Hog chains

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Mark F. Jenkins

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Usual term for a structure to stiffen a vessel, usually on the western rivers. A vessel hogs when her ends (bow and stern) droop, usually as a result of structural weakness. Riverine craft, built to be extremely long and broad relative to their depth of hold, were particularly prone to hogging. They were not necessarily literal chains; on most craft, they were iron rods tightened by turnbuckles.

The ironclad Tuscumbia was so broad (75' beam) that she had lateral as well as fore-and-aft hog chains.

Hog chains, being elevated and exposed, were often shot away in combat. This would not immediately disable the vessel, but the chains would need to be replaced soon to prevent strain and cumulative structural damage.

A common administrative punishment was forcing an offender to ride (straddle) a hog chain for a period of time, similar to 'riding a rail.'
 

ExNavyPilot

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Having both fore-and-aft and lateral hog chains would make moving around on deck a bit awkward, wouldn't it? I guess that's better than having your ship break apart.
 
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Mark F. Jenkins

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Having both fore-and-aft and lateral hog chains would make moving around on deck a bit awkward, wouldn't it? I guess that's better than having your ship break apart.
The Tuscumbia was not noted for being particularly well-built. :laugh: Her near-sister Chillicothe was referred to as "a giant swindle upon the Government..."
 
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