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CSS VIRGINIA | US Civil War Ironclad

Updated on December 30, 2012

CSS Virginia (USS Merrimack)

CSS Virginia was an ironclad warship of the Confederate States Navy during the American Civil War (built using the remains of the scuttled USS Merrimack). She was one of the participants in the Battle of Hampton Roads in March, 1862 opposite the USS Monitor. The battle is chiefly significant in naval history as the first battle between two ironclads.

The Virginia was part of the original ships in the James River Squadron. The James River Squadron is known mostly for the role it played in patrolling the James River. The James River was the main waterway used by the capital of the Confederacy, Richmond, Virginia. There were two parts of the James River Squadron, the first was the early part of the war, when the squadron was mostly wooden ships, all but the famous CSS Virginia. This early phase ended with the Battle of Drewry's Bluff on May 15, 1862. The second part of the squadron's exploits started in 1864 and then the squadron was made up of many ironclads with the CSS Virginia II the flagship of Captain John K. Mitchell from May 1864 until February of 1865 when Admiral Raphael Semmes took over.

Ironclad Down: USS Merrimack-CSS Virginia from Design to Destruction

Ironclad Down by Carl Park is the result of over fifteen years of research, This book is filled with detailed information about one of history's most famous vessels, the CSS Virginia. Carl Park spends time describing the incredibly interesting characters of the time, like John Mercer Brooke and John Porter, the designers of the CSS Virginia and Stephen Russell Mallory, Confederate Secretary of the Navy. Park describes the ship, how it was built and every detail you can think of.

Carl Park, a modeler with articles in Fine Scale Modeler originally intented to build an accurate model of the ship. He found out quickly that trying to reconciling the conflicting and incomplete information about the CSS Virginia stopped his plans. He never built the model. In its place he wrote Ironclad Down, a valuable addition to naval history.

US Civil War Ironclad CSS Virginia

US Civil War Ironclad CSS Virginia
US Civil War Ironclad CSS Virginia

Iron Afloat: The Story of the Confederate Armorclads

by William N. Still

Everyone knows the story of the battle of the Monitor and the Merrimack. But how many people know the story behind the Confederacy's attempt to build a fleet of armorclad vessels of war? Built from converted steam ships, built on riverbeds and cornfields. Learn how the Confederacy built a fleet of ironclads that were more than a match for anything from the Northern invaders.

The CSS Virginia: Sink Before Surrender

The CSS Virginia: Sink Before Surrender Published by The History Press

by John V. Quarstein

The morning the CSS Virginia (formerly the USS Merrimack) slowly steamed down the Elizabeth River toward Hampton Roads on March 8, 1862, naval warfare changed forever. Wooden sailing ships became obsolete, armored, steam-powered vessels where the new dreadnaughts. Little did the ironclad's crew realize that their makeshift warship would achieve the greatest Confederate naval victory. The trip was thought by most of the crew to be a trial cruise. Instead, the Virginia's aggressive commander, Franklin Buchanan, transformed the voyage into a test by fire that forever proved the supreme power of iron over wood.

The Virginia's ability to beat the odds to become the first ironclad to enter Hampton Roads stands as a testament to her designers, builders, officers and crew. Virtually everything about the Virginia s design was an improvisation or an adaptation, characteristic of the Confederacy's efforts to wage a modern war with limited industrial resources. Noted historian John V. Quarstein recounts the compelling story of this ironclad underdog, providing detailed appendices, including crew member biographies and a complete chronology of the ship and crew.

CSS Virginia Videos

CAPITAL NAVY: The Men, Ships, and Operations of the James River Squadron

Capital Navy is all about the Confederate naval operations on the James River, the famous James River Squadron made up of the ironclads CSS Virginia, CSS Virginia II, CSS Richmond and CSS Fredericksburg. This is the first book that examines the importance of Confederate naval operations on the James River.

What Happened to the Civil War Ironclads?

Final Resting Place of CSS Virginia

CSS Virginia was destroyed to prevent capture near Craney Island Virginia May 11, 1862. Her remains were removed in the 1870's.

CSS Virginia Limited Edition

CSS Virginia, Limited Edition

This is a full assembled ready for display museum quality replica of the CSS Virginia, formerly the USS Merrimack. This model is 34" long by 7" wide and 9" high, 1/96 scale. Built of high quality wood and brass detail parts. These museum-quality scale Civil War replicas of one of history's most famous warships produced as Limited Edition ironclad models of the famous CSS Virginia, are certain to enthrall even the most discriminating naval historian or Civil War buff.

CONFEDERATE IRONCLADS of the US Civil War
The battle between the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia, (formerly the USS Merrimack) two of the Civil War Ironclads, started one of the biggest changes in N...

CSS Arkansas Civil War Ironclad
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CSS GEORGIA | US Civil War Ironclad
CSS Georgia, also known as State of Georgia and Ladies Ram, was an ironclad floating battery built at Savannah, Georgia in 1862-1863. Placed under command of...

CSS Atlanta, US Civil War Ironclad
CSS Atlanta was originally the English blockade runner Fingal, built at Glasgow, Scotland, in 1861. She was procured by the Confederate Government in 1862 an...

CSS NEUSE | US Civil War Ironclad
The CSS Neuse was a sister ship to the CSS Albemarle. The CSS Neuse was one of 22 ironclads commissioned by the Confederate navy. Having a wide, flat bottom,...

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What Do You Know about the CSS Virginia! - US Civil War

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    • profile image

      marsha32 5 years ago

      The videos to go with this one are great.

    • Paperquest5 profile image
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      Paperquest5 5 years ago

      @blakesdad lm: blakesdad, glad you enjoyed it.

    • Paperquest5 profile image
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      Paperquest5 5 years ago

      @Donaldson_Grisham: Donald_Grisham thanks for dropping by and leaving a great comment.

    • blakesdad lm profile image

      blakesdad lm 8 years ago

      Awesome history lesson. Five stars!

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      Donaldson_Grisham 9 years ago

      Nice lens! You've put together a nice collection of resources and lenses on these ships. It would be great if you could drop by our Civil War lens and say hi when you get the chance.