150 years ago today, a strange looking vessel steamed out of the harbor at Norfolk, Virginia. It was the CSS Virginia, an ironclad with sloping sides, built over the burnt hull of the Merrimack (or Merrimac).
Thus began a famous naval battle of the Civil War, highlighted by the sinking of the USS Cumberland. The Cumberland went down bow-first after being rammed by the Virginia's 1500 pound ram.
On the second day of the battle, the two famous ironclads, USS Monitor and CSS Virginia, clashed with each other. They shot at each other at close range in the waterway near Newport News called Hampton Roads.
My original paintings of the ironclad cutaways above and the sinking of the Cumberland are all currently on view at the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News. The museum is hosting sesquicentennial events tomorrow from 10:00 to 4:00.
You can read on this blog about the making of the Cumberland painting:
Sinking of the Cumberland, Part 1A: The Backstory
Sinking of the Cumberland, Part 1B: The Research
Sinking of the Cumberland, Part 2: Choosing the Scene
Sinking of the Cumberland, Part 3: Acting it Out
Sinking of the Cumberland, Part 4: Final Art