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CSS Manassas

Discussion in 'Civil War History - The Naval War' started by Grendel1367, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. Grendel1367

    Grendel1367 Private

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    I've read differing accounts on the operations of the CSS Manassas following the attack on the Union Fleet at the Head of Passes. Does anybody know the actual facts on whether the Manassas actually made it all the way up to Columbus, Kentucky such that it could have helped with the defenses there if the Union forces had first come down the Mississippi River in December 1861 or January 1862 rather than down the Tennessee River in February 1862?
     

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  3. Severon

    Severon Cadet

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    I don't know but will look it up.
     
  4. Susquehanna River Rat

    Susquehanna River Rat Private

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    Grendel,
    I have her listed as being present at the Head of Passes on 12 Oct, 1861 under the command of Capt. Hollins. She rammed the USS Richmond and damaged her seriously below the waterline. In the attack, the CSS Manassas was damaged. She lost her prow and smokestack and her engine was temporarily thrown out of gear. After that, she took heavy fire from the USS Preble but the shots just glanced off of the CSS Manassas. The CSS Manassas had to retire from the battle due to her damage. I really don´t think she went anywhere after that but to get repaired. The only other mention to your time period is that she was purchased for direct ownership by the Confederate Government 2 months later (December 1861?)
    The next entry is 24 April 1862 when she attacked the Union Fleet at Forts Jackson and St Phillips on the lower Mississippi. No other information is available.
    Ref: Civil War Naval Chronology 1861-1865, Vol VI
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Severon

    Severon Cadet

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    Well, the rat beat me to it. Hope that helps.
     
  6. Grendel1367

    Grendel1367 Private

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    http://rosswar.blogspot.com/

    The above website discusses preparations to defend Columbus and Belmont in 1861/1862. A quarter of the way down the discussions is the following:

    "Flag-Officer George N. Hollins arrived from New Orleans in late November, 1861, with a half dozen wooden gunboats of the Confederate States Navy. The Confederate Navy iron clad ram Manassas was also stationed for a while at Columbus. In December the 20 gun floating artillery battery New Orleans was towed up river to complete the defenses of the "Gibraltar of the West."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Island_Number_Ten

    The above wikipedia link discusses the later Battle of Island No. 10. A third of the way down the discussion is the following:

    "The Confederate Navy also supported the position. Flag Officer George N. Hollins commanded six gunboats in the river between Fort Pillow and Island No. 10. All of these were unarmored; the armored ram CSS Manassas would have been there also, but she was found to be unable to operate in the relatively shallow water. She was damaged by running aground on the way north, so she was sent back to New Orleans"
     
  7. 5fish

    5fish 2nd Lieutenant

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    I think I found where CSS Manassas went to get her repairs of ramming the Richmond. You wont believe where.

    Hampton Roads VA. here is the link..

    The Chesapeake Command - Google Books Result
    by Les Eldridge - 2006 - Fiction - 272 pages
    ... ladder from the turtle-backed hull of CSS Manassas to the dry floor of the drydock. ... The crew of the ironclad was quartered aboard, during repairs. ...
    books.google.com/books?isbn=0972630376... -

    http://books.google.com/books?id=qc...BjgK#v=onepage&q=CSS Manassas repairs&f=false


    That is a long trip, I thought she most likely was repaired in new Orleans but I seem to be wrong.

    I found this and it on the Tender called Phoenix...

    SwTug:
    cpl. 75

    PHOENIX, an unarmed high-pressure tender to CSS MANASSAS, was under the
    command of Capt. James Brown. She took part in the engagement at Forts
    Jackson and St. Philip and was destroyed there on 24 April 1862 as a
    part of Comdr. J. K. Mitchell's flotilla.

    The CSS Manassas has it own tender...
     
  8. Grendel1367

    Grendel1367 Private

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    It is pretty clear the book you cite is fiction.

    The websites that list Manasas at Ten Mile Island and/or Columbus are nonfiction. So, anybody have any good sources that either verify or disagree?
     
