Raising of the Merrimack (May 1861)


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Posted by Mabry Tyson on May 07, 2006 at 20:54:48:

In Reply to: C.S.S. Virginia: Mistress of Hampton Roads - John V. Quarstein posted by Mabry Tyson on February 28, 2003 at 22:08:17:

The top of page 23 deals with the raising of the Merrimack. The reference (ORN 2, 2:78) on that paragraph does not include all the details of this paragraph.

J.W.H.Porter's book on Norfolk County reports the May 30th date, but does not seem to report on the May 18 date or on Forrest's concerns. Flanders' "The Merrimac" indicates this comes from the Forrest Letterbook.

I've seen the name of the Wrecking Company as "B&I Baker" (p 22), "B&L Baker" (p 356), "B&J Baker" (Flanders, p27)

The sequence seems to be
April 20: scuttled
April 21(pre-dawn): burned
May 6: Brooke to Mallory letter regarding purchasing ironclad ships (Brooke, Ironclads & Big Guns, p 16)
May 11: The Governor's Advisory Council unanimously advices Lechter to raise the Merrimack & to accept the $5000 contract of B&I Baker. (Williams, Matthew Fontaine Maury Scientist of the Sea) Perhaps this was with the intent of ironplating her.
May 18: Forrest issues contract.
May 30: Merrimack is raised and put in drydock.
Jun 7: Brooke is doing calculations on floating batteries for Mallory (Brooke, p18)
Jun 22: Porter & Williamson & Brooke meet. Porter only knew of this on the 22nd but brought his ironclad model with him(Porter,p330) (dates from Brooke,p22). Discussions included building a news ship or using the Merrimack (Porter p331-332)
Jun 24: The 3 reported to Mallory (Brooke,p24), making the recommendation to use the Merrimack.




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