Confederate Ironclads

DISCLAIMER: Many sources conflict on the specifications of the ironclads, even the well-known ones. The facts and figures given below are a result of the comparison of multiple sources, with the most reasonable ones listed. Some tonnages and dimensions are highly approximate; for example, the Richmond type ironclads are often referred to as the "150' class," but this was the length between perpendiculars: the length of the keel from the break of the bow to the stern post. The length overall of these vessels was 25'+ longer. Armament was known to change throughout service life. This list disagrees with some published sources. You have been warned...


NOTE: Many sources arrange some Southern ironclads into classes (e.g. Richmond class, Albemarle class, etc.). I resist this notion; even so-called "sister" ships often bore little resemblance to each other, and records are in many cases fragmentary. The following list is arranged geographically; I've noted where ships are similar, but to think they were identical is probably a mistake. There is a surprisingly common misconception that the Union river ironclads' designs were copied from Southern casemate ironclads; this is false. The Union vessels in question were actually designed, built, and sent into action first. (Nor were Southern ironclads copies of Northern ones.) The casemate was a widely known, previously-existing design adapted from land batteries and earlier floating batteries in other countries.
Clicking the [Images] links will lead to public-domain images of the vessel at the Naval Historical Center's website.
Virginia waters:

Virginia

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 262'9", beam 51'4", draft 22'
Displacement:  3,200 tons
Speed:  5-6 knots
Crew:  320
Armor:  4" casemate, 4" pilothouse
Armament:  Six 9" Dahlgren smoothbores, two 7" and two 6.4" Brooke rifles
Authorized:  11 Jul 61

Virginia (ex-Merrimack) [Images]: The famous ship, usually called "Merrimack," that fought the Monitor in Hampton Roads in the world's first battle between ironclads. A conversion of a steam frigate, her deep draft severely hampered her mobility; conversely, her poor seakeeping qualities confined her to calm waters. A few fragments and artifacts are displayed in various locations, notably the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond. Technically, she never had a captain; Buchanan commanded the whole of the Elizabeth River defenses, with the Virginia as flagship. When Tattnall replaced him, this strange arrangement continued. Converted at Norfolk VA. Launched 13 Feb 62. Commissioned 17 Feb 62. Battle of Hampton Roads 8 Mar 62, sank USS Cumberland, burned USS Congress. Iron ram broken off in Cumberland. Battle of 9 Mar 62 with USS Monitor, inconclusive but significantly damaged. Captured three transports in Hampton Roads in attempt to draw out Monitor 11 Apr 62. Sortied into Hampton Roads 8 May 62, encountered Monitor, no action. Destroyed to prevent capture 11 May 62 near Craney Island in James River. Remains broken up at Portsmouth Navy Yard in 1876. A gun carriage on display at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum is reputed to be one of the Virginia's. Steering wheel on display at Mariner's Museum, Newport News, propeller shaft and anchor at the Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond. Various fragments in many places. Commanders: Capt. Franklin Buchanan (Feb-Mar 62), Lt. Catesby ap R. Jones (Mar-Apr 62), Capt. Josiah Tattnall (Apr-May 62).

Richmond

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 172'6", beam 45', draft 12'
Displacement:  850? tons
Speed:  6 knots
Crew:  180
Armor:  4" casemate
Armament:  One 7" and two 6.4" Brooke rifles, 10" smoothbore, spar torpedo
Authorized:  17 Mar 62

Richmond [Images]: Incorrectly identified as "Brandywine" in some Union reports; also referred to as "Young Virginia," "Young Merrimack," or "Merrimack No. 2." She served as part of the efficient but generally ineffective James River Squadron. Built at Norfolk VA. Launched 6 May 62. Towed to Richmond for completion May 62. Commissioned Jul 62. Passed below Drewry's Bluff obstructions 24 May 64. Tried to join Virginia II and Fredericksburg at Trent's Reach and Verina Reach 21 Jun 64 but broke down and had to be towed upriver. Shelled Union positions near Dutch Gap 13 Aug 64. Shelled Union positions on Signal Hill 17 Aug 64, forcing a retreat. Engagement at Ft. Harrison 29-31 Sep 64, Chapin's Bluff 22 Oct 64. Engaged USS Onondaga 23-24 Jan 65, ran aground, refloated. Destroyed to prevent capture above Drewry's Bluff 3 Apr 65. Commanders: Cdr. Robert B. Pegram (62-64), Cdr. William A. Webb (64), Cdr. James D. Johnston (early 65), Cdr. John McIntosh Kell (Mar-Apr 65).

