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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

CSS Patrick Henry

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Side-wheel Steamer:
  • Built, in 1859 as the Brigantine-rigged passenger and freight steamer SS Yorktown at New York by William H. Webb for the New York & Old Dominion S.S. Line
  • Seized by the state of Virginia, 17 April 1861 and subsequently turned over to the Confederate Navy
  • Assigned to the James River Squadron under the command CDR J. R. Tucker CSN
  • Converted to lightly protected ship-of-war and renamed CSS Patrick Henry assigned the right flank of the Confederate Peninsula Army
  • During the battle of Hampton Roads, 8 March 1862, CSS Patrick Henry came under fire Federal ships and shore batteries, a shot through her steam chest killed four of her crew, the ship was towed out of action
  • The following day Patrick Henry fired long range at USS Monitor maneuvering against CSS Virginia (I)
  • After the surrender of Norfolk, 10 May 1862, the James River Squadron retired up the river to Drewry's Bluff
  • In October 1863 Patrick Henry housed the floating Confederate States Naval Academy at Drewry's Bluff
  • Designated as academy ship in May 1862, she was burned by the Confederates when Richmond was evacuated 3 April 1865
    Displacement 1,300 t.
    Length 250'
    Beam 34'
    Depth of Hold 17'
    Draft 13'
    Speed unknown
    Complement 150
    one 64-pdr gun
    six 8" guns
    two 32-pdr rifles
    Propulsion steam
    two side-wheels

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    Size Image Description Contributed
    Merchant Service
    Patrick Henry 108k Nineteenth Century photograph of a painting of SS Yorktown underway prior to the Civil War, circa 1853-61.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 42233
    Bill Gonyo
    Patrick Henry 63k Watercolor by Erik Heyl, 1948 of SS Yorktown painted for use in his book "Early American Steamers", Volume I.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 63843, courtesy of Erik Heyl.
    Bill Gonyo
    CSS Patrick Henry
    Patrick Henry 93k
    Oil on canvas, 1891 ca. entitled "Patrick Henry" by the artist George Bagby Matthews (1857 - 1943) after Thomas Sully".
    Patrick Henry, born in Hanover Co., Va., in 1736, was licensed to practice law in 1760 and became an immediate success. On 20 May 1765 he became a member of the House of Burgesses, defending the western and northern counties against the tidewater region. He was the leader of a new party between 1765 and 1770, thereafter consolidating the opposition to Great Britain.
    Chosen delegate to the first Continental Congress, he supported radical, nationalistic measures. On 20 March 1775, at an assembly meeting in Richmond, he uttered his famous saying "Give me liberty, or give me death." In May 1776 he was elected Governor of Virginia and twice reelected. He was Governor again 178486. He died at Red Hill Plantation, Charlotte Co., Va., 1799.
    Photo & text courtesy of
    Bill Gonyo and
    Tommy Trampp
    Patrick Henry 91k Wash drawing by Clary Ray, circa 1898 of CSS Patrick Henry underway.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 57517
    Bill Gonyo
    Patrick Henry 134k Naval Skirmish between the Rebel Iron-plated War Steamer CSS Patrick Henry), and a portion of the Federal Fleet anchored in James River, Va., off Newport News. Line engraving published in Frank Leslie's Illustrated, 1861. It probably depicts the action of 13 September 1861. Ships shown are (from left to right):
    USS Louisiana,
    CSS Patrick Henry,
    USS Savannah and
    USS Cumberland.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 59210
    Robert Hurst
    Patrick Henry 134k "Steamer Yorktown as she appeared in the Skirmish off Newport News, September 13, 1861." Engraving published in "Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper", 1861. Taken over by the Confederacy earlier in the year, Yorktown had been renamed Patrick Henry by September 1861. This depiction is rather inaccurate.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 42234
    Bill Gonyo
    Patrick Henry 16k Drawing broadside view rebel steamer SS Yorktown by Waud, Alfred R. (Alfred Rudolph), 1828-1891.
    J.P. Morgan, 1919 (DLC/PP-1919:R1.2.456), Morgan collection of Civil War drawings, Library of Congress.
    Tommy Trampp
    Patrick Henry 124k Photographically reproduced sketch of CSS Patrick Henry as the Confederate States Navy's school ship, with the James River Squadron, 1863-65. The original is inscribed with the name of Midshipman John Thomas Scharf, CSN, who served in Patrick Henry in 1863 and again in 1864-65.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 42807
    Bill Gonyo
    Patrick Henry
    161k a painting by the artist John R. Key of CSS Patrick Henry, the school ship of Confederate Naval Academy, at Drewry's Bluff, circa 1863. On right is a tug and an ironclad of the James River Squadron. This ironclad appears to be CSS Richmond. However, it may also be CSS Virginia (II) or CSS Fredricksburg.
    This painting is 1 of 4 studies by Key. 1 copy is in the Virginia Governor's mansion, the other is at the Museum of the Confederacy.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command. Photo # NH 95920-K
    Robert Hurst
    Patrick Henry
    36k Post-Civil War era photograph of CAPT. John Randolph Tucker, U.S. Navy / C.S.Navy commanded CSS Patrick Henry from 1861 through June 1862. Following the American Civil War, he became a Rear Admiral in the Peruvian Navy.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 42225
    Robert Hurst
    Patrick Henry
    382 LT. William Harwar Parker C.S.N. C.S.Navy commanded CSS Patrick Henry from 1863 through the end of the war.
    "Confederate Military History" Confederate Publishing Company. Volume 12. 1899.
    Robert Hurst

    CSS Patrick Henry
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)

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    Last Updated 9 July 2021