  9. 5fish

    5fish 2nd Lieutenant

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    The fame Dewey was the 2nd in command of the USS Mississippi when it encounter the CSS Manassas. He won the duel with a wooden hull ship. A captain Smith was in command

    Protected by a large garrison, the heavy guns of two forts and other batteries, and a small Confederate fleet that included the ironclad ram CSS Manassas—plus the Mississippi River currents, twists and treacherous snags—New Orleans seemed impregnable. But, as Dewey later wrote about the man who became his role model, “Farragut always went ahead.” From Farragut, Dewey learned not to overrate an enemy’s strength, enhanced as it usually was by fear and rumor. He also learned the import of decisive action when Manassas tried to ram Mississippi. Only a quick command from Dewey to the helmsman turned a potentially deadly direct hit into a glancing blow.

    Below is a bio on the CSS Manassas it has the encounter between the her and the USS Mississippi...


    IrcRam:
    t. 387;
    l. 143';
    b. 33';
    dph. 17';
    cpl. 36;
    a. 1 64-pdr. Dahlgren, later replaced by 1 32-pdr.

    CSS MANASSAS, formerly the steam propeller ENOCH TRAIN, was built at
    Medford, Mass., by J. O. Curtis in 1855. A New Orleans commission
    merchant, Capt. J. A. Stevenson, acquired her for use as a privateer and
    fitted her out at Algiers, La., as an ironclad ram of radically modern
    design. Covered with 1-inch iron plating, her hull projected only 2 feet
    above the water, and her plated top was convex causing cannon shot to
    glance off harmlessly. She was provided with sharp irons on her bow to
    stave holes through enemy vessels. Fast moving, lying low in the water
    and a difficult target, virtually bomb-proof, she looked like a floating
    cigar or egg shell and was described by Union intelligence as a "hellish
    machine."

    Commissioned as a Confederate privateer on 12 September 1861 MANASSAS
    was seized soon afterwards by Flag Officer G. N. Hollins, CSN, for use
    in the lower Mississippi River. With Lieutenant A. F. Worley, CSN, in
    command she participated in Flag Officer Hollins' surprise attack on the
    Federal blockading squadron at Head of Passes, Mississippi River, on 12
    October 1861. In the action MANASSAS violently rammed USS RICHMOND
    damaging her severely below the water line. MANASSAS, however, suffered
    the loss of her prow and smokestack and had her engines temporarily
    thrown out of gear from the impact. She managed to retire under heavy
    fire from USS PREBLE and RICHMOND whose shells glanced off her armor.
    Two months after this engagement MANASSAS was purchased for direct
    ownership by the Confederate Government.

    Under Lieutenant Worley, MANASSAS joined the force of Capt. J. K.
    Mitchell, CSN, commanding Confederate naval forces in the lower
    Mississippi. She participated in the engagement of 24 April 1862 during
    which Flag Officer Farragut, USN, on his way to New Orleans, ran his
    fleet past the Confederate forts Jackson and St. Philip. In the action
    MANASSAS attempted to ram USS PENSACOLA which turned in time to avoid
    the blow and deliver a broadside at close range. MANASSAS then ran into
    murderous fire from the whole line of the Union fleet. She then charged
    USS MISSISSIPPI and delivered a long glancing blow on her hull, firing
    her only gun as she rammed. Next she rammed USS BROOKLYN, again firing
    her gun, and injuring her rather deeply, but not quite enough to be
    fatal.

    After this action MANASSAS followed the Union fleet quietly for a while
    but as she drew closer MISSISSIPPI furiously turned on her. MANASSAS
    managed to dodge the blow but was run aground. Her crew escaped as
    MISSISSIPPI poured her heavy broadsides on the stranded Confederate
    vessel. Later MANASSAS slipped off the bank and drifted down the river
    in flames past the Union mortar flotilla. Comdr. D. D. Porter, USN, in
    command of the mortar boats, tried to save her as an engineering
    curiosity but MANASSAS exploded and immediately plunged under water.

    MANASSAS, see FLORIDA

    I thought it was interesting...
     
  10. 5fish

    5fish 2nd Lieutenant

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    I think I found the answer to your first question....

