APRIL 20TH, 1861: Norfolk Navy Yard partially destroyed ti prevent facilities from falling into Confederate hands. USS Pennsylvania, Germantown, Raritan, Columbia and Dolphin burned to water's edge.
The USS Delaware, Columbus, Plymouth and Merrimack (later CSS Virginia) were burned and sunk. Old frigate United States was abandoned.
The USS Pawnee, and tugboat Yankee, towing the USS Cumberland, escaped; Pawnee went to Washington to augment the small defenses at the Capital.
This major Yard was of prime importance to the South. The Confederacy had limited industrial capacity, and possession of the Norfolk Yard provided her with guns and other ordnance materiel, and, equally as important, gave her a drydock and an industrial plant in which to manufacture critically needed items.
In large measure, guns for batteries and fortifications erected by the Confederates on the Atlantic coast and rivers during 1861 came from Norfolk.