Fredericksburg

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 188', beam 40'3", draft 9'6"
Displacement:  700 tons
Speed:  ?
Crew:  150
Armor:  4" casemate
Armament:   One 8" and two 6.4" Brooke rifles, one 11" Dahlgren smoothbore
Authorized:  1862

Fredericksburg [Images]: Incorrectly identified as "Chickahominy" in some Union reports. The weakest of the James River ironclads, sharing some of the design elements of the Albemarle. Built at Richmond VA. Launched 30 Nov 63. Commissioned Mar 64. Served as part of the James River Squadron. Passed below Drewry's Bluff obstructions 24 May 64. Fired on Union James River Squadron (including Saugus) in Trent and Verina Reaches 21 Jun 64. Shelled Union positions near Dutch Gap 13 Aug 64. Engaged USS Onondaga at Trent's Reach 23-34 Jan 65. Destroyed to prevent capture above Drewry's Bluff 4 Apr 65. Commanders: Lt. Francis E. Shepperd (64), Cdr. Thomas R. Rootes (late 64-early 65).Cdr. William T. Glassell (early 65).

Virginia II

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 197', beam 47'6", draft 14'
Displacement:  1,600? tons
Speed:  10 knots
Crew:  150
Armor:  6" forward, 5" casemate sides
Armament:  One 8" and two 6.4" Brooke rifles, one 11" Brooke smoothbore
Authorized:  ?

Virginia II [Images]: Larger and stronger than the Richmond or Fredericksburg, she served for a time as the squadron flagship. Built at Richmond VA. Launched Jun 64. Commissioned summer 64. Passed below Drewry's Bluff obstructions 24 May 64. Fired on Union James River Squadron (including Saugus) in Trent and Verina Reaches 21 Jun 64. Engagement at Dutch Gap 13 Aug 64. Shelled Union positions on Signal Hill 17 Aug 64, forcing a retreat. Helped defeat Union advance on Chaffin's Bluff 28 Sep 64. Engagement at Dutch Gap 22 Oct 64. Engaged USS Onondaga at Trent's Reach 23-34 Jan 65. Destroyed to prevent capture above Drewry's Bluff 3 Apr 65. Wreck still existing 1996. Commanders: Cdr. Robert B. Pegram (64), Lt. John W. Dunnington (early 65).

Texas

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 217', beam 48'6", draft 13'6"
Displacement:  1,700? tons
Speed:  ?
Crew:  150?
Armor:  6" casemate
Armament:  Two 8" and two 7" Brooke rifles, two 11" Brooke smoothbores
Authorized:  ?

Texas [Images]: Built at Richmond VA. Launched Jan 65. This ship would have been the most powerful ironclad built in Virginia waters other than the original Virginia, but was incomplete when Richmond fell. Somewhat similar to the Columbia, but had a smaller casemate.

Unnamed

Double-ender ironclad ram
Dimensions:  length 220', beam 27', draft 11'6"
Displacement:   ?
Speed:   ?
Crew:  ?
Armor:  ?
Armament:  1-2 guns
Authorized:  ?

Unnamed (Richmond): Some sources call this a Wilmington-type ironclad, but the facts suggest it was a different design by Graves. This would have been a "double ender," with rudders, screws, and ram on each end.


North Carolina waters:

North Carolina

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 172'6", beam 34', draft 12'
Displacement:  850? tons
Speed:  5 knots
Crew:  188
Armor:  4" casemate
Armament:  Two 7" and two 6.4" Brooke rifles
Authorized:  Spring 62

North Carolina: Similar to Richmond. This poorly-built and underpowered ironclad was mostly used as a guard ship. Engines taken from tug Uncle Ben, highly unreliable. Built at Wilmington NC. May have been unpainted. Launched Oct 63. Commissioned Dec 63. Guarded blockade runner Hansa Mar 64. Guardship at main bar at entrance to Cape Fear River. Foundered at Smithville (present-day Southport) NC as result of worm damage, 27 Sep 64. Guns and fittings removed. Armor stripped off 1868 and sold at auction in Wilmington; burned to waterline 7 Sep 71, reason uncertain. According to local records, the upper portion of her hulk was still visible for several years after the war until it burned. Her wreck has been located and charted; not much remains at the site. Commanders: Lt. J. Pembroke Jones (64), Cdr. William T. Muse (64), Cdr. William L. Maury (late 64).