    The Confederate Navy also supported the position. Flag Officer George N. Hollins commanded six gunboats in the river between Fort Pillow and Island No. 10. All of these were unarmored; the armored ram CSS Manassas would have been there also, but she was found to be unable to operate in the relatively shallow water. She was damaged by running aground on the way north, so she was sent back to New Orleans.

    Here is the link to the site..

    http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Battle_of_Island_Number_Ten


    Where the CSS Manassas was repaired I still think it was in New Orleans because of the tender Phoenix. What I know about naval tenders is they are there to support and help maintain and fix ships or boats. I do not know what naval tenders duties were in the 1860's...

    The book I found was a historical fiction book but i think the story of the CSS Manassas being in Hampton Roads is fiction.....still looking.

    See, CSS Manassas was built at Algiers Point, LA so she should have been repaired there too.



    LOUISIANA
    Algiers Point (East side)
    John Hughes Shipyard
    GPS 29.9555N; 90.0526
    Conversion site of the CSS MANASSAS

    Image by the Founder
    There is no sign marking this location.
    Currently (2003) a small condo overlooks the site beyond the levee on the north side of the old waterfront area.
    CSS MANASSAS

    is considered the world's first fighting ironclad steamer and was first a commissioned privateer and converted from a towboat (tug Enoch Train) to an ironclad ram at Algiers and taken over by the CSN.
    Credit goes to Capt. John A. Stevenson of New Orleans.
    See the book "Confederate Privateers", by Robinson.

    Here I found this book read chapter 5 there's a good story behind the Head of Passes battle and in the end the Manassas ends up next to a drydock...the link

    http://books.google.com/books?id=M1...e&q=CSS Manassas John Hughes Shipyard&f=false
     
  11. Grendel1367

    Grendel1367 Private

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    I've posted a message on the blog asking the blog's owner for his source or further information about the Manassas at Columbus. Hopefully useful information will be provided!
     
  12. 5fish

    5fish 2nd Lieutenant

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    I think I found the answer,,, The records were lost or destroyed so only i wittiness account are used. Confederate Flag Officer Hollins states he sent the Manassas back because it ran aground on the trip up. Lieut Read Xo of the McRae states the Manassas was there.

    Here the link to the book...read form bottom of page 243 to page 245

    http://books.google.com/books?id=rT...v=onepage&q=hollins Columbus Kentucky&f=false

    Maybe the Manassas made the trip but the waters around Columbus were to shallow for her to operate and she was sent back to New Orleans

    Note Do any Union reports mention Manassas being there I think not...Back then no one forgot an encounter the confederate turtle ironclad...

    I hope this answers your quest....
     
  13. TerryB

    TerryB Captain

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    I remember seeing a woodcut in the style of Harper's Weekly a few years back. It showed the "Rebel Ram Manassas" in action. Wish I could remember the name of the book, which was mostly captioned illustrations from newspapers of the time. But here's a sketch of her passing the Harriet Lane. http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/h46000/h46620.jpg
     
  14. M E Wolf

    M E Wolf Brigadier General Moderator

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    Navy O.R.-- Series II--Volume 1
    Index -- Confederate States Vessels.
    C. S. S. MANASSAS.
    Acquisition.--Purchased in 1861, and converted into an ironclad ram at Algiers, La.
    Description.--Steamer; iron-plated ram.
    Tonnage.--387.
    Dimensions.--Length, 143'; beam, 33'; depth 17'.
    Draft. --11'
    Engines.--Inclined; 2 cylinders 36" in diameter; stroke, 2' 6".
    Battery.--February 27 and April 24, 1862, 1 32-pounder carronade in bow.
    Disposition.--Sunk in battle below New Orleans, La., April 24, 1862,
    Remarks.-- Formerly Enoch Train, built in Boston in 1855.
    [[There is a photo of the C.S.S. MANASSAS in the Naval Official Records and it looks like its a metal cigar half submerged with a smoke stack in the middle of it.]]

    C. S. S. MANASSAS.
    Acquisition.--Seized at New Berne, N.C.
    Description.--
    Class: Revenue cutter.
    Rig: Schooner.
    Disposition.--Soon dismantled.
    ============================================================
    O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME VI, Chapter XVI [S# 6]
    APRIL 18-MAY 1, 1862.--Bombardment and capture of Forts Jackson and Saint Phillip, and occupation of New Orleans, La., by the Union forces.
    No. 3. -- Reports of Maj. Gen. Mansfield Lovell, C. S. Army.

