154th Anniversary of the Battle of Hampton Roads

JohnDLittlefield

Sergeant
Joined
Jan 8, 2016
Location
Charlestonian displaced to Bodrum,Turkey
I have spent the last week reading Craig Symonds Confederate Admiral: The Life and Wars of Franklin Buchanan. Coincidentally, today I am reading the chapter (and more) on the Battle of Hampton Roads with Virginia under Buchanan's command. It's an impressively researched and written book. If you haven't read it, consider doing so on this anniversary date of one of the war's most important (naval) battles.
 

Talos

Corporal
Joined
Aug 15, 2014
I like that book, I have my copy sitting on my desk here. Lot of fun. I've been pondering sketching out ideas for an ironclad based on Plymouth as mentioned in another thread here and the design work on Virginia in there is invaluable.

Another good one is Reign of Iron by James L. Nelson. Rather than Park's focus on one ship, it's a general history of the battle and the events leading up to it.

(I'm writing this up the James River from Hampton Roads, near City Point)
 

rebelatsea

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Location
Kent ,England.
I like that book, I have my copy sitting on my desk here. Lot of fun. I've been pondering sketching out ideas for an ironclad based on Plymouth as mentioned in another thread here and the design work on Virginia in there is invaluable.

Another good one is Reign of Iron by James L. Nelson. Rather than Park's focus on one ship, it's a general history of the battle and the events leading up to it.

(I'm writing this up the James River from Hampton Roads, near City Point)
I'd be interested to see what you come up with. The USS Plymouth was so little damaged, you would be working with an intact ship ! I've thought about it but never done anything on paper.
 

Talos

Corporal
Joined
Aug 15, 2014
I'd be interested to see what you come up with. The USS Plymouth was so little damaged, you would be working with an intact ship ! I've thought about it but never done anything on paper.

I'll post a thread for it once I've fully finished the basic Plymouth drawing, but I got a lot of work done on it today so I thought I'd post it here for now. Just need to get the sail plan done. I drew out the full interior to help with cutting it down and I intend to draw it along a shrunken CSS Virginia's lines, since they likely would have been built next to each other.

27aszDgh.jpg
 

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rebelatsea

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Location
Kent ,England.
I'll post a thread for it once I've fully finished the basic Plymouth drawing, but I got a lot of work done on it today so I thought I'd post it here for now. Just need to get the sail plan done. I drew out the full interior to help with cutting it down and I intend to draw it along a shrunken CSS Virginia's lines, since they likely would have been built next to each other.

27aszDgh.jpg
Talos, that's a great drawing, I use Canney's " Sailing Warships of the US Navy" when I need the lines, but I like that interpretation.
Charlie Robbins and I have just started discussing the might have been conversions at Norfolk.
May I suggest something? I think John L .Porter was astute enough to realise that his Virginia would not be the answer to the South's need for a seagoing ,or even coastal fleet. I feel that future conversions would have been based on either or both of two plans he had.
The first is the origin of the 150ft class gunboat, a much larger vessel, and the second was a seagoing ram gunboat.

John L. Porter produced a plan for a seagoing ironclad whose beam would have been limited by the width of the biggest dry dock at Gosport Navy Yard to 58ft. No copies of the plan have survived and this version is by the author, based on the proportions of the 150ft gunboat plan. .


Dimensions : 222ft OA x 56ft EX x 18ft draught, 3,197 tons displacement.

190ft PP x 46ft B x 21ft DPH

Expired Image Removed
However, as the emphasis of CSN ironclad design changed from offensive operations to coast and harbour defence, the design was reduced in size to produce the 150 ft gunboat plan which became known as the “Richmond”Type.

The second plan is this:

The January 1862 plan by John L Porter & William P Williamson


Type: Ironclad Casemate ship Screw(s): one. Speed: 9 knots

Dimensions:200ft (OA) x 42ft (EX) x 11ft(D), 1,320 tons

Guns: 8 guns, 6 in the casemate, 2 large guns fore and aft on pivot mountings.

Armour: 4 – 4.5 “ iron backing unknown.

Design: J.L. Porter & W.P.Williamson

History:
JLP & WPW January 1862 proposal.jpg




Sent by Mallory to Cdr Bullock in January 1862 to England. The plan above , by Bob Holcombe has been modified to correspond to the description given by John L Porter.
This plan seems, to me, to lend itself to a deep draught sailing ship hull.
I will leave it to you to decide which option to go for. I await the results with considerable interest.
 

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Carronade

Captain
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
Location
Pennsylvania
The big advantage of using Merrimack was that she already had boilers and engine, although they needed repair. It was possible to install steam power in sailing ships, but I wonder if they might be getting to the point where it would be easier simply to build an ironclad from scratch, which could be the exact design they wanted rather than an adaption of a different type ship.