Raleigh

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 172'6", beam 34', draft 12'
Displacement:  850? tons
Speed:  6 knots
Crew:  180
Armor:  4" casemate
Armament:  Four 6.4" Brooke rifles
Authorized:  Spring 62

Raleigh: Similar to Richmond. Better-constructed than the North Carolina. May have been painted a dark blue color. Built at Wilmington NC. Launched fall 63. Commissioned 30 Apr 64. Attacked about seven Federal blockaders along with unarmored gunboats Yadkin and Equator in attempt to allow six blockade runners to escape at New Inlet NC 6 May 64, little damage on either side Ran aground on a rip near the entrance of the Cape Fear River and broke her back 7 May 64. Guns and armor removed. Slid off bar and sank in Cape Fear River. The general location of the vessel was established in 1975, but it was not until 1993 that she was precisely located. The Raleigh is in two pieces, in a jumbled pile of wood, iron, and discarded fishing nets. A dangerous current prevents much extensive work on the site. Commander: Lt. J. Pembroke Jones (64).

Albemarle

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 158', beam 35'3", draft 8'2"
Displacement:  500? tons
Speed:  5 knots
Crew:  150
Armor:  4" casemate, 1" fore/aft decks, 2" fore/aft sides
Armament:  Two 6.4" Brooke rifles
Authorized:  16 Apr 62

Albemarle [Images]: One of the most successful and famous of the Confederate ironclads, along with the Virginia and Arkansas. Built at Edwards Ferry NC. Launched 6 Oct 63. Damaged at launch, taken to Halifax NC for completion. Commissioned 17 Apr 64. Attacked Plymouth NC 19 Apr 64, sank USS Southfield. Shelled Union troops in Plymouth 20 Apr 64. Attacked squadron below Plymouth, damaged 5 May 64 (hit 44 times). Descended Roanoke River 6 Aug 64, no engagement. Sunk in Roanoke River by William B. Cushing with a spar torpedo boat 28 Oct 64. Raised and taken to Norfolk 21 Apr 65. Sold to breakers 15 Oct 67. Commanders: Cdr. James W. Cooke (early 64-Jun 64), Cdr. John N. Maffitt (mid 64), Lt. Alexander F. Warley (fall-Oct 64).

Neuse

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 158'1", beam 34', draft 8'
Displacement:  500 tons
Speed:  4 knots
Crew:  150
Armor:  4" forward, 2" side and aft casemate (4" planned)
Armament:   Two 6.4" Brooke rifles
Authorized:  17 Oct 62

Neuse: Very similar to Albemarle. Built at White Hall (now Seven Springs) NC. A lack of iron for armor and a Union raid in December '62 delayed her construction. Shelled by Union forces while incomplete 16 Dec 62. Launched Mar 63 and towed to Kinston NC for completion. Commissioned Apr 64. Ordered to attack New Berne but ran aground below Kinston 22 Apr 64. Refloated and taken back upriver May 64. Shelled Union troops before being burned to prevent capture 12 Mar 65. Hull raised in 1964, on display at museum in Kinston NC. In 1996, rising river waters due to Hurricane Fran reached the hull of the Neuse and caused some damage, resulting in her relocation to a new facility off the floodplain. Commanders: Cdr. Benjamin P. Loyall (Apr 64-Aug 64), Cdr. Joseph H. Price (Aug 64-Mar 65).

Wilmington

Twin casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 224', beam 42'6", draft 9'6"
Displacement:  1,100? tons
Speed:  ?
Crew:  ?
Armor:    Two oval or octagonal casemates
Armament:  Two guns, probably Brooke rifles
Authorized:  ?

Wilmington: Built at Wilmington NC. Never completed. A twin-casemated ironclad, destroyed on the stocks in Jan 65.

Unnamed (Tarboro): Similar to Albemarle, destroyed on the stocks by Union army 19 Jul 63. Might have been named Pamlico if completed (my speculation). A second boat building at Tarboro was destroyed on the stocks in April 65.

Unnamed (Edwards Ferry): Improved, larger version of Albemarle, with four guns. Destroyed to prevent capture on 7 Apr 65. Might have been named Roanoke if completed (my speculation).


South Carolina waters:

Palmetto State

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 172'6", beam 34', draft 12'
Displacement:  850? tons
Speed:  5 knots
Crew:  125
Armor:  4" casemate
Armament:  Two 7" Brooke rifles, two 9" Dahlgren smoothbores
Authorized:  Feb 62

Palmetto State [Images]: Similar to Richmond. Engines taken from Lady Davis. Built at Charleston SC. Launched MAr 62. Commissioned fall 62. Attacked Federal blockaders in company with CSS Chicora 31 Jan 63, damaged USS Mercidita, , sparking a debate over whether the blockade had been legally broken. Defense of Charleston forts, 7 Apr 63. Covered salvage of guns from USS Keokuk 1-5 May 63. Boat party captured Union positions on Morris Island 4 Aug 63. Declined action with USS New Ironsides and six monitors 17 Aug 63. Covered withdrawal from Morris Island 6 Sep 63. May have had additional guns mounted sometime in 1864. Cutter captured Union picket boat 26 Feb 64. Destroyed to prevent capture 18 Feb 65. Commanders: Lt. John Rutledge (62-64), Lt. James H. Rochelle (Apr 64-Feb 65).

