The Civil War Connections Blog

Tag Archives: Gosport Navy Yard

“Gallant Heroes” and a boast…

  As it almost always happens, I find the most interesting things whilst looking for something else altogether.  In any event, I have been sifting through the digitized editions of the Richmond Daily Dispatch that were placed on line by the University of Richmond via an IMLS grant (hie thee hence to our Port of Call […]

Monitor Log: 4 April 1862

You would not know it from the Monitor‘s log book, but Friday, April 4, 1862 was an important day.  It  marked the official beginning of McClellan’s Peninsular Campaign, as Union troops began their slow move from Fortress Monroe up the Peninsula. Meanwhile, over in Gosport, The Virginia  came out of drydock.  Now repaired, she boasted a new […]

“….and VIRGINIA was her name…”

The old Merrimack had undergone a transformation at Gosport. Though there was still work to be done, Flag Officer French Forrest wanted to launch and rechristen the new ironclad.  And so, on February 17, 1862, with very little fanfare, the Merrimack  got her new name. Workmen continued to pound away during the ceremony. William Cline, who […]

loose lips……again

Loose lips… The recent article in Scientific American concerning the Ericsson Battery was not  met with enthusiasm in the office of Commodore Smith. This might be due to the fact that it gave details of the battery that Smith had hoped to keep secret from the Confederacy. In his defense, the prickly engineer John Ericsson […]

Rip Raps and Receiving Ships

On June 15 in 1861, the Rifled Sawyer gun on Fort Calhoun (otherwise known as the Rip Raps Battery) shelled Confederate batteries at Sewell’s Point. The venerable old frigate USF United States has now become the CSRS Confederate States after the Federal abandonment of Gosport Navy Yard. The frigate was organized as a school ship […]

Gosport Burning!

Today kicks off the Civil War sesquicentennial for our own particular story here at The Mariners’ Museum. We begin with the USS Merrimack….. 150 years ago today, Union forces abandoned Gosport Navy Yard – (we know it better today as Norfolk Navy Yard) in Portsmouth, VA following the secession of Virginia from the Union a […]

Meanwhile in Gosport…..

On this day 150 years ago, Chief Engineer Benjamin Franklin Isherwood completed repairs to USS Merrimack at Gosport Navy Yard. Though Isherwood proclaimed the frigate ready for sea, Yard Commander McCauley denied approval for the Merrimack to leave Gosport. Given the tenuous state of affairs following the news of secession, and the timidity of McCauley, […]

…in case of invasion…

Flag Officer Garrett J. Pendergrast, commander of the USS Cumberland, is ordered to keep his ship in Gosport Navy Yard ‘and, in case of invasion, insurrection, or violence of any kind, to suppress it, repelling assault by force.’ At the same time, however, Secretary of the Union Navy, Gideon Welles, ordered McCauley to remove all […]

Alden and Isherwood Arrive

On April 14, 1861, Commander James Alden and US Navy Chief Engineer Benjamin Franklin Isherwood arrived at Gosport Navy Yard to find that McCauley had done exactly nothing. Alden had orders to take command of the USS Merrimack and bring her to Philadelphia if it appeared that evacuating the Navy Yard was the only avenue. […]

“Excercise your judgment….”

150 years ago today, Gideon Welles – secretary of the US Navy – ordered Flag Officer Charles Stewart McCauley, commandant of the Gosport Navy Yard in Portsmouth, VA, to ready the USS Merrimack for transport out of harm’s way. Virginia had not yet seceded, but Welles was worried that the Merrimack would invite “unlawful attempts […]