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CSS Warrior

Discussion in 'Civil War History - The Naval War' started by Grendel1367, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. Grendel1367

    Grendel1367 Private

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    Does anyone know what the CSS Warrior actually looked like, including tonnage and whether sidewheel or propeller driven?

    The Naval History and Heritage Command website states she was a tugboat that that been converted into a sidewheel cottonclad ram with 1-32lb smoothbore. The website also states she was driven on to the river bank above Fort St. Philip by an 11-gun broadside from USS Brooklyn.

    However, being a sidewheel tug differs from two reports from US naval officers contained in volume 18 of the "Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. "

    Lieutenant R. B. Lowry, Executive Officer of USS Brooklyn, describes "Warrior, a three-masted propeller, placed herself under the port broadside of the Broohlyn, when eleven 5-second shells were exploded in her, actually driving her on the bank and instantly setting her on fire. A second three-masted propeller escaped annihilation from our starboard battery from her resemblance to the Iroquois, which caused us to hold our fire until the current had drifted her down astern of us, when her true character was ascertained, but too late for us to destroy her." In validation of Lowry's ability to correctly identify ships, the 2nd three-mastered propeller ship was correctly described since it was CSS McRea.

    Captain T. T. Craven, Captain of USS Brooklyn, describes "for at this critical time I could discover
    none of our own vessels, and was engaging, besides the fort, two of the rebels' strongest vessels (both fitted for ramming)—one an ironclad battery, the Louisiana, the other a large iron-prowed steamer, the Warrior. The Warrior received our broadside of shells, and was soon in flames"

    Tonnage of Warrior is not in the "Records." However, the "Records" contains a table that states McRae had 130 men; Governor Moore and General Quitman had 93 and 90 men, respectively; Warrior, Stonewall Jackson, Resolute, Defiance, and General Lovell had 75, 72, 70, 75, and 75 men, respectively. Several tugs are listed as having 40 men. Except for McRae, crew size does correlate to tonnage for the ships that have known tonnages. Regarding McRae, she had 7 or 8 guns while the others had 1 or 2 guns, which explains her larger crew.

    So, rather than a sidewheel tug, it appears to me that CSS Warrior was a three-masted, propeller driven ship that was somewhat different in appearance from McRae or Iroquois. Perhaps Warrior was without a quarterdeck and with a spoon or blunt bow more suited for ramming rather than with a quarterdeck and clipper bow of McRae or Iroquois? Also, based upon crew size, she was similar in size to sidewheelers Stonewall Jackson, Resolute, Defiance, and General Lovell.

    If discussed before, can someone please provide the link?
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2017
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  3. georgew

    georgew Sergeant

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  4. georgew

    georgew Sergeant

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    Warrior was a side-wheel towboat.
     
  5. Grendel1367

    Grendel1367 Private

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    georgew:

    Certainly, other of the River Defense Fleet were side-wheel towboats, and historical accounts describe or list them as such. And, conventional wisdom and/or popular history might indicate Warrior was also a side-wheel towboat. However, not all of the fleet were side-wheel towboats.

    So, other than the eye-witness accounts from the two officers that were on the ship that destroyed her, which accounts described her as a three-masted propeller ship, are there any other historical sources that can cited regarding Warrior?
     
  6. Grendel1367

    Grendel1367 Private

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    I note that David D. Porter's Naval History of the Civil War states that "...the River Defense [fleet] commanded as before stated, consisted of the following converted tow-boats: The Warrior, Stonewall Jackson, Resolute, General Lovell, Defiance, and the R.I. Breckenridge". Also, the History later states that during the battle, "...Brooklyn was attacked by a large steamer...."

    Of course, Porter's account of the battle is probably based upon that from the two Brooklyn's officers. However, as a tow-boat, Warrior could be also be a propeller tow-boat, albeit not common at that time on the Mississippi. I'm unsure about a tow-boat having the three masts described by the two officers. However, drawings of the Stonewall Jackson show two masts with yard arms that would be more typical for ocean-going ships. Did the large tow-boats used in the lower Mississippi have full rigging?
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2017
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  7. DaveBrt

    DaveBrt First Sergeant

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    Scharf quotes Commodore Mitchell's C of I testimony: "On arriving below I delivered to Capt. Stephenson written orders from Major General M. Lovell, requiring him to place all the River Defence gun boats under my orders, which consisted of the following converted tow boats, viz.: 1st the Warrior.... All the above vessels mounted from one to two pivot 32pdrs each, some of them rifled." I cannot believe she had masts as a tow boat.
     