Chicora

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 172'6", beam 34', draft 12'
Displacement:  850? tons
Speed:  4-5 knots
Crew:  125
Armor:  4" casemate
Armament:  Two 9" Dahlgren smoothbores, four 32# rifles
Authorized:  Spring 62

Chicora [Images]: Similar to Richmond. Incorrectly identified as "Courier" in some Union reports. Engines came from steamer Aid. Built at Charleston SC. Launched 23 Aug 62. Commissioned Nov 62. Attacked Federal blockaders in company with CSS Palmetto State 31 Jan 63, engaged USS Keystone State. Defense of Charleston forts, 7 Apr 63. Covered salvage of guns from USS Keokuk 1-5 May 63. Boat party attempted to attack USS Patapsco 10 May 63. Boat party captured Union positions on Morris Island 4 Aug 63. Declined action with USS New Ironsides and six monitors 17 Aug 63. Covered withdrawal from Morris Island 6 Sep 63. Fired on Union boat parties attempting to take Ft. Sumter 8 Sep 63. Boiler failed 5 Feb 64, used as floating battery afterwards. Destroyed to prevent capture 18 Feb 65. Commanders: Cdr. John R. Tucker (62-63), Lt. William G. Dozier (?63), Lt. Alexander F. Warley (?63), Cdr. Thomas T. Hunter (63-65).

Charleston

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 200', beam 45', draft 14'
Displacement:  1,050? tons
Speed:  5-6 knots
Crew:  150
Armor:  4" casemate
Armament:  Two 9" Dahlgren smoothbores, four 32#rifles or four Brooke rifles
Authorized:  Fall 62

Charleston: Larger and stronger than the Palmetto State or Chicora, but underpowered. Built at Charleston SC. Launched Dec 62. Commissioned spring 64. Served as the Charleston Squadron's flagship. Destroyed to prevent capture 18 Feb 65. Her length is usually given as 180', but since this was the between-perpendiculars length of her near sister Virginia II, which measured 197' overall, the 200' figure given above is a reasonable estimate. Commander: Cdr. Isaac N. Brown (late 63-64).

Columbia

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 216', beam 51'4", draft 13'6"
Displacement:  1,800? tons
Speed:   ?
Crew:  150
Armor:  6" casemate
Armament:  One 10" Brooke smoothbore, three 7" and two 6.4" Brooke rifle
Authorized:  ?

Columbia [Images]: Built at Charleston SC. Launched 10 Mar 64. Commissioned 12 Jan 65. Ran aground on a sunken wreck near Ft. Moultrie 12 Jan 65. Salvaged by Union 26 Apr 65, towed to Norfolk 25 May 65. Sold to breakers 10 Oct 67. Commander: ?

Unnamed (Charleston #1): Similar to Milledgeville.

Unnamed (Charleston #2): Similar to Milledgeville.

Unnamed (Charleston #3): Similar to Wilmington.


Georgia waters:

Georgia

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 250', beam 60', draft 12'
Displacement:  1,000? tons
Speed:   immobile
Crew:  94 to 122
Armor:   two layers of T-rails, about 4"
Armament:  Varied; ten guns planned, but usually only two 9" and three 32# smoothbores
Authorized:  early 62

Georgia [Images]: Built at Savannah GA. Launched 20 May 62. Commissioned Jul 62. Called the "Ladies' Ram," as she was partially built through funds collected by the women of Savannah. Fitted with weak engines; additionally, a beam from the ways may have adhered to the hull at launch, causing too much drag for the ship to be handled. Served as floating battery, stationed for a time at Elba Island, then at Fort James Jackson in a special crib to allow warping to bring the broadside to bear. Provided boats and men for capture of USS Water Witch 4 Jun 64. Scuttled to prevent capture 20 Dec 64; went down very rapidly. Superstructure broken by dredging in 1868. Remains located 1969 about 200 yards off of Old Fort Jackson near the ship channel. Two cannons, 75 shells, crockery, and tools recovered by divers, on display at Old Fort Jackson and the Savannah History Museum. Her casemate is more or less intact in the river below the city, though it is in danger of sliding into the main shipping lane and the Army Corps of Engineers is threatening to destroy the wreck unless salvaged. Commanders: Lt. Thomas P. Pelot (62-63), Lt. Washington Gwathmey (63-64).

