The James River Squadron

Waiting for the opportunity to pass through the Union fleet off Hampton Roads and slip into Norfolk was the James River Squadron; a collection of three wooden gunboats, under the command of Commander John R. Tucker. Tucker was the Commanding Officer of the sidewheel gunboat CSS Patrick Henry, a beautiful vessel that was formerly called Yorklown. She went on to become the Confederate Navy's training ship. She was accompanied by her sister ship the CSS Jamestoum (commanded by Lieutenant Joseph M. Barney) and the small gunboat CSS Teaser- (commanded by Lieutenant William A. Webb). At the start of

James River Forts

One of the Confederate batteries built in 1861 to defend Norfolk and its hinterland. Batteries such as this were created on Sewell's Point, Pig Point, and Craney Island to cover the river approaches to the city. (LoV)

James River Forts
The gunners manning the Confederate batteries on Sewell's Point watch as the Virginia and her escorts return from their sortie on 8 March. The soldiers had an ideal vantage point to watch both days of the fighting. (Hensley)

the battle Tucker's squadron was moored off Jamestown, several miles up the James River from the Union fleet. They came under the overall command of Flag Officer Buchanan, who ordered Tucker to be ready to support the Virginia on the morning of 8 March 1862. All of the squadron's ships were converted merchant vessels, and lacked the strength to fight the more powerful Union warships on their own.

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