Wednesday, September 26, 2012
The U.S. Navy's Newest Weapon-USS New Ironsides
However, when New Ironsides arrived in Hampton Roads in mid-September 1862, a reporter for the New York Times spotted her from his position at Fort Monroe. This particular reporter and his newspaper had become somewhat notorious for reporting everything the U.S. Navy was doing in Hampton Roads (see the Port Royal Expedition). New Ironsides' arrival was no different. However, the Navy had only itself to blame as Captain Thomas Turner, New Ironsides' commanding officer, invited the reporter on board and gave him a personal tour.
The reporter wrote: "She is 240 feet in length, 56 feet width of beam, and some 17 feet out of the water. When fully armed and equipped, she draws 15 feet of water, and easily made 7 knots. The armament of the Ironsides is terrific. Besides sixteen XI-inch guns, she carries two enormous 200-pounders, that must crush to pieces anything made with human hands."
Several of the Confederacy's leading dailies such as the Charleston Mercury reprinted the New York Times' article. The ship remained in Hampton Roads for a few more days to guard against a rumored "Merrimack 2." She then proceed south to join the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.