The Civil War Connections Blog

Tag Archives: USS Merrimack

Of Confederates, Contracts and Congress…

The bodies of several of the Confederate dead began arriving in Richmond, VA 150 years ago today. Among them were Acting Brigadier General Francis Bartow and General Bernard Bee (the man who gave ‘Stonewall’ Jackson his nickname). The Richmond Dispatch reported that Bartow, though suffering from a shattered foot during the battle, was “waving his […]

Secret work…….

150 years ago today, Lieutenant John Mercer Brooke, Naval Constructor John Luke Porter, and Chief Engineer William Price Williamson completed the report on Confederate homefront ironclad design. The Panel would ultimately recommend that the salvaged Merrimack be transformed into an ironclad. Porter and Williamson had arrived in Richmond the day before, Porter bringing with him […]

submarine diving….1861 style

On May 30, 1861, Barnabas and Joseph Baker of the B & J Baker Co. of 3 Campbell’s Wharf, in Norfolk, VA, raised the burned-out hull of the Merrimack from the Elizabeth River.  Barnabas, who lived in Portsmouth, and Joseph, who lived in Berkeley, along with their partner E.M. Stoddard of Portsmouth prided themselves on […]

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 […]