Posts Tagged ‘CSS Virginia

09
Mar
08

On This Day, 3-9-08: Monitor vs Virginia

One of the most famous naval battles in history occurs as the ironclads Monitor and Virginia fight to a draw off Hampton Roads, Virginia. The ships pounded each other all morning but the armor plates easily shed the cannon shots, signaling a new era of steam-powered iron ships.

The C.S.S. Virginia was originally the U.S.S. Merrimack, a forty-gun frigate launched in 1855. The Confederates captured it and covered it in heavy armor plating above the waterline. Outfitted with powerful guns, the Virginia was a formidable vessel when the Confederates launched her in February 1862. On March 8, the Virginia sunk two Union ships and ran one aground off Hampton Roads.

The next day, the U.S.S. Monitor steamed into the bay. Designed by Swedish engineer John Ericsson, the vessel had an unusually low profile, rising from the water only 18 inches. The flat iron deck had a 20-foot cylindrical turret rising from the middle of the ship; the turret housed two 11-inch Dahlgren guns. The shift had a draft of less than 11 feet so it could operate in the shallow harbors and rivers of the South. It was commissioned on February 25, 1862, and arrived at Chesapeake Bay just in time to engage the Virginia.

At 9:00 am, the duel began and continued for four hours. The ships circled one another, jockeying for position as they fired their guns. The cannon balls simply deflected off the iron ships. In the early afternoon, the Virginia pulled back to Norfolk. Neither ship was seriously damaged, but the Monitor effectively ended the short reign of terror that the Confederate ironclad had brought to the Union navy.

Both ships met ignominious ends. When the Yankees invaded the James Peninsula two months after the battle at Hampton Roads, the retreating Confederates scuttled their ironclad. The Monitor went down in bad weather off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, at the end of the year. Though they had short lives, the ships ushered in a new era in naval warfare.  http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2131

1454 – Amerigo Vespucci was born in Florence, Italy. Matthias Ringmann, a German mapmaker, named the American continent in his honor.

1788 – Connecticut became the 5th state to join the United States.

1796 – Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine de Beauharnais were married. They were divorced in 1809.

1832 – Abraham Lincoln announced that he would run for a political office for the first time. He was unsuccessful in his run for a seat in the Illinois state legislature.

1839 – The French Academy of Science announced the Daguerreotype photo process.

1863 – General Ulysses Grant was appointed commander-in-chief of the Union forces.

1905 – In Manchuria, Japanese troops surrounded 200,000 Russian troops that were retreating from Mudken.

1916 – Mexican raiders led by Pancho Villa attacked Columbus, New Mexico. 17 people were killed by the 1,500 horsemen.

1933 – The U.S. Congress began its 100 days of enacting New Deal legislation.

1936 – The German press warned that all Jews who vote in the upcoming elections would be arrested.

1945 – During World War II, U.S. B-29 bombers launched incendiary bomb attacks against Japan.

1961 – Laika becomes the first dog in space when the Russians launch Sputnik 9.

1964 – The first Ford Mustang rolled off of the Ford assembly line.

1967 – Svetlana Alliluyeva, Josef Stalin’s daughter defected to the United States.

1975 – Work began on the Alaskan oil pipeline.

1993 – Rodney King testified at the federal trial of four Los Angeles police officers accused of violating his civil rights.

Firebombing of Tokyo

On this day, U.S. warplanes launch a new bombing offensive against Japan, dropping 2,000 tons of incendiary bombs on Tokyo over the course of the next 48 hours. Almost 16 square miles in and around the Japanese capital were incinerated, and between 80,000 and 130,000 Japanese civilians were killed in the worst single firestorm in recorded history.  http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6736

Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires.

James Madison (Federalist #10)

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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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