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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

CSS Virginia
ex
USF Merrimack (II) (1855 1861)


Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Merrimack Class Screw Frigate / Ironclad Ram Virginia:
  • Laid down, date unknown, at Boston Navy Yard
  • Launched, 15 June 1855, at Boston Navy Yard
  • Commissioned US Frigate Merrimack, 20 February 1856, CAPT. Garrett J. Pendergrast in command
  • Shakedown for USS Merrimack included ports the Caribbean and to western Europe
  • Decommissioning, 22 April 1857, at Boston Navy Yard for repairs
  • Recommissioned, 1 September 1857 and departing Boston, 17 October for duty as flagship for the Pacific Squadron
  • Decommissioned, 16 February 1860, at Norfolk
  • Burned by Federal troops to prevent capture by Confederate forces at Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, VA.
  • Raised by the Confederates and rebuilt as an ironclad ram
  • Commissioned, CSS Virginia, 17 February 1862
  • Sailing 8 March 1862, Virginia, engaged and sunk USF Cumberland and USF Congress off Newport News in Hampton Roads
  • CSS Virginia got underway again the following morning encountered USS Monitor the ensuing famous duel between ironclads resulted with inconclusive results
  • After repairs and drydocking Virginia returned to Hampton Roads, 11 April 1862, and captured several Union transports without encountering USS Monitor for a second dual
  • Confederate forces were forced to evacuate Norfolk, Confederate forces destroyed CSS Virginia, 11 May 1862, preventing her from being captured by Union forces
    Specifications:
    Displacement 4,636 t.
    Length 281'
    Beam 52' 2"
    Depth of Hold
    Merrimack 27' 6"
    Virginia 22'
    Draft 24' 3"
    Speed
    Merrimack - 12 kts
    Virginia - 9 kts
    Complement
    Merrimack - 575
    Virginia - 320
    Merrimack Armament
    fourteen 8" guns
    two 10" pivot guns
    twenty-four 9" Dahlgren smoothbores
    Virginia Armament
    two 7" rifles
    two 6" rifles
    six 9" guns
    two 12-pdr. howitzers
    Propulsion steam
    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Source
    US Frigate Merrimack
    Merrimack 194k Illustration by J. M. Caiella of US Frigate Merrimack at the time of her commissioning in 1856. The outboard profile depicts her painted in the standard color scheme of the time. Those mechanics employed in building the ship, a journalist from "Ballou's Pictorial" declared, "have good reason to be proud of their handiwork." Tommy Trampp
    Merrimack 143k Sectional view of the steam frigate US Frigate Merrimack.
    Image courtesy of D Van Nostrand Company - National Archives.
    Robert Hurst
    Merrimack 135k Line engraving by Warren, after a drawing by John Andrew, published in a contemporary illustrated magazine. It depicts the launch of US Frigate Merrimack (incorrectly spelled "Merrimac" on the print) at the Boston Navy Yard, Charlestown, Massachusetts, 15 June 1855.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 86347-KN Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Merrimack 99k Drawing by G. G. Pook of US Frigate Merrimack
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 46247 from the collection of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, April 1936.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Merrimack 84k Wash drawing by Clary Ray, 1896 of US Frigate Merrimack.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 57512
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Merrimack 107k Engraving by L.H. Bradford & Co., after a drawing by G.G. Pook of US Frigate Merrimack.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo #: NH 46248. Courtesy Charles Moran, January 1935.
    Robert Hurst
    Merrimack 127k Halftone reproduction of a lithograph made in London on the occasion of US Frigate Merrimack's visit to Southampton, England, in 1856. It was published in Frank M. Bennett's book "The Steam Navy of the United States". When photographed for that publication the original lithograph was owned by Charles Schroeder, of Portsmouth, Virginia, who was a Third Assistant Engineer in Merrimack in 1856.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 46250
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Merrimack 164k "Port of Realejo -- 1859"
    Lithograph by Vincent Brooks after a drawing by Sir William G. Ouseley, published in Commander Bedford Pim, RN: "The Gate of the Pacific", London, 1863 (page 133). Depicting a harbor scene at Realejo, a 19th century port on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, about 20 miles northwest of Leon. The large ship in the center is US Frigate Merrimack, flagship of the Pacific Squadron. The original is a color print in a book held by the Navy Department Library.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 116
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Merrimack 203k Line engraving published in Harper's Weekly, 1861. Depicting US Frigate Merrimack (incorrectly spelled Merrimac) under repair at the Norfolk Navy Yard, circa early 1861. She was burned when Federal forces abandoned and destroyed the yard on 20 April 1861.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo #: NH 59566
    Robert Hurst
    Merrimack 149k "Merrimac' Destroyed at the Burning of the Norfolk Navy Yard, April 19, 1861." Halftone reproduction, copyrighted in 1906 by G.S. Richardson, depicting US Frigate Merrimack aflame during the burning of the Norfolk Navy Yard, 20 April 1861.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 58880