Atlanta

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 204', beam 41', draft 15'9"
Displacement:  1,006 tons
Speed:  7 knots
Crew:  165
Armor:  4" casemate
Armament:  Two 7" and two 6.4" Brooke rifles, spar torpedo
Authorized:  1862

Atlanta (ex-Fingal) [Images]: One of the best ironclads built by the Confederacy. Converted by Tift at Savannah GA to essentially the same plan as CSS Mississippi. Original iron hull surrounded and surmounted by squared-off second hull and casemate. Launched summer 62. Commissioned 22 Nov 62. Moved downriver toward Fort Pulaski to St. Augustine Creek 19 Jan 63 but abandoned attempt to reach the fort. On station near Fort Jackson Mar 63. Moved down from Elba Island to Wilmington River 10 Jun 63. Engaged USS Weehawken and USS Nahant in Wassaw Sound GA 17 Jun 63, damaged (hit by four out of five shots fired by Weehawken), run aground, and captured. Taken into Federal service; see USS Atlanta. Commanders: Cdr. William McBlair (62-Feb 63), Cdr. Arthur Sinclair (Feb-May 63), Cdr. William A. Webb (May-Jun 63).

Savannah

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 172'6", beam 34', draft 12'6"
Displacement:  850? tons
Speed:  6 knots
Crew:  181
Armor:  4" casemate
Armament:   Two 7" and two 6.4" Brooke rifles
Authorized:  spring 62

Savannah [Images]: Similar to Richmond. Built at Savannah GA. Launched 4 Feb 63. Commissioned 30 Jun 63. Provided boats and men for capture of USS Water Witch 4 Jun 64. Covered withdrawal from Savannah 20 Dec 64. Engaged Union artillery 21 Dec 64. Destroyed to prevent capture at Savannah 21 Dec 64. Commanders: Cdr. Richard L. Page (63), Capt. Robert F. Pinkney (63-64), Cdr. Thomas W. Brent (64).

Milledgeville

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 175', beam 35'3", draft 9'
Displacement:  650? tons
Speed:   ?
Crew:  ?
Armor:  6" casemate 
Armament:  Four guns, probably two 7" and two 6.4" Brooke rifles
Authorized:  ?

Milledgeville: Built at Savannah GA. Launched Oct 64. Destroyed when nearly complete to prevent capture 20 Dec 64.

Unnamed (Savannah): Similar to Milledgeville.

Jackson

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 223'6", beam 59', draft 8'
Displacement:  1,250? tons
Speed:   ?
Crew:  ?
Armor:  4" casemate
Armament:  Four 7" and two 6.4" Brooke rifles
Authorized:  ?

Jackson [Images]: Also known as Muscogee. Built at Columbus, Georgia. Her first incarnation as a paddlewheeler was completely unsuccessful, so she was reconstructed as a screw-driven ironclad. Launched 22 Dec 64. Burned to prevent capture 17 Apr 65. Hull raised in 1960s. She is on display at Port Columbus (Confederate Naval Museum) in Columbus.


Alabama waters:

Baltic

Casemate gunboat
Dimensions:  length 186', beam 38', draft 6'5"
Displacement:  624 tons
Speed:  5 knots
Crew:  86
Armor:  2+" forward casemate, cottonclad aft
Armament:  Two 42# and two 32# smoothbores, two light howitzers
Authorized:  Dec 61

Baltic [Images]: A conversion of a sidewheel tug, this poorly-designed and uncomfortable vessel was nevertheless Mobile's only ironclad for nearly two years. Converted at Mobile AL. Launched spring 62. Commissioned 27 May 62. Mobile Bay 1862-1865, used as minelayer. Reported unfit for service, Feb 64. Armor removed to plate the Nashville Jul 64. Captured at Nanna Hubba Bluff in Tombigbee River AL 10 May 65. Sold to breakers 31 Dec 65. Commander: Lt. James D. Johnston (61-63).

Huntsville

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 150'-170', beam 34', draft 7'
Displacement:  500? tons
Speed:  3 ½ knots
Crew:  120
Armor:  4" casemate
Armament:  One 6.4" Brooke rifle, three 32# smoothbores
Authorized:  1 May 62

Huntsville: Built at Selma AL. Launched 7 Feb 63 and taken to Mobile for completion. Commissioned 1 Aug 63. Used as floating battery due to poor engines. Provided men for boat expedition to Pensacola FL Apr 64. Exchanged fire with Federal recon flotilla near Mobile 15 Aug 64. Shelled Union troops near Fort Blakely 2 Apr 65. Sunk 12 miles above Mobile in Spanish River to prevent capture and block the river 12 Apr 65. Some sources replace the Brooke rifle with an English Blakely rifle, but this seems unlikely. Commander: Lt. Julian Myers (63-Apr 65).