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  8. Grendel1367

    Grendel1367 Private

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    Doing a bit more research on the internet on the topic of tow boats with masts and rigging, I found a discussion of the R.B. Forbes, which is described as a tow-boat built in Boston in 1845 for coastal towing. She 320 tons, 2 propellers, and had 2 masts for sailing. Presumably, the masts with sails were used when not towing. She was taken into US navy service in 1861 and armed with 2-32lb SB! So, propeller driven tow boats with masts did exist at this time period if the boat was used for coastal service. Perhaps this was the case for the larger towboats put into Confederate service at New Orleans.
     
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  9. Bil R

    Bil R Private

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    Hello Mr. Grendel,

    Within the National Archives are the Confederate Treasury Department records. And within them you will find a number of 'Shipping Article' vouchers or ledgers for the pay of River Defense Service crewmen. As crewmen were recruited as early as January 1862 there are a number of ledgers that follow both individual vessels and groups of vessels over time. As these steamers were being converted into gunboats they did not receive their new names until just before being commissioned. Frequently, these vouchers will list the crewmen by the original vessel name and later the new name. On some vouchers it will list the new name with the original name in parentheses. Just to verify the identification you can actually follow a certain crewman's name on various ledgers and get an idea of when the gunboat was renamed. By reviewing these payroll vouchers it has been easy to definitively identify all the RDS gunboats of both the New Orleans squadron and the Memphis squadron.

    The Warrior was converted from the antebellum towboat Anglo-Saxon. She was built by Thomas Collyer of New York and launched on 5 October 1848. As part of the Star Line of New Orleans based towboats she had two sister ships, the Anglo-Norman and Anglo-American. The Anglo-Norman was built in Algiers to the same design as developed by Collyer. There are sketches of the Anglo-Norman because she suffered a devastating boiler explosion shortly after completion. Better yet, the Mariner's Museum has a fine, well detailed, profile painting of the Anglo-American. For the Anglo-Saxon she displaced 508 77/95ths tons, hull measured 170'3" x 28' x 11'3" and draft of 7'6". As noted by George above all three towboats were sidewheel with the Saxon's machinery built by H. R. Dunham of New York. She had two inclined engines of 50" diameter and 8' stroke. She had two low pressure boilers and was driven by 2 sidewheels of 24' diameter and 9' buckets (22 total). Her single chimney was 50' tall with a diameter of 5'10". It was not unusual for these towboats to have 1 to 3 masts. It is known that the Mary Kingsland had 3 masts as shown in the 'Journal of the Franklin Institute'. Because they towed sailing vessels to and from the Passes they would take advantage of prevailing winds.

    I do not have an explanation for Lowry's description of her being a propeller but I am confident it is in error. Being the first lieutenant in charge of the Brooklyn's batteries he probably had much on his mind to notice precise details about his opponent that was some 50 to 150 yards away and moving rapidly. Notice earlier in the same report he states, ' ...the action was fought mostly in total darkness,...' Combine the time of the morning (3 AM to 4:50 AM) with the gunfire smoke and river mist, and one can see how observations may be limited.

    All the best,
    Bil
     
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  10. Grendel1367

    Grendel1367 Private

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    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  11. Grendel1367

    Grendel1367 Private

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    Below is a copy of the painting:

    Anglo American.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
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  12. Bil R

    Bil R Private

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    Hello Michael,

    Yes, that is the painting. Thanks for posting it. The MM's copy is part of the Eldredge Collection and found in Drawer 52. This painting shows the Anglo American as built and was done by James Bard. He was known for actually boarding his subjects and making his own measures and notes. Many of his works were drawn first and checked for accuracy prior to being painted. Now imagine how the Warrior would have appeared after her RDS modifications. The bowsprit and figurehead would have been removed; an armored bulkhead would have surrounded the boiler and engines forward. The bow would have had iron plating strapped around it; and a 32 pounder would have been mounted on the stern. In addition, the pilot house would have been boarded up and plated with sheet iron. A smaller gun could have been mounted on the bow but that has not been confirmed. And more than likely the entire boat was painted lead gray. Her sister, the Anglo Norman became the General Breckinridge and would have appeared similar.

