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Admiral David D. Porter, The Naval History of the Civil War., Chapter 2: bombardment and fall of Fort Sumter.--destruction of the Norfolk Navy Yard by the Federal officers. (search)
at anchor to receive on board those who were to fire the public property. Commodore McCauley had gone to bed that night worn out with excitement and anxiety, under the impression that the force that had arrived at Norfolk was for the purpose of holding the yard and relieving him of responsibility, and when he was called at midnight and informed that the torch would be applied to everything, he could hardly The burning of the Norfolk Navy Yard, the frigate Merrimac, and other vessels, April 21, 1861. realize the situation, and was chagrined and mortified at the idea of abandoning his post without any attempt to defend it. At 2:30 A. M., April 21st, a rocket from the Pawnee gave the signal; the work of destruction commenced with the Merrimac, and in ten minutes she was one vast sheet of flame. In quick succession the trains to the other ships and buildings were ignited and the surrounding country brilliantly illuminated. The inhabitants of Norfolk and Portsmouth, roused from