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CSS Patrick Henry, a 1300-ton side-wheel gunboat, was built in New York City in 1853 as the civilian steamer Yorktown. In mid-April 1861, she was seized by the State of Virginia and was later turned over to the Confederate Government. Renamed Patrick Henry (though still commonly referred to as Yorktown), she was converted to a warship and attached to the James River Squadron under Commander John Randolph Tucker. In September and December 1861, she took part in skirmishes with U.S. Navy ships off Newport News.

During the battle of 8 March 1862, in which CSS Virginia destroyed the Federal warships Cumberland and Congress, Patrick Henry attempted to take the latter's surrender but was fired upon by shore batteries, suffered four crewmen killed and had to be towed out of action. She was quickly repaired and participated in a minor way in the historic 9 March 1862 action between Virginia and USS Monitor. Patrick Henry was also present during some of Virginia's other actions and, in a daring night operation on 5 May 1862, helped remove Confederate property from the Norfolk Navy Yard before it was abandoned to the Federals.

Following the fall of Norfolk, Patrick Henry remained in the James River. She was modified for use as a school ship, and from October 1863 housed the Confederate States' Naval Academy, under the command of First Lieutenant William H. Parker. When Richmond was evacuated on 3 April 1865, Patrick Henry was burned to prevent capture



Launched: 1853
Commissioned: April 17, 1861
Decommissioned: April 1865
Fate: Burned April 3 1865
General Characteristics
Displacement: 1300 tons
Length: 250 ft
Beam: 34 ft
Draught: 13 ft
Propulsion: Steam and sail
Complement: 150 officers and men
Armament: 1 x 10 inch (254 mm) smooth-bore, 1 x 64 pounder (29 kg), 6 x 8 inch (203 mm) guns, 2 x 32 pounder (15 kg) rifles

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