors of the US Navy were sold at bargain prices as Congress failed to recognize the need to maintain a substantial presence at sea. The Canonicus-class vessels Catawba and Oneota were sold to Peru in 1868. Cairo-class monitors such as the Chimo, Cohoes, Etlah, Klamath, Modoc, and Shiloh were sold for private use, or were broken up in 1874. The legislators of the time failed to acknowledge or appreciate the fact that the United States had...

Richmondclass Ironclad Technical Specifications

Confederate Ironclad

Dimensions Length, 172 ft 6 in Beam, 34 ft Boilers Two The only occasion when a Posso c-class Union monitor clashed with a Confederate casemated ironclad ended with the defeat of the latter vessel. On June 17,1863, the CSS Atlanta attacked the blockading fleet in Wassaw Sound, off the Georgia coast. Encountering the monitors Weehawken and Nahant, she was overcome by the greater firepower of the Weehawken, ran aground, and surrendered. This late-19th-century print by E Gutekunst of Philadelphia...

Uss Merrimack

Greenpoint Continental Iron Works

Designed by Chief Naval Constructor John Lenthall in 1854, the USS Merrimack often incorrectly spelled Merrimac was the first of a new class of steam frigate in the US Navy to be driven by a screw propeller. Built and launched at Boston on June 15,1855, and commissioned February 20,1856, she was named for the river that flows south through New Hampshire and then eastward across northeastern Massachusetts before emptying in the Atlantic at Newburyport, Massachusetts. Also designed by Lenthall,...

Combat

Stripped The Waist

The day of the duel between the Virginia and Monitor dawned with fog lingering near Norfolk, Virginia. From the spar deck of the Confederate ironclad moored at the mouth of the Elizabeth River, Lieutenant Jones observed the Minnesota was still aground, and that an iron battery, in all probability the Monitor, was close by her. Regardless of the fact that she was not supplied with the armor-penetrating bolts necessary to damage or sink another ironclad, he committed Virginia to battle. Shortly...

Cascoclass Monitor Technical Specifications

Double Case Mate Confederate Ironclad

Dimensions Length, 225 ft Beam, 45 ft Draft 9 ft 6 in. Designed speed 9 knots Tonnage 1,1 5 except Squando 1,618 and Nausett 1,48 Engines Two inclined direct-acting engines Crew size 69 Armament One Xl-inch smoothbore, except Cohoes, Shawnee, Squando, Wassuc two Xl-inch smoothbores Tunxis one Xl-inch smoothbore, one 150-pdr rifle Casco, Napa, Naubuc one Xl-inch smoothbore, one spar torpedo Chimo, one 150-pdr rifle, one spar torpedo Modoc, one spar torpedo Of the other Union seagoing monitors,...

Design And Development

William Williamson Merrimack

In the first few months of the American Civil War, experimenting with warships naturally moved to the bottom of the list of priorities for the US Navy, as the North concentrated on the implementation of the blockade at sea and the overland campaign to bring the seceded Southern states to heel. By contrast, the newly formed Confederate States Navy CSN urgently required a means to overcome the vastly superior Union navy and looked to the developing technology of ironclads for a solution. Indeed,...

Uss Monitor

Dimensions Length, 173 ft Beam, 41 ft 4 in Draft, 10 ft 4 in. Designed speed knots Acquisition Built by contract with John Ericsson at Green Point, Long Island Launch January 30,1862 Cost 275,000-S280,000 Engines Two horizontal, double piston rod, condensing engines made at the Cold Springs Foundry, New York Boilers Four Martin-type with average steam pressure of 18 lb Armament Four single-banded Brooke rifles and six 9in. Dahlgren shell guns Crew Size 320 Class Monitor screw steamer iron and...

Chronology

Uss New Ironsides

Destruction of original USS Merrimack at Gosport Navy Yard CSS Atlanta launched at Savannah, Georgia, but not completed and commissioned until nearly 16 months later Merrimack salvaged by Confederates Union Ironclad Board established CSS Manassas becomes the first Confederate ironclad to attack a Union blockading ship USS Carondelet first Cairo-class river ironclad launched Photographed circa July 1862, Lieutenant William N. Jeffers, commanding the USS Monitor after the battle of Hampton Roads,...

The Strategic Situation

Virginia Ironclad Plans

When the Civil War began, President Lincoln met with his generals to devise a strategy by which the rebellious Southern States could be brought back into the Union. Major General Winfield Scott, the aged commander of the US Army since 1841, proposed a plan of campaign that became known as the Anaconda Plan. A native of Virginia, Scott believed that the majority of Southerners did not support secession and desired complete reunification with the United States. In order to restore the Union with...