Is it a ship/boat, a raft, a fort, or a floating fort?

major bill

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1617806995749.png

photo by @ronzzo from thread https://civilwartalk.com/threads/fort-sumter-charleston-harbor-1963.171610/#post-2243424

The newest issue of Civil War Times came this week. In this issue is the article Floating Fire by Mark Carlson. This article is about the monstrous Confederate 'Floating Battery' that help bombard Fort Sumter in April of 1861. I know this based on the French floating battery form the Crimean War. Should we consider this a boat or other naval item such as a barge, or a fort? Perhaps a floating fort might be a better description. Should we consider the artillerymen who manned the cannons soldiers or sailors? The Yankees at Fort Sumter called it "The Raft".

The Confederate Floating Battery at Charleston had four heavy cannons It was 100 feet long and 25 feet wide. The sloped glacis and angled roof were made from pine and palmetto timbers with six layers of heavy iron boilerplate reinforced with railroad iron. In the end the Floating Battery was destroyed by a storm. After which the guns and the iron sheathing were removed. By 1865 most wreckage of the Floating Battery was under the shifting sands off of Sullivan's Island with only part of the casemate remaining above the water.
 
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Lubliner

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I would consider it a barge, and can't remember which unit operated the guns during the bombardment. I haven't compared them specifically to the ones used at Island No. 10 and New Madrid, but there may be similarities. I think I read it was a 'new' type of fortification, or rather gun platform.
Lubliner.
 

rebelatsea

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Kent ,England.
I think you are referring to the "hospital battery", which was the subject of a thread on here.

Type: Ironclad Floating Battery .
Dimensions: 100ft long x 40ft wide with an 8ft draft, 457tons
Guns: 4 42pdr or 32pdr SB
Armour: two interlocked layers of rail on front face
Design: Lt John Hamilton CSN and Major J. H. Trapier CSA
Builder: unknown, directed by Lt Hamilton, Charleston Sc.

History: Only the front face was armoured, the thick steeply pitched roof was intended to deflect falling projectiles. There was no protection to the deck between the battery and magazine.
Sandbags acted as counterweight to the battery. The hospital was constructed on a separate barge type vessel and semi permanently attached.
THE CHARLESTON FLOATING BATTERY.jpg
Used at the bombardment of Fort Sumter, the iron armour was removed sometime prior to December 1863 when the battery was driven through the obstructions and ashore on Folly island in a gale.
 

georgew

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southern california
I think you are referring to the "hospital battery", which was the subject of a thread on here.

Type: Ironclad Floating Battery .
Dimensions: 100ft long x 40ft wide with an 8ft draft, 457tons
Guns: 4 42pdr or 32pdr SB
Armour: two interlocked layers of rail on front face
Design: Lt John Hamilton CSN and Major J. H. Trapier CSA
Builder: unknown, directed by Lt Hamilton, Charleston Sc.

History: Only the front face was armoured, the thick steeply pitched roof was intended to deflect falling projectiles. There was no protection to the deck between the battery and magazine.
Sandbags acted as counterweight to the battery. The hospital was constructed on a separate barge type vessel and semi permanently attached.View attachment 396762Used at the bombardment of Fort Sumter, the iron armour was removed sometime prior to December 1863 when the battery was driven through the obstructions and ashore on Folly island in a gale.
It floated and was unpowered. That's a type of barge where I come from. I'm not sure that the attachment of a hospital barge to it was a morale booster, but probably practical. Apparently the Confederate commander's at Charleston didn't rank it highly as it was soon stripped of its iron for other projects. The Army 42-lb guns aboard were initially found in a number of fortifications in the south, but not much liked. Union forces afloat on the Mississippi didn't think much of them either but used them at relatively close ranges successfully. Does anyone know anything about the size of gun crews for these pieces?
 

georgew

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Location
southern california
I think you are referring to the "hospital battery", which was the subject of a thread on here.

Type: Ironclad Floating Battery .
Dimensions: 100ft long x 40ft wide with an 8ft draft, 457tons
Guns: 4 42pdr or 32pdr SB
Armour: two interlocked layers of rail on front face
Design: Lt John Hamilton CSN and Major J. H. Trapier CSA
Builder: unknown, directed by Lt Hamilton, Charleston Sc.

History: Only the front face was armoured, the thick steeply pitched roof was intended to deflect falling projectiles. There was no protection to the deck between the battery and magazine.
Sandbags acted as counterweight to the battery. The hospital was constructed on a separate barge type vessel and semi permanently attached.View attachment 396762Used at the bombardment of Fort Sumter, the iron armour was removed sometime prior to December 1863 when the battery was driven through the obstructions and ashore on Folly island in a gale.
You know, with the guns and iron stripped off, it might have been used as a wharf boat. Of course we don't know how leaky it was as it was built on fairly short notice and may not have been sealed properly.
 

georgew

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Oct 1, 2010
Location
southern california
When I've seen "water battery" used it's been as part of a land fortification, a battery close to the shoreline.
Have to agree with you. They were most useful for flat trajectory fire in narrow areas, but critically required the presence of land based ordnance in support. Except for the Georgia, most of the floating batteries gave little protection to the gun crews. An exception may have been a battery built for use above Plymouth in N. Carolina. It doesn't appear to have been finished or ironed and was scuttled (near Ft. Branch?). There were also some floating batteries at Mobile. The only real advantage of these things was the potential to move them upriver if the land forces covering the fortifications at a choke point were absent against an intruder with both water and land based units. This doesn't seem to have happed during actual operations. Their potential effectiveness was limited and the extra work to iron some of them can be argued. I would argue that their most effective use would have been below New Orleans at Head of Passes, especially if covering the bar at SW Pass. If the Memphis had been completed and also brought down it could have covered the "back door" more easterly passes.
 

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