    Inclosure. ]
    HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT No. 1,
    Vicksburg, Miss., May 22, 1862.
    SIR: Herewith I have the honor to transmit the reports of Brigadier-Generals Duncan and Smith, with the accompanying documents, of the operations preceding and attendant upon the fall of New Orleans.
    [excerpt]
    At my suggestion Governor Moore had also fitted up two steamers, which were sent to the forts below the city. A large number of fire rafts were also constructed and towed down, and two small steamers were employed for the special purpose of towing these rafts into position where they could be most effective, so as to leave the armed vessels free to operate against the enemy.

    I telegraphed General Beauregard to send down the iron-clad ram Manassas, and when the Secretary of the Navy ordered the steamer Louisiana to be sent also up the river I protested through the War Department, being satisfied that we required more heavy guns below.«33 R -- VOL VI» She was eventually permitted to go down the river on Sunday, April 20, but not in a condition to use her motive power with effect. It was hoped that, notwithstanding this, she would be able to assume a position below Fort Saint Philip, discovering the location of the mortar boats, and, being herself proof against direct fire, dislodge the enemy with her guns, which were of very heavy caliber. Knowing also that the incessant bombardment kept General Duncan closely confined to Fort Jackson, so that he could give no orders to the river defense steamers, I placed the whole under the control of Captain Mitchell--the armed steamers as well as the tugs intended to tow down the fire rafts.

    I will here state that the river-defense fleet proved a failure for the very reasons set forth in my letter to the Department of April 15. Unable to govern themselves, and unwilling to be governed by others, their almost total want of system, vigilance, and discipline rendered them nearly useless and helpless when the enemy finally dashed upon them suddenly on a dark night. I regret very much that the Department did not think it advisable to grant my request to place some competent head in charge of these steamers.

    Learning subsequently that the Louisiana was anchored above the forts and that the fire rafts were not sent down, I telegraphed Captain Mitchell, requesting him to attend to it, and afterwards called upon Commodore Whittle and entreated him to order the steamer to take the desired position below the forts. This he declined to do, but telegraphed Captain Mitchell, telling him to "strain a point to place the vessel there if in his judgment it was advisable? No change, however, was made, and on the night of April 23 I went down myself in a steamboat, to urge Captain Mitchell to have the Louisiana anchored in the position indicated, and also to ascertain why the fire rafts were not sent down. A few moments after I arrived the attack commenced, and the enemy succeeded in passing with fourteen ships, as described in General Dunce’s report, and the battle of New Orleans, as against ships of war, was over.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    NEW ORLEANS, LA., April 30, 1862.
    MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the bombardment of Forts Jackson and Saint Philip, La., from April 16 to 24:
    [excerpt]
    The naval authorities also sent down the confederate States steam ram Manassas, Captain [A. F.] Warley, C. S. Navy, commanding. She was stationed a short distance above Fort Jackson, with her steam up constantly, to act against the enemy as the occasion might offer.

    Subsequently, also, Capt. F. B. Renshaw, C. S. Navy, arrived, in command of the Confederate States steamer Jackson.
    ---------------------------------------------
    O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME VI, Chapter XVI [S# 6]
    APRIL 18-MAY 1, 1862.--Bombardment and capture of Forts Jackson and Saint Phillip, and occupation of New Orleans, La., by the Union forces.
    No. 5. -- Report of Lieut. Col. Edward Higgins, C. S. Army, of the bombardment and capture of Forts Jackson and Saint Philip.
    HDQRS. FORTS JACKSON AND SAINT PHILIP, LA.,
    April 27, 1862.
    SIR: I have the honor to report that on Friday, the 18th instant, the naval force of the United States, which has been for some weeks in the river making preparations for an attack on these forts, commenced the bombardment of Fort Jackson. Fire from their mortar fleet was opened at 9 a.m.
    [excerpt]
    The floating battery Louisiana, the steam ram Manassas, and the Confederate steamer McRae. together with a number of vessels which had been fitted up by the Confederate and State Governments, were in the river above the forts at the time the enemy dashed by. I am unable to state what assistance. if any, was rendered by the greater portion of these vessels.