Tuscaloosa

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 150'-170', beam 34', draft 7'
Displacement:  500? tons
Speed:  2 ½ knots
Crew:  120
Armor:  4" casemate
Armament:  One 6.4" Brooke rifle, three 32# smoothbores
Authorized:  1 May 62

Tuscaloosa: Similar to Huntsville. Built at Selma AL. Launched 7 Feb 63 and taken to Mobile for completion. Commissioned fall 63. Used as floating battery due to poor engines. Provided men for boat expedition to Pensacola FL Apr 64. Exchanged fire with Federal recon flotilla near Mobile 15 Aug 64. Sunk 12 miles above Mobile in Spanish River to prevent capture and block the river 12 Apr 65. Some sources replace the Brooke rifle with an English Blakely rifle, but this seems unlikely. Commander: Cdr. Charles H. McBlair (late 64). (?)

Tennessee

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 209', beam 48', draft 14'
Displacement:  1,273 tons
Speed:  6-7 knots
Crew:  133
Armor:   6" forward, 5" casemate sides, 2" deck
Armament:   Two 7" and two 6.4" Brooke rifles
Authorized:  Sep 62

Tennessee [Images]: The best ironclad at Mobile, and one of the strongest built in the Confederacy. Her engines are traditionally presumed to have come from the steamer Alonzo Child, but recent research makes this appear unlikely. Sometimes called Tennessee "II" or "No.2" to distinguish it from the Arkansas-class Tennessee. Rudder chains left exposed for some unknown reason; covered over with boiler iron but still vulnerable. Built at Selma AL. Launched Oct 62, taken to Mobile for completion. Commissioned 16 Feb 64. Attempt to raise blockade of Mobile 17 May 64 ended when ran aground. Engaged Federal fleet including USS Milwaukee, USS Chickasaw, and USS Winnebago at Battle of Mobile Bay 5 Aug 64, disabled and captured. Commissioned in Union Navy 19 Aug 64; see USS Tennessee. Commander: Cdr. James D. Johnston (64).

Nashville

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 271', beam 62'6", draft 10'9"
Displacement:  1,100? tons
Speed:   ?
Crew:  ?
Armor:  6" casemate forward of wheels, 2" aft, wheelboxes unarmored
Armament:  Three 7" Brooke rifles, one 24# howitzer
Authorized:  Sep 62

Nashville [Images]: An impressive-looking armored sidewheeler, intended to exploit the availability of riverboat engines. Armored using iron from Baltic. Built at Montgomery AL. Launched 1863, taken to Mobile for completion. Commissioned 15 Sep 64. Helped fend off attacks on Spanish Fort AL 27 Mar 65, supported Confederate commander Randall Gibson until driven away by Federal batteries. Shelled Federal troops near Fort Blakely 2 Apr 65. Retreated up Tombigbee River 12 Apr 65 when Mobile surrendered. Surrendered in Tombigbee River at Nanna Hubba Bluff 10 May 65. Sold to breakers 22 Nov 67. A sister ship was damaged at launch and broken up. (See the Phoenix below, under "Uncertainties.") Commanders: Lt. Charles C. Simms (64), Lt. John W. Bennett (late 64 -May 65).

Unnamed (Selma): Sister-ship of the Tennessee, irreparably damaged at launch.

Unnamed (Oven Bluff #1): Similar to Huntsville. One of the "Bigbee boats" on the Tombigbee River.

Unnamed (Oven Bluff #2): Similar to Huntsville. Another of the "Bigbee boats."

Unnamed (Oven Bluff #3): Possibly similar to Nashville. Another of the "Bigbee boats."


Louisiana waters:

Manassas

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 143', beam 33', draft 11'
Displacement:  ? (387 tons burden)
Speed:  4 knots
Crew:  36
Armor:   1+" casemate
Armament:   One 64# or 32# smoothbore

Manassas (ex-Enoch Train?) [Images]: A conversion of a powerful steam tug (some sources say icebreaker), this was the first American ironclad to see action, North or South. She was of an unorthodox turtle-backed design with a powerful ram, and was converted by a private concern at Algiers LA for use as a privateer, but confiscated by the CS navy. Applied for letter of marque as privateer 12 Sep 61. Commandeered from private owner 11 Oct 61 and commissioned. Attacked Federal blockaders at Head of the Passes LA 12 Oct 61, damaged USS Richmond. Engaged Federal fleet as they ran past Forts Jackson and St. Philip 24 Apr 62, rammed, set afire, and run aground by USS Mississippi. Commander: Lt. Alexander F. Warley (Oct 61-Apr 62).

