Hampton Roads

Upon arrival at Richmond, detachments from Co C were assigned to the gunboats Patrick Henry and Jamestown, while the remainder were ordered to report to Flag Officer French Forrest at the Gosport Navy Yard, near Norfolk. Commanded by Capt Thom, they eventually went aboard the ironclad CSS Virginia, and took part in the battles of Hampton Roads on March 8-9, 1862 (see above). With little opportunity to serve as sharpshooters aboard the ironclad, these Marines manned several of the guns, with Capt Thom commanding one in person. In his report Capt Franklin Buchanan, CSN, the executive officer of the Virginia, stated that "The Marine Corps was well represented by Captain Thom, whose tranquil mien gave evidence that the hottest fire was no novelty to him." Meanwhile, aboard the Jamestown, the Marines under LtJames R.YFendall served one of the two "great guns" with "coolness, rapidity, & [precision]."

Following the success in Hampton Roads, the CS Marine Corps began a new recruiting campaign by advertising in the Richmond press during May 1862, using the following rather exaggerated text: "In the late naval engagements in Hampton Roads, there were about one hundred marines, who had the pleasure of witnessing the departure, and expediting thejourney of three or four hundred Yankees on their way to 'Davy Jones' locker." Able-bodied recruits received a bounty of $50, and were offered service at naval stations and on board ironclad gunboats. Prize money was promised to those involved in the capture or sinking of an enemy vessel. Men suitable for duty as non-commissioned officers were required, while "a few boys" as "learners of music" were also needed. Recruits were instructed to report to the office of Capt George P.Turner in the basement under the Quartermaster's Office at 115 Broad Street in Richmond.

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