    At daylight I observed the McRae gallantly fighting at terrible odds-- contending at close quarters with two of the enemy's powerful ships. Her gallant commander, Lieut. Thomas B. Huger, fell during the conflict severely but, I trust, not mortally wounded.

    The Manassas I observed under way, apparently in pursuit of one of the vessels of the enemy, but I soon lost, sight of her.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME VI, Chapter XVI [S# 6]
    APRIL 18-MAY 1, 1862.--Bombardment and capture of Forts Jackson and Saint Phillip, and occupation of New Orleans, La., by the Union forces.
    No. 8. -- Proceedings of the Court of Inquiry upon the fall of New Orleans.
    [excerpt]
    Examination of Maj. Gen. MANSFIELD LOVELL continued.
    By the JUDGE-ADVOCATE:
    Question. What instructions, if any, did you receive on assuming command, from the War Department? What report was made to you by your predecessor of the existing state of affairs at the time; and what was the general mi1itary condition of Department No. 1 as you found it?
    [excerpt]
    On the water there were two small vessels, the McRae and the Joy, and the ram Manassas, with one gun. Two river steamboats were being strengthened and ironed for service, the keels of two iron-clad ships— the Louisiana and Mississippi— had been lately laid, and two smaller gunboats, for service on Lake Pontchartrain, were on the stocks in the Bayou Saint John.
    This is about the condition of the preparations on November 1, about the time I assumed command. I would add that several new regiments were in process of organization and preparation at Camp Moore, 78 miles north of the city, but were only partially armed and equipped. There were in all five new regiments, which were unfit to take the field.
    The court adjourned to 10 a.m. the 8th instant.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    [excerpt]
    I sent a regiment of troops, under Colonel Szymanski, to the quarantine to prevent an approach to the river bank above Fort Saint Philip by the enemy; but the unprecedented high water dislodged the troops, who were removed to the west bank, where they were located until they were captured by the enemy's fleet. Sharpshooters were also organized by my orders for service on the banks of the river below the forts. Obtaining a few heavy guns from Pensacola, I got 120 negroes from the planters on the river and sent them to General Duncan for mounting those guns in an additional water battery outside of Fort Jackson. General Duncan, lately promoted, had been placed by me in command of all the works of the exterior lines and made his headquarters at Fort Jackson. I also sent to General Beauregard for the ram Manassas, which he finally sent down, and she took part in the battle of the 24th.
    -------------------------------------------------
    CHARLESTON, S.C., May 19, 1863--10 a.m.
    The court met pursuant to adjournment.
    Present, all the members of the court, the judge-advocate, and Maj. Gen. Mansfield Lovell.
    Lieut. A. F. WARLEY, C. S. Navy, was then sworn and examined as a witness.
    By the JUDGE-ADVOCATE:
    Question. State your rank in the Navy, and where you were on duty in April, 1862.
    Answer. I am first lieutenant in the C. S. Navy, and was in command of the Confederate States ram Manassas, between Forts Saint Philip and Jackson, in April, 1862.
    [excerpt]
    Question. If the ram Manassas and one or two other war steamers had been placed in position at the bar below the forts, do you think the enemy would have attempted to lighten over their ships of war while thus exposed to our fire I

    Answer. I do not think they would; but at that time the Manassas had been sent up the river and had her propellers broken to pieces.

    [excerpt]
    Question. State in general terms your opinion of the means placed at the disposal of the naval officers at New Orleans to enable them to cooperate with the land forces in preventing the passage of the forts on April 24, 1862, mentioning each vessel and its efficiency.

    Answer. We had the Louisiana, a formidable vessel, with a powerful battery, but without motive power. Her crew was of mixed character, some good men and some indifferent; at least such is my opinion, based upon the fact that some of her crew were from the Army, others from the lake fleet, &c. The McRae was a light vessel, with a fine crew; her battery consisted of one heavy 9-inch gun and six light 3-2-pounders; the 9-inch gun burst early in the action; for her size she was a very efficient vessel. The Jackson was only a river boat, with two 32-pounders; she was not in the light; and the Manassas, a tug-boat that had been converted into a ram, covered with half-inch iron, and had a 32-pounder carronade; her crew consisted of thirty-five persons, officers and men. She was perforated in the fight by shot and shell as if she had been made of paper. These vessels constituted the entire naval force.

