CSS Patrick Henry

CSS Patrick Henry

Laid down:
Launched: 1853 as yorktown
Commissioned: 17 April 1861
Fate: burned to prevent capture 3 April 1865

General Characteristics
Type: Brigantine-rigged Side-wheel Steamer
Area of Operation: James River
Displacement: 1300 tons
Length: 250 ft (76 m)
Beam: 34 ft (10 m)
Draft: 13 ft (4.0 m)
Complement: 150 officers and men
1 x 10 inch (254 mm) smooth-bore
1 x 64 pounder (29 kg)
6 x 8 inch (203 mm) guns
2 x 32 pounder (15 kg) rifles


Still commonly referred to as Yorktown, she was assigned to a position near Mulberry Island in the James to protect the right flank of the Confederate Peninsula Army.

On 13 September 1861 and again on 2 December, Commander Tucker took Patrick Henry down the river to a point about a mile and a half above Newport News, Virginia, and opened fire on the Federal squadron at long range hoping to draw out some of the gunboats. The gambit was refused, but Tucker inflicted some minor damage.

During the Battle of Hampton Roads on 8 March 1862 in which Virginia destroyed the Federal warships USS Cumberland and USS Congress, Patrick Henry attempted to take the latter’s surrender but was fired upon by shore batteries, and took a shell in her steam chest which killed four men. Towed out of action long enough to make repairs, she soon resumed her former position.

During the historic 9 March 1862 action between Virginia and USS Monitor, Patrick Henry fired long range at Monitor. The Confederate Congress later accorded special thanks to all officers and men for their gallant conduct during the two-day battle.

A sketch of the CSS Patrick Henry signed by Midshipman J.Thomas Scharf.Patrick Henry was also present during some of Virginia’s other actions and, in a daring night operation on 5 May 1862, helped remove Confederate property from the Norfolk Navy Yard before it was abandoned to the Federals.

After the surrender of Norfolk, Virginia on 10 May 1862, the James River Squadron, including Patrick Henry, retired up the river to Drewry’s Bluff where pursuing Federal ships were repulsed on 15 May.

Patrick Henry was designated an academy ship in May 1862 and underwent appropriate alterations to this end. In October 1863, Patrick Henry housed the floating Confederate States Naval Academy at Drewry’s Bluff, where instruction for 52 midshipmen began under the superintendency of Lieutenant William Harwar Parker. Numbers later increased to sixty, with thirteen teachers in attendance. Sometimes she took part in action with the midshipmen on board.

When Richmond was evacuated on 3 April 1865, Patrick Henry was burned to prevent capture. Her cadets were charged with the delivery of a treasury of some CS$500,000 to the new government seat of Danville, Virginia. Each was rewarded with $40 in gold.

List of Commanders/Crew
Captain John Randolph Tucker (1861-June 1862)
Lieutenant William Harwar Parker (1863-end of war)

3.Photo (just provide a link to the photo and we will get it)

4.Painting Information

5.Books/Articles and other resources

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