Archive for March 8th, 2008

08
Mar
08

On This Day, 3-8-08: C.S.S. Virginia

C.S.S. Virginia terrorizes Union navy

The Confederate ironclad Virginia wrecks havoc on a Yankee squadron off Hampton Roads, Virginia.

The C.S.S. Virginia was originally the U.S.S. Merrimack, a forty-gun frigate launched in 1855. The Merrimack served in the Caribbean and was the flagship of the Pacific fleet in the late 1850s. In early 1860, the ship was decommissioned for extensive repairs at the Gosport Navy Yard in Norfolk, Virginia. It was still there when the war began in April 1861, and Union sailors sank the ship as the yard was evacuated. Six weeks later, a salvage company raised the ship and the Confederates began rebuilding it.

The project required $172,000 to build an ironclad upon the Merrimack‘s hull. A new gun deck was added and an iron canopy was draped over the entire vessel. The most challenging part of the construction came in finding the iron plating. Richmond’s Tredegar Iron Works finally produced it, but the plant had to alter its operations to roll more than 300 tons of scrap iron for the two-inch thick plating.

The Virginia was launched on February 17, 1862. On March 9, it steamed from Norfolk toward Union ships guarding the mouth of the James River at Hampton Roads. Rumors of the ironclad had circulated for several days among the Yankee sailors, and now they saw the creation first hand. They soon wished they hadn’t. The Virginia attacked the U.S.S. Cumberland, firing several shots into her before ramming the Federal ship and sinking it. The other Union ships fired back, but the shots were, in the words of one observer, “having no more effect than peas from a pop-gun.” Ninety-eight shots hit the Virginia, but none did significant damage. The Virginia then attacked the U.S.S. Congress, which exploded when fires caused by the Confederate barrage reached the powder magazine. The Virginia next ran the U.S.S. Minnesota aground before calling it a day.

It had been the worst day in U.S. naval history and it signaled the end of the wooden ship era. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2130

1782 – The Gnadenhutten massacre took place. About 90 Indians were killed by militiamen in Ohio in retaliation for raids carried out by other Indians.

1853 – The first bronze statue of Andrew Jackson is unveiled in Washington, DC.

1855 – A train passed over the first railway suspension bridge at Niagara Falls, NY.

1880 – U.S. President Rutherford B. Hays declared that the United States would have jurisdiction over any canal built across the isthmus of Panama.

1907 – The British House of Commons turned down a women’s suffrage bill.

1910 – The King of Spain authorized women to attend universities.

1930 – Mahatma Gandhi begins the campaign of civil disobedience against British rule in India .

1942 – During World War II, Japanese forces captured Rangoon, Burma.

1943 – Japanese forces attacked American troops on Hill 700 in Bougainville. The battle lasted five days.

1945 – Phyllis Mae Daley received a commission in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. She later became the first African-American nurse to serve duty in World War II.

1954 – France and Vietnam opened talks in Paris on a treaty to form the state of Indochina.

1965 – The U.S. landed about 3,500 Marines in South Vietnam. They were the first U.S. combat troops to land in Vietnam.

1982 – The U.S. accused the Soviets of killing 3,000 Afghans with poison gas.

1989 – In Lhasa, Tibet, martial law was declared after three days of protest against Chinese rule.

United States accuses Soviets of using poison gas

The United States government issues a public statement accusing the Soviet Union of using poison gas and chemical weapons in its war against rebel forces in Afghanistan. The accusation was part of the continuing U.S. criticism of the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.  http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2600

Universal suffrage is sound in principle. The radical element is right.
Rutherford B. Hayes

Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations… can never effect a reform.
Susan B. Anthony

Suffrage is the pivotal right.
Susan B. Anthony

Voting is the most precious right of every citizen, and we have a moral obligation to ensure the integrity of our voting process.
Hillary Clinton

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