FEBRUARY 24TH, 1862: Captain Buchanan, CSN, ordered to command the James River, Virginia, naval defenses, and to fly his flag on board the CSS Virginia; the squadron consisted of the CSS Virginia, and the small gunboats CSS Patrick Henry, Jamestown, Teaser, Raleigh and Beaufort.
In his orders to Buchanan, Seretary of the Navy Mallory added: "The Virginia is a novelty in naval construction, is untried, and her powers unknown; and hence the department will not give specific orders as to her attack on the enemy.
"Her powers as a ram are regarded as very formidable, and it is hoped you will be able to test them. Like the bayonet charge of infantry, this mode of attack, while the most destructive, will commend itself to you in the present scarcity of ammunition.
Use the CSS Virginia At Your Discretion. --Old B-Runner