    By a MEMBER OF THE COURT:
    Question. Were any torpedoes placed in any of the passes leading into the Mississippi, and could they have been there used to advantage?

    Answer. I do not know of any being used there; if they could have been used to advantage anywhere they might have been there.
    The court adjourned to meet at 10 a.m. to-morrow
    -----------------------------------------------------------
     
  15. Grendel1367

    Grendel1367 Private

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    Manassas

    Useful info! Thanks for the research

    Thanks
     
  16. M E Wolf

    M E Wolf Brigadier General Moderator

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    O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME VI, Chapter XVI [S# 6]
    APRIL 18-MAY 1, 1862.--Bombardment and capture of Forts Jackson and Saint Phillip, and occupation of New Orleans, La., by the Union forces.
    No. 8. -- Proceedings of the Court of Inquiry upon the fall of New Orleans.
    [excerpt]
    Capt. GEORGE N. HOLLINS was next sworn and examined as a witness.
    By Maj. Gen. MANSFIELD LOVELL:

    Question. What position did you hold at New Orleans and in the West in the latter part of 1861 and the first part of 1862?

    Answer. At New Orleans I commanded all the vessels afloat and the naval station. In the West, near New Madrid and Island No. 10, I only commanded the vessels afloat. I left New Orleans in January or February, 1862, Commander Whittle then assuming command of the station, but not the vessels afloat.

    Question. State the force you took with you from New Orleans above and what force you left there.

    Answer. I took with me from New Orleans eight vessels, averaging six guns each, except the Manassas; that had but one gun. I left no naval force at New Orleans. General Lovell urged me to leave some of the vessels there, but this I could not do, as my orders from the Navy Department were to take them all above.

    [excerpt]
    Question. From what failure, if any, to take necessary and possible measures of defense did the capture of New Orleans result?

    Answer. Had my squadron been at the mouth of the river I could have kept the enemy from crossing the bar; their heavier ships had to be lightened very greatly; their armament, &c., taken out before they could have been put over; I could then have whipped their smaller craft with my squadron, and have prevented their larger vessels from getting over if it had not been in my power to have destroyed them. Subsequently, when the enemy's fleet was in the river, if I had been permitted, I could have taken my squadron and have driven him back at the time he passed the forts. The refusal of the Secretary of the Navy to allow these measures to be carried out is the cause, in my judgment, of the fall of New Orleans.
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    Commander J. K. MITCHELL was then duly sworn and examined as a witness.
    By the JUDGE-ADVOCATE:
    [excerpt]
    Question. State the number of vessels, their armament, condition, &c., constituting your command.

