Early Post-Civil War Folk Art Model of the CSS Virginia – From Salvaged Remains of the Virginia


Early Post-Civil War Folk Art Model of the CSS Virginia – From Salvaged Remains of the Virginia – This model, artfully and skillfully constructed, appears to have been made in the years just after the Civil War. It is a painted wood construction, with the anchor and chains representing the only metallic elements. The model rests on its original, wooden stand; on one side of this stand is an original manuscript label reading, “Confederate. Ram . Merrimac / March ,1862.” On the opposite side of the stand are the remnants of a second, original label, but the wording is indistinct; only the ghost of the rest of the original label remains here, along with this remnant. This model may have been constructed from the salvaged remains of the CSS Virginia, as were many CSS Virginia, souvenir items made of these salvaged elements, in the latter quarter of the 19th century. Local Norfolk newspaper records, in the 1870s, of the primary salvor of the Virginia, a Captain William West, were quite detailed. His was the last salvage attempt and many historians thought the most complete, believing he raised whatever was left of the entire wreck and placing it in the dry dock where the ironclad was built. There, it was broken up into souvenirs, relics and just plain junk. The Confederate ironclad made history, as a participant in the first battle between two ironclad warships. On March 9, 1862, she engaged the Union ironclad, U.S.S. Monitor, in a hotly contested engagement that resulted in a draw.

Size:   Length – 28.5″; Width (amidships) -  8.5″;  Height (keel to top of smokestack) – 9”; Stand – Length – 8”; width (at base) – 4”.

Provenance   – Verbal history claims this was built by a nephew of General R. E. Lee’s.

Condition  - Moderate chipping to bow, slight crazing to paint, missing one anchor and a small length of chain. Some browning and chipping to label.


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