Mr Stan Smith
Historical Chronology:1861 Continued
- April 17: Virginia secedes from the Union.
April 18: Chief Engineer Benjamin Franklin Isherwood completes repairs to USS Merrimack and proclaims the frigate ready for sea. McCauley denies approval for the Merrimack to leave Gosport. Flag Officer Hiram Paulding is ordered to take command of Gosport Navy Yard. Paulding leaves the Washington Navy Yard with 100 marines on Board the 8-gun steamer USS Pawnee.
Virginia Governor John Letcher orders Major General William Booth Taliaferro of the Virginia Militia to Norfolk and to occupy Gosport Navy Yard.
- April 19: Lincoln proclaims a blockade of the Southern coastline.
- April 20: Federals burn and abandon Gosport Navy Yard.
- April 21: Confederates occupy Gosport Navy Yard.
- April 22: Flag Officer French Forrest assumes command of Gosport Navy Yard. Captain Franklin Buchanan, commandant of the Washington Navy Yard, resigned his U.S. Navy commission.
- April 27: President Lincoln extends the blockade to include the coasts of Virginia and North Carolina.
- May 3: Anaconda plan formulated by General Winfield Scott.
- May 6: Arkansas secedes.
- May 10: Confederate Secretary of the Navy Stephen Russell Mallory advised the Confederate Congress that 'I regard the possession of an iron-armored ship as a matter of the first necessity.'
- May 18: Contract issued to raise the scuttled USS Merrimack from the Elizabeth River.
- May 20: North Carolina secedes.
- May 22: Major General Benjamin Franklin Butler assumed command of the Union department of Virginia at Fort Monroe.
- May 27: Union troops occupy Newport News Point and construct Camp Butler. Federal control of this point closes the riverine link between Norfolk and Richmond.
- May 30: Merrimack is raised and is moved in Gosport's Dry Dock #1.
- June 3: Mallory instructs Lieutenant John Mercer Brooke to develop an ironclad design for construction in the South.
- June 8: Tennessee secedes.
June 10: Union force from Fort Monroe, Camp Hamilton and Camp Butler commanded by Brigadier General Ebenezer Pierce is defeated by Confederate troops commanded by John Bankhead Magruder at Big Bethel. This is the first land battle of the war.
- June 11: West Virginia secedes from Virginia to join with the Union.
June 23-24: Report on Confederate homefront design completed by Lieutenant John Mercer Brook, Naval Constructor John Luke Porter, and Chief Engineer William Price Williamson. The panel recommends that the Merrimack be transformed into an ironclad.
- July 1: Hampton, Virginia is occupied by Federal forces.
July 11: Confederate Congress appropriates $172,523 for the reconstruction of Merrimack into an ironclad. Secretary of the Navy Mallory orders flag Officer French Forrest to begin the transformation of the Merrimack into an ironclad.
- July 21: Union army defeated at the Battle of First Manassas.
- July 24: Tredegar Iron Works receives contract to produce iron plate for the Merrimack conversion project.
- July 31: Aeronaut John LaMountain makes his first successful balloon flight from Fort Monroe observing Confederate defenses throughout the Hampton Roads area.
- August 3: U.S. Congress appropriates $1.5 million for ironclad ship construction. Flag Officer Joseph Smith, Flag Officer Hiram Paulding, and Captain Charles Henry Davis named to Ironclad Board.
John LaMountain made first balloon ascent from a warship, U.S.S. Fanny, in Hampton Roads to observe Confederate batteries on Sewell's Point.
- August 7: James B. Eads receives contract from U.S. Army to build 7 shallow-draft ironclads based on the design provided by Naval Constructor Samuel Pook.
Confederate troops commanded by General John Bankhead Magruder burn Hampton, Virginia to preclude its use by Union forces.
Advertisements place in Northern newspapers soliciting seagoing ironclad designs.
- August 12: Mallory orders Lt. John Mercer Brooke to conduct iron-plating tests.
- August 15: C.S.S. Manassas launched as a privately-funded privateer. The Manassas is 143' in length, displaces 387 tons, and is plated by one inch of iron plate.
Deadline for advising Ironclad Board that a design would be submitted.
- August 17: Major General John Ellis Wool assumes command of the Union Department of Virginia at Fort Monroe.
- August 23: Confederate Congress appropriates $800,000 for the construction of 4 ironclads on the Mississippi River 2 at New Orleans and 2 at Memphis.
- August 26: Squadron commanded by Flag Officer Silas Horton Stringham leaves Hampton Roads with 900 troops led by Major General Benjamin Franklin Butler enroute to Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina.
- August 28: Flag Officer Stringham begins bombardment of Fort Clark and Fort Hatteras.
- August 29: Flag Officer Samuel Barron, CSN, surrenders Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina.
- August 31: C.S.S. Teaser shells Camp Butler on Newport News Point.
- September 2: Lt John Mercer Brooke with Lieutenant Catesby ap Roger Jones conducts iron-plating-shot proof tests and experiments at Jamestown Island.
