THIS DAY IN VIRGINIA HISTORY
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May 11, 1862
The Merrimack (CSS Virginia) Was Destroyed
When the United States Navy evacuated Norfolk in 1861, officers burned the USS Merrimack
to prevent Virginia's secessionists from seizing it. The Confederate States Navy salvaged the hull and rebuilt it as an ironclad ship, rechristening it the CSS Virginia
although in practice it was often still referred to as the Merrimack
. The CSS Virginia
and the USS Monitor
engaged in the famous first battle between ironclad ships in Hampton Roads on March 9, 1862. U.S. troops retook Norfolk on May 10, 1862, and a day later, retreating Confederate sailors blew up the CSS Virginia
at Craney Island.