Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Aye Candy: C.S.S. Virginia

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on March 22, 2013

Updated renders of C.S.S. Virginia (formerly U.S.S. Merrimack), showing revisions done last year for an illustration in the Civil War Monitor magazine. Special thanks to Anna Holloway of the Mariners Museum for providing guidance on the model. Full-sized renders on Flickr.



17 Responses

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  1. Cotton Boll Conspiracy said, on March 22, 2013 at 7:47 am

    I really like the insertion of the school bus next to the ship. It gives an much better understanding of latter’s size, which is something that, in hindsight, I don’t think I ever had a full comprehension of before. Perspective is so important – I can better understand why the Virginia struck fear into the Union navy.

    • Andy Hall said, on March 22, 2013 at 11:21 am

      Thanks. I routinely drop in human figures to give a direct since of scale, but that doesn’t work so well with very large things. I modeled the bus several years ago when doing similar work for a non-profit that did educational programs with K-12 educators and students. For that audience, or the general public, a school bus is an easy and familiar frame of reference.

  2. Bummer said, on March 22, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Bigger and slower, but better armor than the “Brownwater Navy” of this “old guy’s” war.


  3. Patrick Browne said, on March 22, 2013 at 8:35 am

    So very cool! I love the school bus for comparison. I don’t think I realized she was that big!
    Thanks for posting these.

  4. Robert Maresz said, on March 22, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Yes, the size is a real shock! i’d really like to see cut-away views of the interior…….or……or….a full size model that we could all walk though!………well, maybe the cut-away views would be a little easier. Thank you for these..

    • Andy Hall said, on March 22, 2013 at 9:41 am

      I haven’t done many interior views (in part because that information is harder to come by), but here’s one that might be useful, originally commissioned for National Geographic:

      This comparison of the CSS Virginia and USS Monitor (in the foreground) shows the significant size differential between these two famous combatants. Where the Virginia was built on the hull of the Merrimack, the USS Monitor was built from the keel up. © James Gurney (

    • Billy Bearden said, on March 25, 2013 at 9:35 am

      Watch the movie “Sahara” and the depiction of the CSS Texas bookending the show

      • Andy Hall said, on March 25, 2013 at 9:37 am

        I’ll look for that, thanks. I might do some digital work on C.S.S. Texas if I can pull together the source material.

  5. Dave Tatum said, on March 23, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Good job !

  6. jfepperson said, on March 24, 2013 at 10:49 am

    I love these ship models! Keep ’em coming!

  7. Woodrowfan said, on March 24, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Love it!

  8. Robert Maresz said, on March 25, 2013 at 9:08 am

    In zooming-in on the Monitor cut away, I see that Mr. Gurney has included a recreation of the famous cook-stove photograph. Nice touch.!

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