Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog


Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Hall on September 11, 2010

The major work on the foredeck is blocked out, though a good bit of detail to be added (anchors, cables, etc.).Put anchor chain hawsepipes in the forward casing and similar features for the rudder chains aft.

As I think I mentioned previously, there’s a lot of ambiguity about Virginia‘s appearance. There are no known photos of the ship, and contemporary illustrations are very inconsistent when it comes to specific details. This is particularly true of the ironclad’s foredeck. Sources generally agree that there was a triangular bulkhead/breakwater, but it’s not entirely clear whether this had been decked over (as planned) at the time of the actions of March 8-9, 1862. Thorough-going modelers have depicted it differently; the model in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has the deck open (and displays an incorrect ensign), while another at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum shows complete decks, fore and aft. The model at the Mariner’s Museum (as well as the plans I’m working from, from the same source) show the space open. Even the same source sometimes offers differing versions — Tom Freeman, a modern artist who work I admire greatly and who puts a great deal of research into his paintings, has depicted it both decked over (left) and open.

Also not sure if the planned shutters (also shown) were ever fitted to the angled ports on either side of the bow port.

Took the covers off the boats — the latter to make for a more visually interesting feature.


6 Responses

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  1. Dick Stanley said, on September 11, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    As an old sailor (literally and figuratively) I wouldn’t want to try to work that covered foredeck in a sea. Course there’s no jib(s) to fool with, but you might need to mess with the anchor chain for some reason. Covered, it looks like an excellent way to fall overboard.

    • Andy Hall said, on September 11, 2010 at 4:33 pm

      Yes, although none of those early American ironclads could handle a running sea, as Monitor would soon prove. The British and French were building much more practical, seagoing ironclads, but because those never got used in action much we tend to overlook them. I got to visit the RN dockyard at Portsmouth a few years back, and while walking the quarterdeck of Victory was pretty cool, spending time exploring Warrior was a revelation.

  2. Dick Stanley said, on September 11, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Another thing I thought of is about the shutters. They’d definitely want them on that bow gun, to keep out the sea in a storm. Otherwise they’d be doing a lot of bailing.

  3. Tom O'Connor said, on September 16, 2010 at 3:25 pm


    Southern Heritage ≠ Confederate Jingoism

    Great Post!

    only way to find it is to subscribe to your blog by email.

    Clickking the title link or short url doesn’t work Both take me to a WordPress error page.

    i am cutting and pasting the entire article to forward it but that does you no good. also might deligitimize the post in the eyes of those who can’t get to the original post on the website.

    Sorry to mees up this thread but couldn’t find any obvious contact info on your blog page.

    Came to you through Ta-Nehisi Coates

    Got an email?

    • Andy Hall said, on September 16, 2010 at 4:27 pm

      Tom, thanks for taking time to comment. I took down my posting after reconsidering it — it drags out the discussion from yesterday on numerous blogs that resulted in some really vicious things being said (not at TNC’s place, but elsewhere) about the Murrays. Lotta collateral damage in that story.

      I still want to make the point, but need to be a little more careful in making it.

  4. Woodrowfan said, on September 27, 2010 at 12:09 am

    Fascinating post. I find the ironclads one of the more interesting parts of the War and have been interested in them ever since I saw a National Georgraphic story on the “Monitor” when I was in school.

    One small correction, you misspelled “Merrimac ” all through your post! (grin)

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