In most cases, when sailing ships had steam power added, they remained the same type of ship - frigate, ship of the line, etc.
 

Talos

Corporal
Joined
Aug 15, 2014
Talos, that's a great drawing, I use Canney's " Sailing Warships of the US Navy" when I need the lines, but I like that interpretation.
Charlie Robbins and I have just started discussing the might have been conversions at Norfolk.
May I suggest something? I think John L .Porter was astute enough to realise that his Virginia would not be the answer to the South's need for a seagoing ,or even coastal fleet. I feel that future conversions would have been based on either or both of two plans he had.
The first is the origin of the 150ft class gunboat, a much larger vessel, and the second was a seagoing ram gunboat.

This plan seems, to me, to lend itself to a deep draught sailing ship hull.
I will leave it to you to decide which option to go for. I await the results with considerable interest.


Thanks, I use Howard Chapelle’s books as the source of most of the ships I’ve been drawing for the last couple years. The interior on this one is based on a drawing of Plymouth in the French archives posted on this board last year. The cannon drawings are drawn from scratch using a measurements table in Spencer Tucker’s Arming the Fleet: U.S. Navy Ordnance in the Muzzle-Loading Era.



I had figured she’d be an early conversion, before the operational experience of the Battle of Hampton Roads, which is why I hadn’t been looking at the Richmond-type, but I’m enjoying the thought of it being a bluffer Richmond-type with a more conventional hull than the Virginia II and others ended up with. The second one is interesting too. I can experiment with a couple different styles though.


The big advantage of using Merrimack was that she already had boilers and engine, although they needed repair. It was possible to install steam power in sailing ships, but I wonder if they might be getting to the point where it would be easier simply to build an ironclad from scratch, which could be the exact design they wanted rather than an adaption of a different type ship.

In most cases, when sailing ships had steam power added, they remained the same type of ship - frigate, ship of the line, etc.


Sailing ship conversions aren’t /that/ hard, though it probably would have been easier building a hull from scratch, especially the flat-bottomed designs they were doing later. They do already have the engines and boilers from the merchant ships, and the conversion to an ironclad is going to cut away most of the structure, leaving it easier to access the deepest parts of the ship for machinery installation. The biggest problem with these kinds of ships, based on British frigates and ships of the line conversions that didn’t get lengthened as part of the conversion was a huge lack of space. The engines, boilers, and coal bunkers will take up most of the hold in the center of the ship. As this ship is a short-ranged riverine boat, that won’t be a huge disadvantage for them.
 

rebelatsea

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Location
Kent ,England.
Thanks, I use Howard Chapelle’s books as the source of most of the ships I’ve been drawing for the last couple years. The interior on this one is based on a drawing of Plymouth in the French archives posted on this board last year. The cannon drawings are drawn from scratch using a measurements table in Spencer Tucker’s Arming the Fleet: U.S. Navy Ordnance in the Muzzle-Loading Era.



I had figured she’d be an early conversion, before the operational experience of the Battle of Hampton Roads, which is why I hadn’t been looking at the Richmond-type, but I’m enjoying the thought of it being a bluffer Richmond-type with a more conventional hull than the Virginia II and others ended up with. The second one is interesting too. I can experiment with a couple different styles though.





Sailing ship conversions aren’t /that/ hard, though it probably would have been easier building a hull from scratch, especially the flat-bottomed designs they were doing later. They do already have the engines and boilers from the merchant ships, and the conversion to an ironclad is going to cut away most of the structure, leaving it easier to access the deepest parts of the ship for machinery installation. The biggest problem with these kinds of ships, based on British frigates and ships of the line conversions that didn’t get lengthened as part of the conversion was a huge lack of space. The engines, boilers, and coal bunkers will take up most of the hold in the center of the ship. As this ship is a short-ranged riverine boat, that won’t be a huge disadvantage for them.
They wouldn't be riverine though, if the south held on to Norfolk they would be looking to build /convert for coastal and ocean service.
 

Talos

Corporal
Joined
Aug 15, 2014
They wouldn't be riverine though, if the south held on to Norfolk they would be looking to build /convert for coastal and ocean service.

Looking to and designing the ships for, but probably would have still been restricted to the James and Elizabeth Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay those flow into it. It's a long distance to the ocean and the only way out is guarded by Fort Monroe. That makes the lack of room for supplies on the ironclad less of a problem. They're cramped, with the crew sleeping where they work and not much space in the hold.
 

rebelatsea

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Location
Kent ,England.
Talos ,
Don't get hung up on river navigation, these vessels were deep draught ,heavy hulled seagoing ships. They would not be able to navigate rivers ,even when converted.
If they had been Plymouth and Germantown would have been taken up the James to Richmond.
Fortress Monroe is not a problem as it fronts a wide channel, knock Fort wool out and the way is free to challenge the USN blockading fleet.
 
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