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Buchanan Ramsay

Obituary of H. Ashton Ramsay, Baltimore, Maryland.

Col. H. Ashton Ramsay, who was chief engineer of the famous Confederate ironclad Virginia and one of the few surviving members of the crew, died at his home, in Baltimore, Md., on March 25, 1916, at the age of eighty-one years. Surviving him are his wife, two sons, and two daughters.

Colonel Ramsay was a native of Washington and was appointed from the District of Columbia as an assistant engineer in the United States navy just before the beginning of the War between the States. He resigned to go South and joined the Confederate States navy. He aided in building the Virginia, previously called the Merrimac, the first ironclad ever used in warfare. Her defensive armor was a sheathing of steel rails, and her powerful iron ram created consternation in the Federal fleet when she steamed out of the James River into Hampton Roads in 1862.

The commander of the Virginia, the ranking officer of the Confederate navy, was Admiral Franklin Buchanan, of Maryland. Colonel Ransay was chief engineer. The Virginia rammed and sank the Congress and the Cumberland, and her career of destruction was checked by the appearance of the Monitor, built in New York by John Ericsson and familiary called "the cheese box on a raft."

Colonel Ramsay was one of the last survivors of the memorable battle between two ironclads, of which he has written very interestingly.

SOURCE: Confederate Veteran Magazine, June, 1916.

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