Friday, March 10, 2017

The Navy Museum, Part One

As I mentioned the other day, one of our first stops in D.C. was the Navy Yard as The Nuke had to take care of something at work. As it would take less than an hour or so, she dropped us off at that building in the opening photo.

I spent the next 90 minutes snapping photos and saying "Wow!"

I said "wow" a lot that morning, to the tune of over 270 photos. So that would be around 3 pictures a minute. Not that rapid a pace sure, but that was punctuated with a lot of "wowing" and wandering from exhibit to exhibit. They have the most amazing collection of model ships, here are just a few.

USS Vermont, 74-gun Ship of the Line
USS Constitution, 44-gun Frigate
Cutaway model of a standard Royal Navy 110-gun Ship of the Line, or First Rate
Left, USS Saratoga, 26-gun Corvette, right USS Niagara, 20-gun Brig
Another view of Saratoga and Niagara
I didn't get this one's name, she looks like a converted East Indiaman. Anyone know?
Captain John Paul Jones' Bonhomme Richard, converted East Indiaman of 42 guns.
Victor over HMS Serapis off Flamborough Head, 23 September 1779
The only problem I found in taking photos at the museum was the glare off of the display cases. I suppose if you look close enough, you might see the reflection of the Old AF Sarge, arms askew, taking photos with his cell phone. (Yes, I left the good camera in the suitcase. Dumas! Not the French pronunciation by the way.)

These models are obviously from our early history. From the Revolutionary War through the War of 1812. There are some exhibits about the Quasi-War as well. Uh, Sarge, Quasi-War?
The Quasi-War was an undeclared war fought almost entirely at sea between the United States of America and the French Republic from 1798 to 1800. After the toppling of the French crown during the French Revolutionary Wars, the United States refused to continue repaying its debt to France on the grounds that it had been owed to a previous regime. French outrage led to a series of attacks on American shipping, ultimately leading to retaliation from the Americans and the end of hostilities with the signing of the Convention of 1800 shortly thereafter. W
One of the original six frigates (which included Constitution) gained fame during that little conflict, USS Constellation. She was later rebuilt as a sloop of war/corvette and is currently a museum ship in Baltimore. Old Ironsides gets a lot of the press, but the old Constellation (a 38-gun frigate as designed) did some yeoman work, back in the day.

Scene depicting the action of 9 February 1799, when the USS Constellation (left), commanded by Captain Thomas Truxtun, captured the French frigate L'Insurgente (right).
Ship's bell, USS Merrimac. Yes, that Merrimac.
USS Hartford, David Farragut's flag ship at Mobile Bay.
Off the stern of Hartford is the CSS Tennessee.
Battle of Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864 (1890), by Xanthus Russell Smith.
The monitor ships are CSS Tennessee (left), shown surrendering, and USS Chickasaw (foreground). Admiral Farragut's USS Hartford is right, and USS Winnebago, left.
CSS Tennessee (later USS Tennessee), Admiral Franklin Buchanan's flagship at Mobile Bay.
CSS Virginia, ex-USS Merrimac.
USS Monitor
Ship's bell, USS Hartford
Part of the stern post of the USS Kearsarge
Shot from CSS Alabama embedded in that stern post.
CSS Alabama
USS Kearsarge
USS Kearsarge, a Mohican-class sloop-of-war, is best known for her defeat of the Confederate commerce raider CSS Alabama during the American Civil War. The Kearsarge was the only ship of the United States Navy named for Mount Kearsarge in New Hampshire. Subsequent ships were later named Kearsarge in honor of the ship. W
"The Battle of the Kearsarge and the Alabama" by Édouard Manet
I love this museum and can't wait to get back there and do a more in depth visit. I really have just scratched the surface.

Next time...

USS Olympia (CA 6), Commodore Dewey's flagship at the Battle of Manila Bay
Oh, they have ship models galore.


  1. To guite a couple of great Americans:
    2) I had no ideer!

  2. Have to put this museum on the list, thanks for sharing your visit.
    The USS Olympia is still afloat, and this link is to the Seaport Museum in Philly.

    1. I need to get down there while she's still afloat.

  3. I used to take breaks from work and go in there. I love that most excellent museum. And I had the same problem trying to take pics there.

    Pics of the Corsair overhead please.

    1. It's a great place.

      And yes, I did take a pic of the Corsair, I mean you can't miss it.

  4. Those are remarkably good photos Sarge, especially with a Smartphone- surprised the battery lasted that long!

    1. Thanks Ron.

      Went in with the battery around 95%, went out with the battery around 30%. The Edge 7 got a work out that morning, that's for sure.

  5. Landlubber that I am, at first looking at the picture of the USS Tennessee, thought it was a follow along to the Zumwalt. Took a few more looks to realize the strait black smokestack wouldn't be found today. Then it was off to Google to read about casemate ironclads. I'm blaming you for any chores not done today.

  6. Oh yeah, I could spend a lot of time there.

    Didja get any more pics of the 3-pdr/47mm Hotchkiss parked on the other side of the Olympia model? That thing has "get off my lawn" written all over it!

    Thanks for sharing, Sarge. Really great stuff.

    1. Hhmm, I don't think so. But I did get some photos of a twin 40mm mount. That will get posted, eventually, POCIR.

    2. I am not the only person who knows a Hotchkiss when he sees one!

  7. Another great post. I have been aboard at least one of the ships pictured here. Well done, we all need to remember the price which has been paid for our freedom.

    Paul L. Quandt

  8. Thank you, Sarge, for using the correct names. I suppose I annoy some folks, but whenever I hear someone speaking of the battle "between the Monitor & the Merrimac", I always have to remind them that those two ships never fought, being on the same side. The CSS Virginia was built on Merrimac's hull, of course, but then she was no longer Merrimac.
    Do you happen to know the story of Merrimac's bell? Was it used aboard the Virginia? Although I admit I don't know, I have to think not, we sailors being, by & large, a superstitious lot.
    --Tennessee Budd

    1. I don't know but I don't think so. The bell is warped from when the Merrimac was burned to try and keep her out of Southern hands. But I will look into that, good question!

  9. It IS an outstanding museum! :-)

    1. I can't wait to get back down there and explore some more!


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