Richmond Ironclads at Trent's Reach, Slideshow, DHR

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Richmond Ironclads at Trent's Reach

Photograph

Detail from Library of Congress photo: LC-DIG-cwpb-02491 

Smokestack, CSS Virginia II,

Richmond, 1865


The Confederate Navy tried again on the next high tide, the night of January 24, but found a spotlight supporting the U.S. guns. Blinded by the light, a steam leak, and smoke gushing from these holes in the Virginia II's smokestack, they cancelled “the enterprise.”

In hindsight, calling back the Fredericksburg to assist her sister ships after she had breached the gap proved a fateful decision. She had nothing in front of her
—except an open river and the Onondaga stuck on a mudflat.

Gen. Grant later wrote that the attack was "providentially prevented from proving fatal." Exhibiting bloodless calculation, he said, "It would have been better to obstruct the channel of the river with sunken gunboats than that a rebel ram should reach City Point."




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