    Answer. The principal vessel of my command was the steamer Louisiana, iron clad, mounting sixteen guns; was without sufficient motive power even to stem the current of the Mississippi without the aid of her two tenders, the Landis and W. Burton. Her two propellers were not ready for use, and were designed more to assist in steering than in the expectation of adding to her speed, and her rudders had little, if any, power to control her movements. Most of her guns had to be dismantled after arriving at Fort Saint Philip and shifted to points where they could be worked, and one of them was not in position in the action of April 24, being dismounted. The crew of the Louisiana, aided by men from the McRae, was employed constantly, night and day, in arranging the battery for action. The decks were thus, from this cause and the presence of numerous mechanics employed in completing machinery for the propellers, the ironing of the decks, and calking wheel-houses, much incumbered, and being very cramped at best for room, prevented the proper exercise of the men at their guns. This condition of her motive power and battery rendered her not only unfit for offensive operations against the enemy, but also for defense, as, being immovable, her guns all around could only command about 40 degrees of the horizon, leaving 320 degrees of a circle on which she could have been approached by an enemy without being able to bring a gun to bear upon him. Her guns, from the small size of her ports, could not be elevated more than 4 to 5 degrees, which with our best guns would not have given a range probably of more than 2,000 yards. The means for purchasing her anchors were inadequate, and it was utterly impossible to weigh them, when once they were let go, either from the bow or stern, and, indeed, her steering apparatus prevented her being anchored by the stern in the middle of the river, a position, under all the circumstances, I should have preferred to being tied to the river bank, by which more guns might have been used against the enemy, and the vessel might have been warped or sprung, so as to bring some of her guns to bear upon any given point. The quarters for the crew of the Louisiana were wholly insufficient, and for her officers there were none at all, except on the shield deck or roof, under a tented awning. Most of the officers and crew had to live on board two tenders, which were also required as tugs, without which the vessel could not be moved at all. The shield of the Louisiana was effective, for none of the enemy's projectiles passed through it; but as it only extended to the water line, a shot between wind and water must have penetrated the perpendicular pine sides. In addition to the Louisiana, the following vessels of the C. S. Navy were under my command at the forts, viz: The steamer McRae, Lieut. Commanding Thomas B. Huger, with six light 32-pounder smooth-bore broadside guns, and one 9-inch shell gun pivoted amidships--total, seven; the steamer Jackson, Lieut. Commanding F. B. Renshaw, two pivoted smooth-bore 32-pounders, one forward and one aft; the iron-plated ram Manassas, Lieut.-Commanding A. F. Warley, one 32-pounder in bow; launch No. 3, Acting Master Telford, and one howitzer, 20 men; launch No. 6, Acting Master Fairbanks, one howitzer, and 20 men. Also the following converted sea steamers into Louisiana State gunboats, with pine and cotton barricades to protect the machinery and boilers, viz: The Governor Moore, Commander Beverly Kennon, two 32-pounder rifled guns; the General Quitman, Captain Grant, two 32pounder guns. All the above steamers, being converted vessels, were too slightly built for war purposes. The following unarmed steamers belonged to my command, viz: The Phœnix, Captain -----, tender to the Manassas; the W. Burton, Captain Hammond, tender to the Louisiana, and the Landis, Captain Davis, tender to the Louisiana. The following-named steamers, chartered by the Army, were placed under my orders, viz: The Mosher, Captain Sherman, a very small tug; the Belle Algerine, Captain--, a small tug; the Star, Captain La Place, used as telegraph station, and the Music, Captain McClellan, tender to the forts. The two former were in bad condition, and were undergoing such repairs as could be made below previous to the 24th. On arriving below I delivered to Captain Stephenson written orders from Maj. Gen. M. Lovell, requiring him to place all the river-defense gunboats under my orders, which consisted of the following converted tow-boats, viz: 1st, the Warrior, under the immediate command of Captain Stephenson; 2d, the Stonewall Jackson, Captain Philips; 3d, the Resolute, Captain Hooper; 4th, the Defiance, Captain McCoy; and, 5th, The General Lovell,------ ----- The R. J. Breckinridge, ---------, joined the evening before the action. All of the above vessels mounted from one to two pivot 32-pounders each, some of them rifled. Their boilers and machinery were all more or less protected by thick double pine barricades, filled in with compressed cotton, which, though not regarded as proof against heavy solid shot, shell, and incendiary projectiles, would have been a protection against grape and canister, and ought to have inspired those on board with sufficient confidence to use their boats boldly as rams, for which they were in a good measure prepared with flat bar-iron casing around their bows. In thus using them their own safety would be best consulted, as well as the best way of damaging the vessels of the enemy.

    [excerpt]
    Question. If the fire rafts and guard boats were under your command, state why they were not used to watch the enemy's movements the morning the enemy's fleet passed the forts.