    All the best,
    Bil
     
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  13. Grendel1367

    Grendel1367 Private

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    I'm surprised at what you wrote about Anglo-Norman becoming the General Breckinridge. I've seen a couple of modern publications describing at as being quite a bit smaller and being a sternwheeler. Also, the "Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion" cite both General Breckinridge and Anglo-Norman on the tabulation of Confederate gunboats, with both being involved in the fighting at the forts.
     
  14. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 2nd Lieutenant

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    Gents here is my first take on Warrior, It's not 100% I think but it's on the way.

    RDF WARRIOR.jpg
     
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  15. bradford011

    bradford011 Private

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    Excellent work as always!
     
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  16. Bil R

    Bil R Private

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    Hello Gentlemen,

    John, I think that's a good reconstruction of the Warrior. I would move the casemate forward as the towboats usually had shorter fore decks than aft decks.

    Michael, I too have noted the confusion surrounding the identification of the Anglo Norman and General Breckinridge. What are the titles of the recent publications that suggest the General Breckinridge was quite smaller and a sternwheeler? What are the sources for the author's information?

    Objectively, I think we have to examine and consider the known details. We do know from antebellum newspaper accounts, SRE data and the 'Journal of the Franklin Institute' that the Anglo Norman was slightly larger than her sister the Anglo Saxon ( 558 54/95ths tons, 176'2" x 29'5" x 11'4" vs. 508 77/95ths tons, 170'3" x 28' x 11'3"). We also know that Confederate authorities in New Orleans inventoried and surveyed available vessels for impressment in May 1861 (ORN 16 p.820). There are no known sternwheelers in that group.

    Later, when the order came to seize vessels for the RDS, the Anglo Norman was among the first boats listed (ORN 17 p.159). Of the vessels first seized most were later determined to be unfit or undesired for the role and other vessels substituted. For various reasons the Texas, Charles Morgan, Florida, Arizona, William Hewes, Atlantic, Austin, Magnolia, Matagorda, and William H. Webb were declined. As an auxiliary the Paul Jones would be acquired as a RDS storeship. Of the known 15 vessels seized for the RDS, only one, the R & J Watson, was screw propelled. The remainder were side wheel. While certainly possible, I am not aware of any sternwheelers seized for the purpose or of any being considered for seizure.

    After seizure, an independent committee was created to examine the vessels and assign reimbursement values to the appropriate owners. There is correspondence related to this process between ship owners and Confederate authorities found in the NA under 'War Department Letters Received S 235 1862'. In early February 1862 the J. W. Stanton & Co. protested the assigned values for their seized towboats Anglo Saxon, Anglo Norman, and Defiance (Stanton to Randolph, Sec. of War 3 Feb 1862). Supporting the government's position Lieut. Devereaux reported Stanton's towboats 'were found to be in a rotten condition, so much so that they were at first disposed to reject them as unfit' (Devereaux to Randolph 8 Feb 1862). Peter Stiel of the committee reported the following values were assigned for the final group accepted: Star Line boats - Anglo Saxon $26,000, Anglo Norman $21,000, Defiance $16,000; Good Intent boats - J.P. Whitney $62,000, J.M. Whann $56,000, Junius Beebe $46,000, Laurent Milladon $43,000, Mary Kingsland $20,000; Ocean Line boats - Baltic $60,000, Ocean $17,000, Hercules $10,000. Other vessels of the RDS included the R & J Watson, Mexico, Orizaba and Paul Jones (Stiel to Randolph 25 Feb 1862). Moreover, Lovell attested that other shipowners have 'acquiesced in accepting the values assessed and concur in approving the just discrimination of the assessors'. Stanton would not be deterred and countered that two of the assessors ( Marcy and Porter) had actually placed significantly higher values on his towboats and that upon gunboat conversion the boats were found to be sound. Furthermore, Stanton stated that the frames were staunch and strong and had always been kept thoroughly salted. And contrary to popular opinion 'it is incorrect that the vessels are partially owned by alien enemies'. It was also noted that at that time that the Anglo Saxon as the Warrior, and the Defiance (name unchanged) had gone into service, and that the Anglo Norman is 'nearly ready' (Stanton to Randolph 3 April 1862).

