Before CSS Manassas

rebelatsea

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#1
Many thanks to Georgew for the research that led to this unknown ( at least to me) proposal.

WHAT LED UP TO CSS MANASSAS

The three iron rams

Captain John A Stephenson proposed to construct 3 ironclad rams converted from existing steamships. These would be used as privateers. Navy Secretary Mallory declined the offer.

Stephenson then selected the tug Enoch Train, and the conversion carried out.
The plan below, by the author is drawn from eyewitness statements.
ENOCH TRAIN 1ST CONVERSION.jpg




The hull between light and load waterline was covered in 1” iron plate, as were the sides of the two gunhouses. These were open at each end, and roofed with boiler plate as was part of the deck She did not apparently receive her ordnance.
An 8ft long iron ram was attached to the bow.
The conversion was a failure, as the freeboard amidships was reduced to 30 inches, meaning that only the bulwark and rubbing strake was above water, as the sheer strakes fore and aft had been cut away.
The gunhouses were proof against small arms ,but a hit by heavy shot would probably push the whole thing overboard.
The vessel as converted would probably have been unstable and would not have been able to leave the river.
It was taken into dock and stripped to be converted into the Ram Manassas.

=============================================================
 
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Carronade

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#5
I've never understood the point of an ironclad ram as a privateer. The purpose of a privateer was to roam the seas and capture enemy merchant ships. They sailed for profit and would only fight warships if they couldn't avoid it. I suppose there was some appeal in the idea of a privateer that didn't have to run from warships, but these designs would compromise the characteristics a privateer needed to carry out its mission, speed, seakeeping, endurance - not to mention that under prize a privateer often had to accommodate the crews of ships it had captured.
 

rebelatsea

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#6
Ne
I've never understood the point of an ironclad ram as a privateer. The purpose of a privateer was to roam the seas and capture enemy merchant ships. They sailed for profit and would only fight warships if they couldn't avoid it. I suppose there was some appeal in the idea of a privateer that didn't have to run from warships, but these designs would compromise the characteristics a privateer needed to carry out its mission, speed, seakeeping, endurance - not to mention that under prize a privateer often had to accommodate the crews of ships it had captured.
Never made sense to me either, If you've just beaked a ship and made a hole in it it can't be sent in to a port to be adjudged.
 
Joined
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New Hampshire
#7
Hi all
Have to love those crazy civil war designs. Mabe the ram was put on to create the so called ram fever.just look how the union ships acted at the head of the passes when the manassas showed up.
GRIZZ
 

OpnCoronet

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#8
The confederate technocrats, believed that a few armored craft would compensate for lack of numbers., Which, technically, might have proven true, if the South had possessed a sufficient number of right technical expertise and adequate means of armor and guns. But in their absence, it was another lost cause, i.e., each succeeding csn ironclad from the css Virginia, were generally more inadequately armored and armed and more underpowered than its predecessors
 

rebelatsea

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#9
The confederate technocrats, believed that a few armored craft would compensate for lack of numbers., Which, technically, might have proven true, if the South had possessed a sufficient number of right technical expertise and adequate means of armor and guns. But in their absence, it was another lost cause, i.e., each succeeding csn ironclad from the css Virginia, were generally more inadequately armored and armed and more underpowered than its predecessors
The CSN did possess men with the technical expertise to produce good ironclads, and while there were some duds, basically because of using inadequate motive power, a lot of the later ironclads had the capability to be excellent vessels. The poor industrial and transport base was the weak link, causing unneccessary delay and lack of materials in the right place at the right time.
CSS Virginia was a hastily contrived conversion of a design that was intended for new build construction. John L Porter got the balance of weights wrong, and she was meant to be fully rifle armed, Her armour was adequate, but didn't extend fully underwater as had been intended, and she was too deep in draught in consequence of having to be heavily ballasted. She was also too slow in brackish esturial waters with her deep sailing vessel seagoing hull. Never fast even in fully operational condition the entire "class "were underpowered to start with.
 

OpnCoronet

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#10
The Iron Clads of the csn, more closely resembled floating batteries, protected by armor. designed to be self propelled, i.e., they were not really 'ships' capable of safely leaving the safety of harbors or out of the sight of land.
The south lacked trained boatwrights familiar with, and experienced in, building full fledged sea going craft. Building large craft with the correct curvature of bows and sterns was as much an art as a skill.
 

rebelatsea

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#11
The Iron Clads of the csn, more closely resembled floating batteries, protected by armor. designed to be self propelled, i.e., they were not really 'ships' capable of safely leaving the safety of harbors or out of the sight of land.
The south lacked trained boatwrights familiar with, and experienced in, building full fledged sea going craft. Building large craft with the correct curvature of bows and sterns was as much an art as a skill.
I 'have been studying the ironclads of the CSN for more than 30 years ,so can be expected to have a little knowledge on the subject.
That the south lacked trained shipwrights is a partial myth, what they didn't have was enough of them, the ironclads of the 150ft, 180ft, and derivative types all had conventional ship hulls. Nelson and Asa Tift and John L Porter came up with designs that avoided the use of traditional methods, Porter introducing the enormously strong "diamond hull" concept.
The Tift design concept was reintroduced to produce concrete vessels in the 20th Century, and a variant of it is currently being experimented with in connection with "stealth" concepts ( nothing to do with seaworthiness in this case)
Some were abject failures, Louisiana and Georgia come to mind, for reasons other than design
They were not intended nor expected to be "fully seagoing craft" but were intended for harbour and coast defence. CSS Raleigh was quite comfortable at sea, the USN were happy with ex CSS Tennessee ,once they had sorted the blowers out, and the later ironclads would certainly have been capable of operating in coastal waters.
Of the early designs, CSS Mississippi, CSS Arkansas and the first Tennessee would certainly have had coastal capability, had they been completed as designed.
 

