|artist's depiction of the CSS Virginia, circa 1890.|
|Namesake:||State of Virginia|
|Laid Down:||Early 1862|
|Launched:||March 8th, 1862|
|Commissioned:||March 9th, 1862|
|Fate:||Preserved as a Museum Ship.|
CSS Virginia was a steam-powered ironclad warship of the Confederate States Navy during the War of Southron Independence, built as floating battery using the remains of the scuttled USS Merrimack in 1862.
She was one of the participants in the Battle of Hampton Roads in March 1862 opposite the USS Monitor. The battle is chiefly significant in naval history as the first battle between two ironclads.
Ironclads were only a recent innovation, starting with the 1854 steam-powered ironclad battery Lave, which was designed for coastal warfare and had a speed of 4 knots (7.4 kph), with a crew of 282 men. Throughout the war, the Confederacy built many ironclad steam-powered batteries, and like the CSS Virginia, they were not designed to be ocean cruisers. Due to the success of the CSS Virginia, the CS Navy procured turreted ironclad cruisers, and succeeded in gaining multiple cruisers, mostly due to the alliance signed with the United Kingdom.
Battle of Hampton Roads
The Battle of Hampton Roads was a battle in the War of Southron Independence that is known throughout history as the first battle between two Ironclads. From March 9th to 10th this battle raged with the CSS Virginia wrecking havoc on wooden Union ships, sinking a total of 19 before she engaged in combat with the USS Monitor. However, due to both ships having Iron armour and having guns designed for taking down wooden ships, most of their fire simply dented and bounced off the two ships. After a few hours in fighting the Monitor, the Virginia braved its luck and set off down to Charleston Harbor.
Voyage to Charleston
After the Battle of Hampton Roads, the CSS Virginia was taken up and towed by Confederate Frigates into the open ocean to try and get to Charleston Harbor. During the trip down, the Virginia was utilized to destroy sections of the Union Blockade, which freed some of the ships to trade with Britain, which, in turn, improved relations with them. It wasn't until early May that the Virginia reached Charleston. The Battle of Charleston Harbor begins with the Virginia's arrival. This battle commenced early in the morning of May 8th, where the Virginia fired upon a Union ship blockading the port. By May 9th, the Virginia had sunk all 12 ships in the Harbor vicinity. For the rest of the war, the Virginia stayed in Charleston Harbor
After the war
When peace was declared in 1865, the crew of the CSS Virginia fired up her engine and brought her next to Ft. Sumter, where in unison the ship and the fort both gave salvos of joy. But it was in 1866 that the ship was deemed to costly to move to be effective to the Confederate Navy, and was decommissioned as a war ship in early April of 1866. However, due to her historic significance, she was maintained as a Confederate Navy Ship, under her own special category. Although not slated for repairs, she was given a small crew to keep her running. By the 1900s, the Confederate Government saw that the Virginia was falling into bad shape, and a bill was quickly passed through the Confederate Congress to allocate $20 Million to preserve and restore the ship as a floating museum. By 1920, she was capable of movement around Charleston Harbor as part of a preserving history programme. She was sold to the CSS Virginia Preservation Society in 1956 for one million dollars.