Wednesday, October 12, 2011
USS Minnesota Ship Model and USS Congress Jack
This is a model of the magnificently designed 48-gun steam frigate USS Minnesota that is on display in the museum's gallery. C. Lester McLeod built the 1/8" to 1 foot scale model and delivered it to the museum in 1990. Launched in the 1850s, Minnesota served as the flagship to the locally-based North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. She served in several actions during the Civil War including the Battle of Hampton Roads (both days), the 1861 Hatteras Expedition, and both 1864 and 1865 Fort Fisher campaigns. The frigate's design was respected (and feared) by naval observers worldwide as she provided a perfect balance of speed and firepower.
Behind the model is the jack from the sail frigate USS Congress. The frigate is most famous for being the second ship sunk by the ironclad CSS Virginia on March 8, 1862. A jack is a flag flown by a ship at the bow of the vessel. It typically is a partial design of the ship's national ensign and traditionally indicates that the ship is open for visitors. This particular artifact is one of the few artifacts from USS Congress known to exist.