Rare Civil War Era Antique Bronze Scrimshaw Bone Sculpture Relic Uss Merrimac
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Rare Civil War Era Antique Bronze Scrimshaw Bone Sculpture Relic Uss Merrimac:
this sale is for a rare Civil war era antique bronze and scrimshaw bone sculpture relic commemorating one of three possible ships (listed below) including the Confederate Ironclad CSS Virginia ex- USS Merrimac(k). This unusual momento features a finely detailed sailor holding what appears to be a spyglass seated on a section of ox bone or antique ivory into which has been carved the words “The Last of the Merrimac” with leaf flourishes. All three of these ships met an unfortunate end and are therefor likely contenders for this souvenir - take your pick.
1. USS Merrimack (often times spelled without the “k”) was a frigate and the first ironclad ship in history, and is best known known as the hull upon which the ironclad warship, CSS Virginia was constructed during the American Civil War. The CSS Virginia then took part in the Battle of Hampton Roads (also known as “the Battle of the Monitor and the Merrimack”) in the first engagement between ironclad warships. The Merrimack was the first of six screw frigates (frigates with steam power) begun in 1854. Like others of her class (Wabash, Roanoke, Niagara, Minnesota and Colorado), she was named after a river. In Massachusetts, the Merrimack River flows through the town of Merrimac, often considered an older spelling which has sometimes caused confusion of the name.
2. USS Merrimac was a sidewheel steamer first used in the Confederate States Navy that was captured and used in the United States Navy during the American Civil War.
Merrimac was purchased in England for the Confederate government in 1862. After a successful career as a blockade runner, she was captured by USS Iroquois off the coast of Cape Fear River, North Carolina, 24 July 1863. Purchased by the Navy from New York Prize Court 10 March 1864, Merrimac commissioned at New York 1 May 1864, Acting Master William P. Rogers in command.
After joining the East Gulf Blockading Squadron in June 1864, she was ordered to cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. She captured Cuban sloop Henretta sailing from Bayport, Florida, with cotton for Havana. However, late in July yellow fever broke out among Merrimac’s crew and she sailed north to allow her crew to recover. Upon arriving New York she debarked her sick sailors at quarantine, and got underway for a cruise in the northwest Atlantic as far as St. John’s Newfoundland.
Early in 1865 Merrimac was reassigned to the East Gulf Blockading Squadron. She got underway for the gulf early in February, but encountered extremely bad weather which forced her to stop at Beaufort, North Carolina, on the 7th and at Charleston, South Carolina on the 12th. Underway for Key West the next day, Merrimac ran into still worse weather which she fought until turning north on the 14th to seek the first port. On the afternoon of 15 February 1865, Acting Master William Earle ordered the crew to abandon ship after its tiller had broken, two boilers given out and the pumps failed to slow the rising water. That night, when the crew had been rescued by mail steamer Morning Star, Merrimac was settling rapidly as she disappeared from sight. However, according to the Department Of The Navy - Naval Historical Center, the ship sank on January 15, 1865.
3. USS Merrimac was a steamship in the United States Navy during the Spanish-American War.
Merrimac was built by Swan & Hunter shipyard as SS Solveig in Wallsend, England, in November 1894. She was purchased by the US Navy in April 1898. Rear Admiral William T. Sampson ordered her to be sunk as a blockship at the entrance of Santiago Harbor, Cuba, in an attempt to trap the Spanish fleet in the harbor. On the night of 2–3 June 1898, eight volunteers attempted to execute this mission, but Merrimac’s steering gear was disabled by the fire of Spanish land-based howitzers. The American steamer was later sunk by the combined gunfire and the torpedoes of the protected cruiser Vizcaya, the unprotected cruiser Reina Mercedes, and the destroyer Pluton without obstructing the harbor entrance. Her crewmen were rescued by the Spanish and made prisoners-of-war. After the Battle of Santiago de Cuba destroyed the Spanish fleet a month later, the men were released. All eight were awarded Medals of Honor for their part in the mission.
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