Richard J. LeFevre (1931 - 2000)
watercolor and mixed media on paper
The Battle of Hampton Roads, on March 8 and 9, 1862, is often referred to as the Battle of the Ironclads. The USS Merrimack was captured by the Confederates, converted to an ironclad, and renamed the CSS Virginia (shown on the left, belching smoke) under the command of Capt. Franklin Buchanan (shown, lower left). The right side of the painting features the USS Minnesota, a tall-mast ship, and in front of the Minnesota is what appears to be a raft with a tuna-fish can on it. This is actually the USS Monitor, a very small ironclad with only one gun that was under the leadership of Lt. John L. Worden (at upper left). John Ericsson (shown in the center of the piece with his arms folded) designed the USS Monitor. The CSS Virginia sailed down Chesapeake Bay on March 8, and opened fired on the U.S. blockade ships Cumberland and Congress (seen burning on the left) which were totally defenseless against the ironclad ship. The Minnesota (shown on the right) ran aground, but it was too late in the day and the tide was going out, so the Virginia retreated up the Chesapeake. The following day, March 9, when the Virginia returned, she found the Monitor waiting for her, protecting the Minnesota. The battle went on for about six hours, and the outcome was technically a draw since neither ship was destroyed. However, since the Monitor succeeded in protecting the Minnesota, and the Virginia did not succeed in her mission to destroy the U.S. blockade fleet, this encounter would have to be called a Union victory.
Bequest of the Artist
Richard J. LeFevre (1931 - 2000), “Hampton Roads,” Ewing Gallery Permanent Collection, accessed May 29, 2023, https://ewinggallery.omeka.net/items/show/202.