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[320] struck her. She carried two 7-inch rifled pivot guns, one at bow and the other aft, and eight 9-inch Dahlgren guns, four on each side. Two of the latter were disabled March 8th, and they were replaced by two 6-inch rifled guns.

The hopes that the Virginia inspired in the South and the fears that she excited in the North are now but a memory, and it really appears that after forty-four years have passed, the time has arrived when her true history should be known to all the people instead of to a portion only, as at present. The War Records, which have been so freely used in the preparation of this article, afford the material for such a history.

Mr. Fiveash says:

The work of transforming the Merrimac into an ironclad was all performed while the vessel was in the dry dock, and when the time came to let water into the dock and float her, by direction of the Confederate Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Mallory, she was named Virginia.

On Saturday, March 8, 1862, under the command of Flag Officer Franklin Buchanan, she started for Hampton Roads on her trial trip, and before night she had revolutionized naval warfare and ushered in the era of ironclads. Her passage through the harbor and down to the Roads was witnessed by thousands of citizens and soldiers, and when, after dark, she turned to the neighborhood of Sewell's Point and transferred to one of the small gunboats two of her crew who had been killed and three officers and five of the crew who had been wounded, the frigate Cumberland had been destroyed, the Congress had been set on fire after surrendering, the Minnesota had been injured and was aground, and the St. Lawrence and Roanoke had returned to the protection of the guns of Fortress Monroe. The terrible news had caused a panic throughout the North that was distressing, indeed; but while matters at that time appeared very critical, the official records show that the Virginia was not then capable of doing a fraction of the damage credited to her. She drew twenty-two feet of water. was incapable of going to sea in her then condition, and was lacking in protection for eight of her ten guns.

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