September 8: Cornelius S. Bushnell accidentally meets Cornelius S. Delameter of Delameter Iron Works on the steps of the Willard Hotel, Washington, D.C. Delameter advises Bushnell to meet with John Ericsson to find answers to questions about the Galena's stability.
- September 9: C.S. Bushnell gives plans of Galena to John Ericsson.
- September 10: C.S. Bushnell meets with John Ericsson and reviews Monitor plans.
- September 11: C.S. Bushnell meets with John A. Griswold and John F. Winslow to solicit support of Secretary of State William Seward and secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles for the Monitor design.
- September 12: C.S.S. Manassas (converted from the tug boat Enoch Train) commissioned into C.S. Navy.
President Abraham Lincoln and C.S. Bushnell meet to discuss the Monitor.
September 13: President Abraham Lincoln and C.S. Bushnell meet with the Ironclad Board. The three officers 'all were surprised at the novelty' of Ericsson's design. When the meeting concluded Lincoln looked at the model and remarked, 'All I have to say is what the girl said when she stuck her foot into the stocking. It strikes me there's something in it.'
- September 14: C.S. Bushnell meets with John Ericsson in New York and persuades him to go to Washington, D.C. to discuss his ironclad plans.
- September 15: John Ericsson and C.S. Bushnell meet with Ironclad Board. At 3:00 p.m. the Ericsson Battery design was accepted.
- September 16: Ironclad Board submits a report discussing the plans and proposals for 17 ships of which 3 were recommended for construction: Galena, New Ironsides and Monitor.
Troops landed from the U.S.S. Pawnee capture Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina.
- September 22: John Ericsson receives letter of confirmation that his 'ironclad gunboat' design was accepted.
- September 27: James Eads begins construction of the ironclad U.S.S. St. Louis. Within a week, six other ironclads are laid down including Pittsburgh, Carondolet, Louisville, Mound City, Cairo, and Cincinnati.
Cornelius Bushnell, John A. Griswold, John Winslow, and John Ericsson form a partnership to build Monitor.
John Ericsson completes all blueprints for the ironclad's construction.
- October 1: The Confederate North Carolina Squadron commanded by Flag Officer William F. Lynch (C.S.S. Curfew, C.S.S. Raleigh, and C.S.S. Junaluska captured the U.S.S. Fanny in Pamlico Sound, North Carolina.
- October 4: Government contract used to John Ericsson and partners for the construction of 'Ericsson's Battery' signed.
Chief Engineer Alban C. Stimers named the U.S. Navy's superintendent for the Ericsson's Battery project.
- October 8: H. Abbott and Son of Baltimore, Maryland contracted to produce all of the one-inch iron plate for the Ericsson's Battery project.
- October 12: Catesby ap Roger Jones reports to Secretary of the Navy Stephen Russell Mallory about iron-plating tests on Jamestown Island. This report forces Tredegar Iron Works to re-work its machinery to produce 2-inch iron plate.
- October 19: Worthington Pumps purchased for the Monitor.
- October 23: Construction of the Monitor's rudder is begun.
- October 25: Monitor's keel laid at Continental Iron Works, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York.
Thomas Rowland of Continental Iron Works signs contract with John Ericsson to construct the single-turreted ironclad at .075 cents per pound.
- November 1: Major General George Brinton McClellan is named general-in-chief of the U.S. Army.
- November 11: Thomas Rowland of Continental Iron Works advises John Ericsson that he has 175 men at work on the ironclad project.
Lieutenant Catesby ap Roger Jones named executive officer of the Merrimack.
- November 15: Chief Engineer Alban Stimers authorizes the first payment of $50,000 for work on the Ericsson's Battery project.
- November 16: Iron deck beams are installed in the Ericsson's Battery.
- November 22: Union gunboats shell Confederate defenses at the mouth of the Warwick River.
- November 25: The Secretary of the Confederate Navy approved first armor plate for shipment to the Gosport Navy Yard for use on the Merrimack.
Lieutenant John Taylor Wood is detailed to the Merrimack and assigned task of recruiting crew members.
- November 29: Lieutenant John L. Worden reports to Washington, D.C. following his seven-month imprisonment in a Confederate POW camp.
- December 2: C.S.S. Patrick Henry, commanded by Commander John Randolph Tucker, is damaged during a two hour duel with Union gunboats near Newport News Point.
- December 4: Ericsson's Battery investors receive second payment of $37,500.
- December 5: Wooden bulwark installed on the Ericsson's Battery.
- December 7: Captain Reuben T. Thom's Company C, C.S. Marine Corps arrives at Gosport Navy yard and assigned to guard the Merrimack.
- December 29: C.S.S. Patrick Henry engages 4 Union gunboats off Sewell's Point after the Federal vessels had shelled the Confederate batteries.
C.S.S. Sea Bird, commanded by Flag Officer William R. Lynch, evaded Union cannon fire and captured a large schooner near Hampton Roads laden with water for Fort Monroe.
- December 31: Ericsson's Battery has its boilers installed and hull painted.
Chief Engineer Stimers tests the Ericsson's Battery's engines and propeller.
Mr Stan Smith
The Monitor Center
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- Historical Chronology:1861 Continued
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