The Ironclad Ram Virginia. 243
[From the Richmond, Va., News-Leader, April ), 1904.]
THE IRONCLAD RAM VIRGINIA CONFEDERATE STATES NAVY,
And Her Memorable Engagements of March 8 and 9, 1862.
STORY OF HER LAUNCHING AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS. By WM. R. CLINE, One of Her Crew.
NEWPORT NEWS, VA., April i, 1904.
The great celebration which Virginians are arranging for Tuesday next, 5th, the day set for the launching of the magnificent first- class battleship Virginia at the local shipyard, is largely due to the fact that they look upon the new fighter as the namesake of the formidable Confederate ironclad Virginia (Aferrimac) t which, with Ericsson's Monitor taught the world how warfare on the sea should be carried on.
The new Virginias launching announcement caused the people of this section particularly to remember this week that the first fight between iron-clads took place just forty-two years ago.
William R. Cline, an employee of the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, was a member of the crew of the old Vir- ginia, and seen at one of his haunts on the anniversary of the battle, he made the following interesting statement, which contains some facts which have probably never found their way in print before:
" Much has been said and written about the great naval battle in Hampton Roads on March 8 and 9, 1862, between the Confed- erate iron-clad ram Virginia and the Federal fleet then stationed in these waters. History, in all cases that I have heard of, refers to the" ship as the Merrimac, but I want to say right here that there never was a vessel in the Confederate States navy called by that name. The Merrimac was a United States frigate, burned, scuttled and sunk at Gosport navyyard in 1861. The old hulk was raised, rebuilt and converted into an ironclad, and when she was launched there were only four marines and a corporal aboard. I was one of the five who did duty that day, and was stationed in the bow when