John V. Quarstein
Director emeritus of the USS Monitor Center
About the Lecture
Hampton Roads was the headquarters of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. The harbor contained about 30 wooden warships and more than 60 transports. The fleet’s strength was its five capital ships: Minnesota, Roanoke, St. Lawrence, Congress, and Cumberland. Despite this apparent strength, the squadron commander, Flag Officer Louis M. Goldsborough, knew the Confederate ironclad Merrimack (CSS Virginia) would soon attack his fleet. He had prepared his squadron for an oncoming battle.
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Image header credit: Wood block print of USS Minnesota titled “THE UNITED STATES WAR STEAMER MINNESOTA, FLAG-SHIP OF THE BLOCKADING SQUADRON.” Harper’s Weekly, August 1861