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USS Merrimack, also improperly Merrimac, was a steam frigate, best known as the hull upon which the ironclad warship CSS Virginia was constructed during the American Civil War. The CSS Virginia then took part in the Battle of Hampton Roads (also known as "the Battle of the Monitor and the Merrimack") in the first engagement between ironclad warships.
USS Merrimack; Engraving by L.H. Bradford & Co., after a drawing by G.G. Pook
|Ordered||6 April 1854|
|Launched||15 June 1855|
|Commissioned||20 February 1856|
|Decommissioned||16 February 1860|
|Length||275 ft (84 m)|
|Beam||38.5 ft (11.7 m)|
|Draft||24 ft (7.3 m)|
|Propulsion||sail, steam engine|
Merrimack was the first of six screw frigates (steam frigates powered by screw propellers) begun in 1854. Like others of her class (Wabash, Roanoke, Niagara, Minnesota and Colorado), she was named after a river. The Merrimack originates in New Hampshire and flows through the town of Merrimac, Massachusetts, often considered an older spelling which has sometimes caused confusion of the name.