Merrimac, a 684-ton iron side-wheel steamship built in England, was employed as a Confederate Government blockade runner in 1862-63. Following sale to private interests, she was captured by USS Iroquois off Cape Fear, North Carolina, on 24 July 1863. The U.S. Navy purchased the steamer from the New York Prize Court in March 1864, converted her to a gunboat and commissioned her as USS Merrimac in May 1864. Assigned to the East Gulf Blockading Squadron, she captured a sailing blockade runner in July, but later in the month had to be sent north when members of her crew developed yellow fever. Merrimac served along the northern U.S. and Canadian coasts for the rest of the year. While en route to the Gulf of Mexico in January 1865, the gunboat encountered heavy weather that twice forced her into port. Back at sea on 15 January, USS Merrimac was overcome by the stormy seas and sank after her crew had been rescued by another ship.
This page features our only view of USS Merrimac (1864-1865).
NOTE: This ship should not be confused with USS Merrimack (1856-1861), the steam frigate that later became the Confederate ironclad Virginia.
|If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."|
Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.
Photo #: NH 46242
USS Merrimac (1864-1865)
Photographed in northeastern U.S. or Canadian waters, circa the summer of 1864.
Courtesy of Mrs. A. Hopkins, 1927.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 99KB; 600 x 765 pixels
Page made 3 May 2001