OpnCoronet

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#13
I 'have been studying the ironclads of the CSN for more than 30 years ,so can be expected to have a little knowledge on the subject.
That the south lacked trained shipwrights is a partial myth, what they didn't have was enough of them, the ironclads of the 150ft, 180ft, and derivative types all had conventional ship hulls. Nelson and Asa Tift and John L Porter came up with designs that avoided the use of traditional methods, Porter introducing the enormously strong "diamond hull" concept.
The Tift design concept was reintroduced to produce concrete vessels in the 20th Century, and a variant of it is currently being experimented with in connection with "stealth" concepts ( nothing to do with seaworthiness in this case)
Some were abject failures, Louisiana and Georgia come to mind, for reasons other than design
They were not intended nor expected to be "fully seagoing craft" but were intended for harbour and coast defence. CSS Raleigh was quite comfortable at sea, the USN were happy with ex CSS Tennessee ,once they had sorted the blowers out, and the later ironclads would certainly have been capable of operating in coastal waters.
Of the early designs, CSS Mississippi, CSS Arkansas and the first Tennessee would certainly have had coastal capability, had they been completed as designed.



The point I am trying to make, is that I question the use of 'ironclad' as an accurate description of what were considered , at the time, of 'Iron Clad Ships of War', i.e., Most naval officers of that time envisioned ironclads as ocean going ships of war, like the French Le Gloire or even the USS New Ironsides. which, of course, was beyond the capabilities of the csa., so they turned their limited resources to the more practical ironclad rams.
I do not argue that what the csa produces was not what was not only practical but also, more useful than a USS New Ironside. Merely that, what the csa could produce in the way of naval ships of any kind was severely limited, by a lack of general expertise and resources. Even adequate rams, as already noted, was rapidly becoming beyond the capacity of the south in both expertise and resources.
 
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southern california
#17
Many thanks to Georgew for the research that led to this unknown ( at least to me) proposal.

WHAT LED UP TO CSS MANASSAS

The three iron rams

Captain John A Stephenson proposed to construct 3 ironclad rams converted from existing steamships. These would be used as privateers. Navy Secretary Mallory declined the offer.

Stephenson then selected the tug Enoch Train, and the conversion carried out.
The plan below, by the author is drawn from eyewitness statements. View attachment 51327


The hull between light and load waterline was covered in 1” iron plate, as were the sides of the two gunhouses. These were open at each end, and roofed with boiler plate as was part of the deck She did not apparently receive her ordnance.
An 8ft long iron ram was attached to the bow.
The conversion was a failure, as the freeboard amidships was reduced to 30 inches, meaning that only the bulwark and rubbing strake was above water, as the sheer strakes fore and aft had been cut away.
The gunhouses were proof against small arms ,but a hit by heavy shot would probably push the whole thing overboard.
The vessel as converted would probably have been unstable and would not have been able to leave the river.
It was taken into dock and stripped to be converted into the Ram Manassas.

=============================================================
Hi John: just a couple of comments. During the spring of 1861 Enoch Train was intended as a privateer, but not a ram. She was still owned by a shipyard at this point. There are Union reports that the Confederates were looking at 1-inch ironing on the hull above the waterline on several of the big off-shore towboats. She never had two guns because of a shortage of heavy ordnance. Her original gun was on loan from the CSN under pressure from the Chairman of the Naval Committee in Richmond. There is strong circumstantial evidence that she never had a pilot-house during the two phases of her ironing. By the way, the Charlaron drawing of the Manassas depicts a bizarre long extension of the bow as a ram. I am only speculating, but it seems likely to me this feature, thankfully not built, was at the urging of Lt. Fry, CSN. Two years later he came up with a similar concept for a torpedo boat to be built in Britain (not built). The privateer armored ram Manassas was highly modified from proposals to the CSN. Underwritten by private investors, it lacked some of the frills proposed for government funding. The single forward gun emplacement was probably a compromise between Stevenson who didn't want any guns and naval advice who probably also wanted a stern chaser. The ironing of Manassas as reconstructed was about 50% heavier than originally planned and resulted in a deeper draft.
 
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Rocklin, CA
#18
In case anyone has an interest in CSS Manassas below the waterline, the lines are preserved from an old website by Internet Archive, at:

https://web.archive.org/web/2012011...ctions/banquedocuments/planbato/atlas/rec.php

SS Enoch Train lines are in plan 298:
0298 Plan de l’ENOCH TRAIN remorqueur à hélice du port de Boston 1.00x0.52 GM05PL0298

The link GM05PL0298 downloads a TIFF.

Attached is a low-res jpeg screen snap.

Steam tug Enoch Train - GM05PL0298 screen snap.jpg
 



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