|This vessel was one of the early and heavy-duty ironclads built by the|
Confederates. Richmond class vessels and all subsequent Confederate
Vessels carried two inches of iron plating on the underside of the
"knuckle"and for several feet below the waterline. The CSS Richmond
was the prototype of the first post-Virginia class of
Confederate ironclads. She measured approx. 180 feet with a
105-foot casemate. CSS Richmondwas the first ship completed
at the Richmond yards. It was launched on May 6, 1862. This ship
was known to the Federal government as "Merrimac #2."
T. S. Seybolt, a member of the Federal Army of the
Potomac secret service corps, warned the Federal Secretary of State
that he had recieved "a very valuable piece of information" from
"a reliable source."
"It is to the effect that a second Marrimac, more formidable than the first,
has just been completed at Richmond and is daily expected by the
citizens there to come out and clear the James River. The vessel
it seems was commenced at Norfolk before the evacuation of that place,
and onhe evacuation was taken with other craft to Richmond. She is
said to be of smaller dimensions and much lighter draught than the old
Merrimac, but similar in construction and much more formidable,
Combining as she does all the improvements suggested by
experience. . . . A peculiar kind of shot have been cast expressly for
her at the Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond and as I have said is
daily expectedby the most knowing citizens there to come
out and clear the James River."
Hours later after sending the above message, Seybolt followed
it up with another report that further iltelligce indicated
that the ironclad was actually far from finished.