Destruction of Merrimac

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“Destruction of the Confederate ironclad steamer Merrimac, blown up by its commander, on the morning of May 11th, 1862. The abandonment of Norfolk compelled the evacuation of the Confederate positions at Sewell’s Point and at Crany Island, and on May 11th, 1862, the Merrimac was blown up to prevent her falling into the hands of the Federals. The Federal officers who witnessed the burning and blowing up of the Merrimac described the scene as one of the grandest imaginable. For nearly an hour before the explosion the roof was red hot, and at short intervals the guns would discharge themselves, solemnly breking in upon the stillness of the night. Just at the first dawn of daylight the whole black mass heaved upward, then came the report, so terrific as to shake houses at a distance of eight miles. With a flash, an unearthly hissing sound, and the great monster, the Merrimac, ceased to exist.” —Leslie, 1896


Frank Leslie Famous Leaders and Battle Scenes of the Civil War (New York, NY: Mrs. Frank Leslie, 1896)


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