Online Library of Selected Images:
-- U.S. NAVY SHIPS

USS Merrimack (1856-1861)

USS Merrimack, a 4636-ton steam frigate, was built at the Boston Navy Yard. Commissioned in February 1856, she made her initial deployment to European waters, visiting ports in England, France and Portugal before returning to the U.S. in early 1857. Following repairs, in October 1857 Merrimack was sent around South America to become flagship of the Pacific Squadron, a role she played until November 1859. Completing this cruise at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Virginia, the frigate decommissioned in February 1860.

Merrimack was still there, receiving repairs to her troublesome machinery, when the state of Virginia seceeded from the Union in mid-April 1861. In an effort to make her unusable to the southern cause, Federal forces burned and sank Merrimack as they withdrew from the Norfolk Navy Yard on 20 April 1861. The Confederates subsequently salvaged the ship and converted her to an armored casemate ironclad. Commissioned as CSS Virginia in February 1862, the following month she made history in combat against Union warships in the Hampton Roads area.

This page features all the views we have related to USS Merrimack, which later became CSS Virginia.

NOTE: Before, during and after the Civil War, Merrimack's name was often incorrectly spelled "Merrimac". She should not be confused with the Civil War's actual USS Merrimac, which served in 1864-65.

For views of this ship after she was taken over by the Confederates, see:
CSS Virginia (1862-1862).

Click photograph for larger image.

Photo #: NH 46247

USS Merrimack (1856-1861)


Drawing by G.G. Pook.

Collection of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, April 1936.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 97KB; 740 x 540 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 46248

USS Merrimack (1856-1861)


Engraving by L.H. Bradford & Co., after a drawing by G.G. Pook.

Courtesy Charles Moran, January 1935.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 105KB; 740 x 570 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 57512

USS Merrimack (1856-1861)


Wash drawing by Clary Ray, 1896.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 76KB; 740 x 535 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 46250

USS Merrimack (1856-1861)


Halftone reproduction of a lithograph made in London on the occasion of the ship's visit to Southampton, England, in 1856. It was published in Frank M. Bennett's book "The Steam Navy of the United States". When photographed for that publication the original lithograph was owned by Charles Schroeder, of Portsmouth, Virginia, who was a Third Assistant Engineer on Merrimack in 1856.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 124KB; 740 x 485 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 116

"Port of Realejo -- 1859"


Lithograph by Vincent Brooks after a drawing by Sir William G. Ouseley, published in Commander Bedford Pim, RN: "The Gate of the Pacific", London, 1863 (page 133). It depicts a harbor scene at Realejo, a 19th century port on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, about 20 miles northwest of Leon. The large ship in the center is USS Merrimack, flagship of the Pacific Squadron.
The original is a color print in a book held by the Navy Department Library.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 160KB; 740 x 515 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 59566

"Frigate Merrimac"


Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 1861, as part of the larger print seen in Photo # NH 59236. It depicts USS Merrimack (incorrectly spelled "Merrimac") under repair at the Norfolk Navy Yard, circa early 1861. She was burned when Federal forces abandoned and destroyed the yard on 20 April 1861.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 198KB; 740 x 615 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 58880

"'Merrimac' Destroyed at the Burning of the Norfolk Navy Yard, April 19, 1861."


Halftone reproduction, copyrighted in 1906 by G.S. Richardson, depicting the USS Merrimack aflame during the burning of the Norfolk Navy Yard, 20 April 1861.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 146KB; 740 x 645 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 59179

"Destruction of the United States Navy-Yard at Norfolk, Virginia, by Fire, by the United States Troops, on April 20, 1861"


Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 1861, providing two scenes of the burning of Norfolk Navy Yard and the destruction of ships located there.
Ships shown in the lower scene (as identified below the print), from left to right: USS United States (afire); tug Yankee with USS Cumberland (underway, leaving the area); USS Merrimack (afire in left center distance); USS Pawnee (underway, leaving the area), and USS Pennsylvania (afire).

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 138KB; 740 x 530 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 86347-KN (Color)

USS Merrimack (1856-1861)

Line engraving by Warren, after a drawing by John Andrew, published in a contemporary illustrated magazine. It depicts the launch of USS Merrimack (incorrectly spelled "Merrimac" on the print) at the Boston Navy Yard, Charlestown, Massachusetts, on 15 June 1855.

Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 142KB; 740 x 555 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 80855

United States' Centennial Exhibition, Fairmont Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1876


Photograph by Edward L. Wilson and W. Irving Adams, showing part of the U.S. Navy's exhibit at the exhibition, featuring a U.S. flag; Charles O. Cole's portrait of Dick Libby (see Photo # KN-582); models of drydocks, with a monitor in the one at left; heavy iron bars bent by the Boston Navy Yard's bending mill; and a monument made of wood from ships lost in the Norfolk-Hampton Roads area during the Civil War, including (from top to bottom): CSS Florida, USS Cumberland, USS Merrimack, USS Delaware, USS Columbia, USS Columbus, USS Pennsylvania, USS United States and USS Raritan.

Copied from the book "Photographic Views of the Naval Department of the United States, International Centennial Exhibition of 1876", held by the Navy Department Library in 1974.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 137KB; 660 x 675 pixels

 




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