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As we remember the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, we’d like to share a story about…

As we remember the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, we’d like to share a story about his collaboration with Cornelius Vanderbilt.
When the Civil War began in 1861, Vanderbilt attempted to donate his largest steamship, the Vanderbilt, to the Union Navy. Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles refused it, thinking its operation and maintenance too expensive for what he expected to be a short war. Vanderbilt had little choice but to lease it to the War Department, at prices set by ship brokers. When the Confederate ironclad Virginia (popularly known in the North as the Merrimack) wrought havoc with the Union blockading squadron at Hampton Roads, Virginia, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and President Abraham Lincoln called on Vanderbilt for help. This time he succeeded in donating the Vanderbilt to the Union navy, equipping it with a ram and staffing it with handpicked officers. It helped bottle up the Virginia, after which the ship was converted into a cruiser to hunt for Confederate commerce raiders. For donating the Vanderbilt, he was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal.



Source: Preservation Society of Newport County

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