    So we know that the Anglo Norman was being converted into an RDS gunboat, but which one? As mentioned earlier by carefully examining the payroll ledgers one can identify the crewmen assigned to the Anglo Norman. The majority of these same crewmen were seen again two months later on the payroll ledger of the General Breckinridge. In his report describing the preparation and operations of the RDS Stevenson lists the conversion completion dates for each gunboat. The two finished last were the General Lovell and General Breckinridge, both on 22 April 1862 (ORA 52/I p.37-40). As later given in testimony the General Breckinridge arrived at the forts the night before Farragut's run. She was the last gunboat to arrive on station.

    If the Anglo Norman (later General Breckinridge) was 'nearly ready on April 3rd', why did she appear at the forts until almost three weeks later (April 23rd)? After the debacle at the Forts, Mitchell and other CSN officers would testify and list the available Confederate forces. They all mention the General Breckinridge but not the Anglo Norman. Conversely, Farragut in his postwar prize claims names both the Anglo Norman and General Breckinridge in his list of destroyed gunboats as if they are separate vessels. Finally, carefully note that Farragut also names the commanding officer of each gunboat except for the Anglo Norman.

    Why do we have these discrepancies? There is an explanation. While finishing her conversion into a gunboat the Anglo Norman was seriously damaged by a shipyard fire on April 7th (Lytle p.10, 242). Because of the desperation of the moment, she was repaired and the conversion was completed as rapidly as possible. This event caused her delay in arriving at the forts. I would surmise that more than likely, due to the rushed nature of the efforts, that the painting of the gunboat after repair and conversion was not completed at the time of her loss. Her original name was probably still visible on her stern. This was seen by USN officers and hence reported as the gunboat Anglo Norman. When in fact, the Anglo Norman and General Breckinridge were the same vessel. The CSN knew this, but the USN did not. That is why Farragut despite numerous interrogations could not identify the commanding officer of the Anglo Norman. He had already listed him as the CO of the General Breckinridge.

    All the best,
    Bil
     
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  17. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 2nd Lieutenant

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    Thank you Bil, I will take your advice. That's a great explanation of who became what and why.
     
  18. Carronade

    Carronade 2nd Lieutenant

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    Did towboats commonly tow barges and the like, or were they like today's "towboats" which push their "tows"?

    For actual towing, it is desirable to have the towing bitts as far forward as possible, which accounts for the long clear afterdeck. Some modern tugs have the bitts almost amidships.

    When a ship turns, it moves around a theoretical pivot point, usually somewhat forward of amidships. For example, if you put the rudder over to port, the stern kicks out to starboard while the bow, forward of the pivot point, turns to port. The closer the towing bitts are to the pivot point, the easier it is for the ship to turn.

    If a ship not designed for towing has to do it, the towline may have to be attached near the stern, so the drag makes it harder for the stern to move when the rudder is put over. Thus if one ship has to tow another out of danger, they will turn the tow over to a proper tug as soon as possible.
     
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  19. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 2nd Lieutenant

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    Here is the improved version ,incorporating Bil's comment. I have added the bow reinforce ,and the paddle housings are now the correct width. RDF WARRIOR.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

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  20. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 2nd Lieutenant

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    Don't ask why all the extra bit's were added, think my PC had conniptions !
     
  21. Bil R

    Bil R Private

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    Hello Gentlemen,

    John I like the newer version of the Warrior. It is how I imagined her to appear based on the Anglo American painting and that one done by Simplot of the Memphis Squadron. Will done!

    Mr. Carronade from what I have seen of antebellum paintings and lithographs it would seem that most tows were accomplished by having the towed ship lashed to the side of the towboat or towed behind. If lashed to the side of the towboat it would suggest that towboats would have guard edges parallel to the ship's keel for most of their length, rather than following the curvature of a moulded hull. Most of the converted gunboats had their guards removed though.

    The reason I question the stern wheeler theory is that it runs counter to Stevenson's and Montgomery's tactical concepts of how the RDS gunboats were to be used. In essence it was a 'ram and run' approach. In their concept they were to be used as primary rams with the bow strengthened and machinery protected by an armored bulkhead. Once an enemy had been struck they were to back off, go upstream (exposing their stern) and then return for a second strike. Rather than protecting their stern with another bulkhead it was decided to mount a 32 pdr aft to provide covering fire and discourage pursuit. These maneuvers were not however, well practiced, nor were contingencies made for different circumstances (being downstream, being in a narrow portion of river, etc.). Having a stern wheel would make an aft mounted gun difficult to operate and mount, and make the gunboat easier to disable (one wheel vs. two wheels).

    All the best,
    Bil
     
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