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Cumberland 115k "Destruction of the United States Navy-Yard at Norfolk, Virginia, by Fire, by the United States Troops, on April 20, 1861" A line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 1861, providing two scenes of the burning of Norfolk Navy Yard and the destruction of ships located there. Ships shown in the lower scene (as identified below the print), from left to right: US Frigate United States (afire); tug Yankee with USS Cumberland (underway, leaving the area); US Frigate Merrimack (afire in left center distance); USS Pawnee (underway, leaving the area), and USS Pennsylvania (afire).
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 59179
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    CSS Virginia
    Germantown 137k Line engraving in the Harper's Weekly, 1862 of the floating battery CSS Germantown (ex-USS Germantown and CSS Virginia (ex-US Frigate Merrimack) off Craney Island, VA., circa March-May 1862.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 58847
    Robert Hurst
    Virginia 79k Wash drawing by Clary Ray, 1898 of CSS Virginia.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 57830 Courtesy of the U.S. Navy Art Collection, Washington, D.C.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Virginia 77k Photograph of a 19th Century artwork of CSS Virginia.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 61676
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Virginia 51k Colored outboard profile plan of CSS Virginia, originally in the files of the Bureau of Construction and Repair. Its origin is unknown, but it may be of Civil War vintage. The original is plan # 81-12-2B in Record Group 19 at the U.S. National Archives.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 76386
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Virginia 81k Halftone reproduction of a line engraving of CSS Virginia originally published in "Battles and Leaders of the Civil War", Volume I, page 695. It is based on a drawing by Lt. B.L. Blackford, made on 7 March 1862, the day before Virginia (formerly USS Merrimack) engaged USS Cumberland and USS Congress.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 76386
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Virginia 118k 1884 Civil War Print Image of the CSS Virginia Tommy Trampp
    Virginia 107k Engraving depicting CSS Virginia in drydock at the Norfolk Navy Yard, after the installation of her armor, circa early 1862. She was then nearing completion after conversion from the hulk of USS Merrimack.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 314. Courtesy of Mrs. A.W. Hasker.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Virginia 103k Halftone of an artwork published in Fiveash, "Virginia-Monitor Engagement", Norfolk, Va., 1907. It depicts CSS Virginia in drydock at the Norfolk Navy Yard, circa February 1862, while nearing completion after conversion from the hulk of USS Merrimack.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 42222
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Virginia 135k Halftone reproduction of an artwork copyrighted by G.S. Richardson, 1906, depicting CSS Virginia drydocked at the Norfolk Navy Yard, circa early 1862, while nearing completion after conversion from the hulk of USS Merrimack.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 58712
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Virginia 67k Model by Alexander Lynch, 1939, of CSS Virginia on exhibit at the Los Angeles Museum, Los Angeles, California. Model's scale is 1/8" = 1'. Courtesy of Arthur Woodward, Director of History and Anthropology, Los Angeles Museum, September 1939.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 42223
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Virginia 145k "New York Tribune" newspaper article dated, Thursday, 18 March 1862 describing the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia Tommy Trampp
    Virginia 41k The ironclad CSS Virginia steams from Gosport Navy Yard with tenders CSS Teaser and CSS Jamestown to engage Union Fleet at Hampton Roads, Virginia, 8 March 1862.
    "Virginia's Debut" by Tom Freeman - Ironclad CSS Virginia 1862 - Civil War Art
    Tommy Trampp
    Congress 89k CSS Virginia destroying USS Congress, 8 March 1862. Painting by Xanthus Smith, depicting Virginia at left, firing into Congress. The masts of the sunken USS Cumberland are in the right background. Other Confederate warships are visible in the distance, toward the left. Collection of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 42218
    Robert Hurst
    Congress 123k CSS Virginia engages USS Congress, 8 March 1862. Oil painting by F. Muller, photographed in the offices of the Senate Naval Affairs Committee during the later 1920s or the 1930s.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 42216
    Robert Hurst
    Congress 125k CSS Virginia vs USS Congress, print after oil on canvas by Irek T. Szelag (Tad Shelong), Tommy Trampp


    For more photos and information about USS Merrimack (II) and CSS Virginia see;
  • USS Merrimack (II) Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
  • CSS Virginia Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

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    Last Updated 31 March 2017