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1861: Rebel account of the Destruction of the Norfolk Navy Yard.

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I found this little gem in the stacks. I'm sure many have read it, but its new to me. Makes me want to cry ...


Confederate reports and correspondence relative Jo the destruction and
abandonment of Norfolk navy yard.


NORFOLK, April22, 1861.
North left for Charleston to-day; I answer your dispatch. The Penn-
sylcania, Merrimack, Germantown, Raritan, Columbia, and Dolphin are
burned to the waters edge and sunk. The Delaware, Columbus, and
Plymouth are sunk. All can be raised; the Plymouth easily; not
much injured. The Germantown crushed and sunk by the falling of
shears. Her battery, new and complete, uninjured by fire; can be
recovered. The most abominable vandalism at the yard. Destruction
less than might be expected. The two lower ship houses burned, with
the New York, line of battle ship, on the stocks. Also the rigging loft,
sail loft, and gun-carriage depot, with all the pivot gun carriages and
many others. No other buildings burned. The metal work of the car-
riages will be recovered; most of it good. About 4,000 shells thrown
overboard; can be recovered. The Germantowns battery will be up
and ready for service to-morrow. In ordnance building all small arms
broken and thrown overboard will be fished up. The brass howitzers
thrown overboard are up. The Merrimack has 2,200 10-pound cartridges
in her magazine in water-tight tanks. The flag of Virginia floats over
the yard. Only eight guns, 32-pounders, destroyed; about 1,000 or more
from 11-inch to 32-pounders taken, and ready for our cause. Many of
them are ready in batteries. We saved about 130 gun carriages; all
saved at St. Helena [Va.]. Many thousands of shells and shot, from
11-inch to 32-pounders, safe. All the machinery uninjured. Magazine
captured, with 2,000 barrels of powder and vast numbers of shells and
quantities of fixed ammunition. An attempt made to blow up the dry
dock failed. Everything broken that they could break. Private trunks
broken open and officers clothing and that of their wives stolen.
Glorious news! General Gwynn just read me a telegram; it comes
from a reliable source; the New York Regiment, attempting to march
through Maryland, was met half waybetween Marlborough and Annapo-
lis and cut all to pieces.
Secretary of the Navy."

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  • 2 months later...

Just caught this one.  Very nice! I'm really curious what conditions some of these ships were in.  To my knowledge Germantown was essentially ready to go just needed a crew and was burned unnecessarily.  Either that or McAuley panicked as I know the experience traumatized him the rest of his days.  I can imagine the Raritan and Merrimack were in decent shape as well. 

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