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  • Wet behind the ears?

    A simple naval question...

    If the Monitor had capsized and sank on her way to fight the Viginia/Merrimack rather than later in the war, what strategic implications (if any) would it have had in the war?

    Gaz

  • #2
    Originally posted by allsirgarnet View Post
    A simple naval question...

    If the Monitor had capsized and sank on her way to fight the Viginia/Merrimack rather than later in the war, what strategic implications (if any) would it have had in the war?

    Gaz
    The CSS Virginia would have undoubtedly sunk a much larger number of Union Warships at Hampton Roads, the USS Congress and Minnesota come immediately to mind. Hampton Roads would have become untenable as a major Union warship anchorage while the Virginia was on the loose. In the end though, it was a moot point because McClellen's advance up the James River spelled her doom. She drew too much water to get very far up the river and she had too little freeboard to make a run into the Atlantic to a safer Southern port. She would have been scuttled in any event.
    "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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    • #3
      Originally posted by johnbryan View Post
      The CSS Virginia would have undoubtedly sunk a much larger number of Union Warships at Hampton Roads, the USS Congress and Minnesota come immediately to mind. Hampton Roads would have become untenable as a major Union warship anchorage while the Virginia was on the loose. In the end though, it was a moot point because McClellen's advance up the James River spelled her doom. She drew too much water to get very far up the river and she had too little freeboard to make a run into the Atlantic to a safer Southern port. She would have been scuttled in any event.
      Questions regarding your excellent comments...

      IF events went as above and any naval 'advantage' gained had been deemed significant by the Confederate High Command, would they then have abandoned Norfolk without a fight?

      If Norfolk is held, then the Virginia is still a viable and effective asset?

      What was the timeline in all this?

      Would McClellen's advance have been feasable with an unopposed Virginia on the loose disrupting his supplies... if not preventing his arrival to begin with?

      Gaz

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      • #4
        The Union Fleet would have remained in place only having retired to the east of Ft Monroe. This would have meant that Virginia would have first had to run under the guns of Fortress Monroe to get to the Union Blockade. At this point the channel was/is very narrow due to Willoughby Point and the shallows of the Rip Raps. Early loss of Monitor would have made little difference to the blockade and even less to the total war. It was only the first not the last ship of this basic design. As usual GAZ, imho

        HP
        "Ask not what your country can do for you"

        Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

        you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by allsirgarnet View Post
          Questions regarding your excellent comments...

          IF events went as above and any naval 'advantage' gained had been deemed significant by the Confederate High Command, would they then have abandoned Norfolk without a fight?

          If Norfolk is held, then the Virginia is still a viable and effective asset?

          What was the timeline in all this?

          Would McClellen's advance have been feasable with an unopposed Virginia on the loose disrupting his supplies... if not preventing his arrival to begin with?

          Gaz
          I believe that Norfolk and the Gosport Navy Yard, the place where the USS Merrimac was converted into the CSS Virginia ironclad would have fallen in any event, given its location. McClellan's Peninsular Campaign in early 1862 wasn't hindered by the existance of the Virginia on the James River and his snail-like advance up the James was the reason that the Virginia was finally scuttled by the Confederates.
          "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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