Louisiana

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 264', beam 62', draft 7'
Displacement:  1,400 tons
Speed:  2-3 knots
Crew:  300
Armor:  4" casemate (some sources state T-rails)
Armament:  Three 9" and four 8" Dahlgren smoothbores, two 7" Brooke and seven 32# rifles
Authorized:  18 Sep 61

Louisiana [Images]: A strong but poorly-designed ironclad with nearly useless engines. Designed with two center wheels in tandem, two propellers, and twin rudders. Engines taken from steamer Ingomar. Propellers never functioned; wheels alone could not provide enough power to stem the current. Built at Jefferson City LA. Launched 6 Feb 62. Commissioned 20 Apr 62. Towed to Fort St. Philip below New Orleans LA 20 Apr 62. Functioned as floating battery against Federal fleet 24 Apr 62. Destroyed to prevent capture 28 Apr 62 near forts. She and the Mississippi were the major focus of a lengthy investigation of the CS Navy Department by the Confederate Congress. Commander: Cdr. Charles F. McIntosh (Apr 62).

Mississippi

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 260', beam 58', draft 14'
Displacement:  1,400 tons
Speed:  14 knots (planned)
Crew:  ?
Armor:  3+" casemate
Armament:  Four 7" Brooke and six 32# rifles, four 9" and six 8" Dahlgren smoothbores (planned)
Authorized:  26 Aug 61

Mississippi: Possibly the best of the New Orleans ironclads, she would have appeared similar to the Atlanta upon completion (her design was used as the basis for the Atlanta's conversion), though with two stacks in tandem. Built at Jefferson City LA. Construction slowed by inexperienced workers and strikes. Hurriedly launched 19 Apr 62. After an attempt to tow the ship away from advancing Union forces failed, destroyed to prevent capture while still incomplete 25 Apr 62; her hulk was taken North and scrapped.


Inland waters:

Missouri

Casemate gunboat
Dimensions:  length 183', beam 53'8", draft 8'6"
Displacement:  1,000? tons
Speed:  6 knots
Crew:  ?
Armor:  About 4" (probably T-rails)
Armament:  One 11", one 9" and one 32# smoothbore
Authorized:  1 Nov 62

Missouri: A weak paddle-wheel ironclad. Protected wheelhouse for center wheel never completed; wheel remained exposed above casemate. Built at Shreveport LA. Launched 14 Apr 63. Commissioned 12 Sep 63. Held upriver by low water levels on the Red River. Used as a minelayer and troop transport. Surrendered at Alexandria LA 3 Jun 65. Sold to breakers 29 Nov 65 at Mound City IL. A planned sister ship was never constructed. Commander: Lt. Jonathan H. Carter (63-26 May 65).

Mobile (never completed): A river gunboat, destroyed as Union forces closed in on Vicksburg.

Unnamed (Yazoo City): A large sidewheeler, destroyed as Union forces approached Vicksburg.

Arkansas

Casemate ram
Dimensions:  length 165', beam 35', draft 11'6"
Displacement:  800? tons
Speed:  8 knots
Crew:  232
Armor:   T-rails (about 4") casemate, 2" pilothouse, 1" top; boiler iron on stern
Armament:   Two 9" and two 8" Dahlgren and four 32# smoothbores, two 6.4" Brooke rifles
Authorized:  24 Aug 61

Arkansas [Images]: Begun at Memphis TN. Launched 24 Apr 62 and towed incomplete to Greenwood MS when Federal troops approached Memphis 25 Apr 62. Completed at Yazoo City MS. Commissioned 26 May 62. Engaged USS Carondelet and other gunboats in Yazoo and Mississippi Rivers 15 Jul 62. Attacked at Vicksburg by USS Essex and USS Queen of the West 22 Jul 62. Attacked by USS Essex four miles above Baton Rouge; engine failed and destroyed to prevent capture 6 Aug 62. Commander: Lt. Isaac N. Brown (May-Jul 62), Lt. Henry K. Stevens (Jul-Aug 62).

Tennessee (never completed). Begun at Memphis. The sister ship of the Arkansas, she was not complete enough to be removed from Memphis before the approach of the Western Gunboat Flotilla and was destroyed on 5 Jun 62 to prevent capture.

Eastport: Acquired by Confederate Army 31 Oct 61. Conversion begun 24 Dec 61 at Cerro Gordo TN below Pittsburg Landing. Captured while incomplete 8 Feb 62. Completed by Union and served in Union navy; see USS Eastport.


