Join us on Friday, April 17 at 2 p.m. for a YouTube Live with author and historian John V. Quarstein! Live from his home in Hampton, Virginia, John will give a 15-minute presentation about the Capture of Gosport Navy Yard. Viewers are welcome to send him any comments or questions during the presentation, and John will answer them following his talk.
When Virginia left the Union on April 17, 1861, the Gosport Navy Yard, across from the Elizabeth River from Norfolk, was located in Portsmouth, Virginia. It became a prize of immense importance to both the North and the South. The yard held 14 US Navy warships, a giant granite dry dock, and an arsenal of more than 1,200 cannon and 250,000 pounds of gunpowder. The yard was a valued resource, much sought after by Southern supporters. Gosport Navy Yard was burned by the fleeing Federals on April 21, 1861. The very next day, the Confederates possessed the largest naval shipyard in the former United States. Gosport Navy Yard was where the Confederates utilized the leftover foundries and machinery to raise the sunken and burned USS Merrimack, transforming it into the powerful ironclad ram CSS Virginia.