top of page
Gosport Naval Yard Harper's Weekly

How the Norfolk Navy-Yard was Destroyed

          The following account has been published: "On Saturday evening, at 9 o'clock, the Pawnee, arrived from Washington, with 200 volunteers and 100 marines, besides her own crew, and at once the officers and crew of the Pawnee and Cumberland went to the Navy-yard and spiked and disabled the guns, and throw the shot and small-arms into the river. At ten o'clock the marines, who had been quartered in the barracks, fired them and came on board the Pawnee. This movement was premature, for it was the intention to fire all the building simultaneously. A party of officers, meantime were going through the different buildings and ships, distributing waste and turpentine, and laying a train so as to blow up the Dry Dock. They were engaged in this work until 2 o'clock, when the train was fired. At 3 o'clock, when the Yankee, to the Captain which, Charles Germain, much credit is due, came along and took the Cumberland in tow, the Pawnee taking the lead. All the vessels best to quarters, the guns were manned, and every thing was in readiness to carry out the threat of Commodore M'Auley, that if a gun was fired from either shore he would level both Portsmouth and Norfolk. At this time the scene was indescribably significant, all the buildings being in blaze, and explosions here and thee scattering the cinders in all directions.

bottom of page