Foreign-Built:

North Carolina Class

Turret ships
Dimensions:  length 224'6", beam 42'6", draft 16'3"
Displacement:  2,750 tons
Speed:  10 knots
Crew:  153
Armor:   10" turrets, 3" to 4" sides
Armament:  Four 9" rifles
Authorized:  Jun 62

North Carolina Class: The "Laird Rams," twin-turreted oceangoing ironclads from the same shipyard that produced the famous Confederate raider Alabama. Built at Birkenhead, England near Liverpool.

  • North Carolina [Images]: Number 294; built under code name 'El Tousson.' Launched 9 Jul 63. Seized by British government 9 Oct 63, purchased Feb 64.
  • Mississippi [Images]: Number 295; built under code name 'El Monassir.' Launched 29 Aug 63. Seized by British government 9 Oct 63, purchased Feb 64.
  • Stonewall

    Casemate ram
    Dimensions:  length 186'9", beam 32'6", draft 14'3"
    Displacement:  1,390 tons
    Speed:  10-11 knots
    Crew:  135
    Armor:  4" (nonrotating) 'turret', 5+" forward casemate, 4+" sides, 3+" ends
    Armament:  One 11" rifle, two 68# or 70# rifles.
    Authorized:  16 Jul 63
    

    Stonewall [Images]: Built by Arman at Bordeaux, France. Launched 21 Jun 64 but sold to Denmark. Through a lot of diplomatic maneuvering, she was actually commissioned under the Confederate flag in Jan 65, but did not reach the Confederacy before the end of the war. She was surrendered to Spanish authorities at Havana, Cuba, and turned over to the United States, which sold her to Japan where she became first the Kotetsu and then Adzuma. Commander: Capt. Thomas J. Page (64-May 65).

    Unnamed (France): Similar to Stonewall; sold to Prussia and became the Prinz Adalbert. Sometimes known as "Cheops," her code name during construction. Embargoed by French government Feb 64. Sold to Prussia, renamed Prinz Adalbert 29 Oct 65, rearmed and refitted 1866. Broken up 1878.

    Unnamed

    Ironclad frigate
    Dimensions:  length 270'8", beam 49'6", draft 18'4"
    Displacement:  4,770 tons
    Speed:  8 ½ knots
    Crew:  520
    Armor:  4+" sides, 3+" ends
    Armament:  Twelve 8" and twelve 6" rifles
    Authorized:  21 May 62
    

    Unnamed (Scotland): Built by Thomson at Glasgow, Scotland. Launched 24 Feb 64. Sometimes known as "Santa Maria," "Frigate No. 61," "North's Ironclad," and "The Scottish Sea Monster." She was a large conventional ironclad, but poorly-built, and not well adapted to the Confederacy's needs. Her sale to the Confederacy was blocked by the British government, and she was sold to Denmark, becoming the Danmark.


    Unknowns and Uncertainties:

    CSS Arctic: Occasionally identified as an ironclad, but was a floating battery.

    CSS "Ashley": Name suggested for what became CSS Charleston.

    CSS Barataria: Sometimes spelled Barrataria. Partially armored, along the lines of a Union "tinclad." Captured by Union forces and used as a transport.

    CSS "Brandywine": Mistaken name in Union reports for CSS Richmond.

    CSS "Caddo": Name originally suggested for CSS Missouri.

    CSS "Chickahominy": Mistaken name in Union reports for CSS Fredericksburg.

    "CSS Columbus": A monitor-type vessel, intended for construction at Columbus GA, but materials never collected for construction. Planned to be 175' long, 45' beam, 9' depth of hold, carrying two 11" Brooke smoothbores in a wooden turret with 12" of iron plating.

    CSS "Courier": Mistaken name in Union reports for CSS Chicora.

    CSS J.A.Cotton: Partially armored, along the lines of a Federal "tinclad." Some confusion exists because of a later, unarmored vessel of the same name.

    "CSS Phoenix": Built at Mobile AL, never finished. Sunk across main ship channel approaching Mobile in August 1864, later burned. Some sources identify her as a ram, but official records designate her a floating battery. Recent dives sponsored by Florida State University suggest she was a sister ship of the CSS Nashville, never completed. It is not clear at present how many vessels were of the Nashville type.

    CSS Pontchartrain (ex-Lizzie Simmons): Occasionally listed as an ironclad, but was an unarmored ram.

    CSS Republic: A ram destoyed at Yazoo City MS along with several other craft. Sources conflict as to whether she was intended for conversion to an ironclad.

    "Dismal Swamp Ironclads": Several vessels (from four to eight?) laid down in 1862 in the tidewater region of Virginia between Norfolk and Elizabeth City NC, bearing some resemblance to the Albemarle and her sisters. None were completed.

    Unnamed: Some sources indicate that a Confederate ironclad was intended to be constructed at Pensacola, but nothing else is known.

    Return to Ironclads and Blockade Runners