Rams, Confederate

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RAMS, CONFEDERATE. The Virginia, first and most famous ram (a warship with a heavy beak at the prow for piercing an enemy ship) of the Confederate fleet, was constructed on the salvaged hull of the U.S. frigate Merrimack, sunk at the evacuation of the Norfolk Navy Yard. The rams featured armor plated casemates with sloping sides to deflect enemy fire; their bows were fitted with massive iron beaks or rams, which enabled it to revive the smashing tactics of the ancient galleys. They were used with much success by the Confederates, who put in service or had under construction forty-four ironclad (armor four to eight inches) vessels of this general class.


Melton, Maurice. The Confederate Ironclads. South Brunswick, N.J.: T. Yoseloff, 1968.

Still, William N. Iron Afloat: The Story of the Confederate Armorclads. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1985.

William M.RobinsonJr./a. r.

See alsoIronclad Warships ; Monitor and Merrimack, Battle of ; Navy, Confederate ; Vicksburg in the Civil War ; Warships .