C.S.S. Virginia

...... Memorial to the crew

Memorial to the Crew of the CSS Virginia Cedar Grove Cemetery, Portsmouth, Virginia Erected by Stonewall Camp #380, SCV



Crew Composition

There were plenty of officers to man the Virginia. Manning the crew was another matter. The South had no merchant marine and few U.S. Navy sailors were in the South at the time of the secession.

From a New Orleans regiment of Gen. Magruder's army at Yorktown, Lt. Wood selected 80 sailors from 200 volunteers who had seen service on ships that visited New Orleans. There were a few seamen who had escaped from the Confederate flotilla in Pamlico Sound at the fall of Roanoke Island. Another 120 volunteers came from the Army batteries in the Tidewater region. Foreign citizens were also employed.

The crew of about 300 was "as gallant and trusty a body of men as any one could wish to command, not only in battle, but in reverse and retreat." [Wood]

On the Virginia two (or perhaps three) were killed (by the Cumberland) and eight or nineteen wounded on March 8, 1862 (eight per Jones in his report to the Confederate Congress March 10, 1862; nineteen per Jones, in 1874 quoting "the official"). Among the wounded were Captain Buchanan and Lt. Minor. None were killed or wounded during the battle with the U.S.S. Monitor

Crew Members

The C.S.S. Virginia was designed to have a crew of over 300. The Virginia's surgeon, Dinwiddie Phillips indicates that "Most of our crew being volunteers from the army and unused to ship-life, about twenty per cent of our men were usually ashore at the hospital, and our effective force on the 8th of March was about 250 or 260 men."

The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navy gives the muster roll, including marines, but it doesn't seem to list all that were on board.

See these pages for the crew members and details about them:

Officers and other notable crew:


1 Smith also lists Bennett W. Green as an assistant surgeon. The Muster Roll also lists James E. Lindsay as an assistant surgeon.

CSS Virginia
Copyright 1997-2004 by Mabry Tyson