Battle of Hampton Roads Connections

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Twenty members of the CSS Virginia’s crew volunteered for duty in northeastern North Carolina, joining Flag Officer William F. Lynch’s “mosquito fleet” on 29 January 1862. After the destruction of the fleet at Elizabeth City on 10 February 1862, Lt. William Harwar Parker (commander of the Beaufort) collected the surviving sailors of the Beaufort, Fanny, Forrest, Seabird, and Ellis, knowing crewmen were needed to man the ironclad Virginia in Norfolk. He marched the approximately 150 sailors to Suffolk; there they caught transportation on the railway cars to Norfolk.  Many of these men were reassigned to the Virginia, Beaufort, and Raleigh.


The CSS Raleigh, part of the “mosquito fleet”, was in Norfolk awaiting ammunition for the fleet when the battle at Elizabeth City occurred. The CSS Beaufort escaped destruction at Elizabeth City because her crew was ordered ashore to man the guns at Fort Cobb just before the battle began.  Lt. Parker sent the Beaufort up the Dismal Swamp Canal to prevent her capture. The Beaufort and the Raleigh accompanied the Virginia as tenders during the Battle of Hampton Roads in March of 1862.


For more information on the battle of Hampton Roads, click here.