    Answer. The fire boats were under my control, and Captain Stephenson reported to me the evening of the 23d that each me of his vessels and the two tugs had a fire boat secured to her, ready for firing, and to be towed against the enemy's vessels in the event of an attack. I was getting, however, most of the fire boats into position to be chained or strung together, and so made to form a cordon, if possible, entirely across the river on the enemy's attempting to pass the forts, for which purpose they had been specially prepared, chiefly under my direction, and with some aid from General Smith, before they were sent down from New Orleans, the chains for which had, however, been scattered about so that the fire boats could not be made ready in this manner before the attack of the enemy. The little unarmed tug Mosher, it is thought, was the only one that succeeded in towing one of the fire boats against a vessel of the enemy by which she was set on fire, but it was soon extinguished, and the Mosher sunk by the enemy's shot. I am not aware of more than one or two of the fire boats having been fired during the passage of the enemy. The night of April 20, on my way down in the Louisiana, the enemy's boats are said to have visited the raft obstructions and cut the chain. To prevent further injury to it, and to break up the night reconnaissances of the enemy, and to watch and report all his movements, I was unsuccessful in my efforts to get Captain Stephenson to employ one or two of his gunboats below the obstructions at night. Although favoring the idea, he seemed to have no confidence in the fitness of his commanders for the service, and I could not induce him to give the necessary orders.to them. I had no suitable vessels for this duty under my command—the only one that would have answered (the Jackson) having been sent with launch No. 3 5 miles above to the quarantine station, at the request of General Duncan, to watch the enemy in that neighborhood and prevent his approach through any of the adjacent bayous and canals. The vessels under Captain Stephenson having guns aft, and being converted tow-boats, were well calculated for the duty of making reconnaissances or keeping guard below from their light draught, easy management in the river, and being comparatively low in the water. The McRae, Manassas, Governor Moore, and the General Quitman were all converted sea steamers of a deep draught, great length, high out of the water, except The Manassas, and very difficult to handle, and none of them, I think, had after guns. One of the two launches (No. 6) was kept near me, for the special purpose of acting as a guard boat for the two nights preceding the action, and was well provided with the means for signaling the approach of any unusual movement of the enemy by firing its howitzer and setting off' rockets. She was stationed below Saint Philip, but on the appearance of the enemy, or sooner, her commander deserted his station, returned clandestinely to the Louisiana, made no report of it, and, consequently, no alarm was given, at least by him.
     
  17. timmy3

    timmy3 Cadet

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2010
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    Location:
    memphis
    Hi everyone. I just found these boards over the weekend. I was searching for information about the Manassas and came across this thread.

    I have a collection of letters from a Tn. Vol who was at Columbus from early Oct. until Island 10 fell. In a letter dated Nov. 21 he writes that Commodore Hollins arrived on a gun boat and that the Manassas is to follow with several other gun boats and 2 floating batteries.

    The next letter is dated Dec. 8 and he writes that the Manassas has arrived in Columbus. The best part of the letter is that he draws a sketch of the Manassas and descibes it for his family.

    So there ya go, it did make it to Columbus and was docked at the town landing for at least sometime.
     
    Yankeedave likes this.
  18. 5fish

    5fish 2nd Lieutenant

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    You may have a historical important piece of info there. In my search to answer the question there was no definitive answer to the question if the Manassas made the trip to Columbus. It seems you have the answer,,,,In the book I listed below written in 1894, he could only find deferring accounts if the Manssas made the trip or not

    History of the Confederate States navy from its organization to the ... By John Thomas Scharf
     
  19. timmy3

    timmy3 Cadet

    Joined:
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    memphis
    Looking thru other letters today, it seems the Manassas stayed in Columbus at least thru the 14th of Dec. He wrote that a battery of 20 heavy guns was also in place by then.
     
  20. 5fish

    5fish 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Central Florida
    You said you were looking for more info on the CSS Manassas so I putting in a link to another thread on this forum about the CSS Manassas...You may have already found it but there are links within that thread to other internet sites about the Manassas,,,


    http://civilwartalk.com/forums/civi.../33633-css-manassas-best-confederate-ram.html


    Your letters how did you come across them? Were they past down form in gemeration to the next in your family?
     
  21. timmy3

    timmy3 Cadet

    Joined:
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    Location:
    memphis
    I was very lucky and in the right place at the right time. The collection was given to me by relatives of the soldier. They didn't want them. Go figure.

    The Manassas, and the whole Columbus, Island 10 time period is interesting to me because this soldier paints such a vivid picture of what was happening there.

    Plus his family was in Memphis at the time and I'm a Memphian, so I love the letters that deal with Memphis before and during the war.
     

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