Period description of the CS New Orleans floating Battery at the Battle of New Madrid.

rebelatsea

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#21
By the way, I think that what were said to blocked gunports were actually coaling ports ,they are in more or less the right places. You will see in my plan I have moved them both forward so they would be approximately level with the firerooms and bunkers in he revised layout.
 

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Mark F. Jenkins

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#22
The main obstacle with getting her over the bar and to Mobile was the remainder of the Federal fleet downstream of the forts... a fully-operational Louisiana would have been able to handle them, but, conversely, there'd have been less need to move a fully-operational Louisiana to Mobile. Bit of a conundrum there.
 
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#23
Getting back to the original issue of unpowered floating batteries, it is surprising that the Confederates didn't consider conversion of some of the large wharf boats. For those with access to Way's Packet directory, look up the steamer Eclipse. I'm talking about the version built at Albany, Ind., in 1852. She was last enrolled on April 28, 1858. She broke loose from her moorings in Feb, 1860 and collided with other shipping. A month later she was auctioned off at Portland, KY and "...made into a wharfboat and served at Memphis until the start of the Civil War..." The point of this reference is that she was registered as 1117 8/95 tons, 365 ft long, width of hull 40 feet and depth of hull 9 feet. Stripped of her wheels, engines and boilers, with an enormous deck space and a freight capacity of 1600 tons, this hull could have been converted at Memphis as a floating battery with cotton bales/wood bulkhead/rail road iron gun emplacements. A timber knuckle along the hull would keep out shot and eliminating the variable draft requirements of the NO converted dry docks, would result in a battery in which only small boilers and a standard riverboat doctor engine would suffice for bilge pumps. What you end up with is a towable water battery which would have been useful at any of the Confederate choke points where batteries were mounted on the bluffs. Because of variable river depths seasonally, they frequently had "blind spots" close in under the banks.
 

rebelatsea

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#24
George, are those hull dimension correct ,365ft x 40ft, that seems extreme for a wooden vessel, I bet she was seriously hogged, and twisted hence being converted into a wharf boat.
 

georgew

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#25
Howdy, Rebel. There are two sets of numbers for this vessel. There is a "customs measure" of 350 x 37.4 x 8.4, which I presume are the hull perpendiculars based on keel length, and a more detailed set of specifications. The 365 ft length is the length on deck, width on deck was 40. She apparently measured about 77 feet across the wheels "working 15 ft. buckets". I'm particularly intrigued by her draft numbers, "4 1/2 ft. light, 10 ft. loaded". A letter from Gen. S.G. French written on board near Memphis in 1853 includes: "...She is three hundred and sixty five feet in length, forty foot beam, with two engines 36 inch cylinders and eleven foot stroke, with sixteen boilers, two doctors, two freight engines, and wheels forty two feet diameter - burn one hundred cords of wood per day, carried 1,800 tons and I hope won't burst her "bilers" on 120 pounds of steam to the square inch or under any other circumstances..." These numbers vary a bit from the specs printed. She originally had sixteen boilers, later eight with a diameter of 42 inches and length of 32 feet. The specs say the diameter of her wheels was 40 feet. Her machinery would have been useful for your projected side-wheel Louisiana! In her prime her crew comprised 121 men with 70 firemen and deckhands, 25 stewards and waiters, five cooks, three mates, five engineers and clerks, pilots, etc. The monthly payroll was quoted as $4,605. She was a fast boat - New Orleans to Portland, KY in four days, nine hours and thirty minutes. I'd love to know the specifics on her hogging chains. The reason I think her hull would have made a reasonable floating battery is her reserve buoyancy with her original machinery and structure removed. She was easily capable of carrying reinforcement along the waterline and some type of protection for her gun crews. If deployed, she would be moored bow upstream with her battery along her port side. The starboard side could carry her magazine, doctor engine and boilers and coal or wood to service them.
 
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#26
@georgew , a friend did an archaeological survey of the sternwheeler Montana, of similar dimensions, that was wrecked at St. Charles (near St. Louis) in the 1880s. That boat had multiple sets of hog chains:

Leviathan of the Plains-12.jpg


Montana apparently carried two main longitudinal hogging-chains down each side, straddled by two smaller sets of chains, making a total of six—double or triple the usual complement. The vessel also carried an unspecified number of cross- and knuckle-chains to keep the port and starboard sides from drooping (Fig. 14). Archaeological evidence indicates that the cross and knuckle-chains were placed at 50 ft (15.2 m) intervals (Corbin and Rodgers, 2004: 90). With the proper tension placed on the hogging-chain system the Montana could be perfectly trimmed regardless of how it was loaded. The hogging system also allowed for load redistribution or counterbalancing in order to solve one of the greatest problems facing paddle-wheel cargo vessels, variable immersion. This occurred when the
paddle-buckets had too much or too little dip, depending on load. With the rigid support offered by hogging-chains the ship could be loaded with enough weight in the bow to counterbalance the weight of engines and paddle-wheel or extra cargo loaded in the stern. Counterbalancing the ship maintained the most efficient immersion of the wheel no matter the load. It also explains how ships managed to maintain their speed and efficiency even with maximum cargo loads, an absolute must in running against the fast currents of the great western rivers. The hogging-chains of the Montana began about a quarter of the way aft of the bow, forming an arch over the superstructure before dropping down again near the pillow-blocks, adding much-needed support to the cylinder-timbers cradling the stern paddlewheel shaft. The introduction of hogging-chains permitted the size of flat-bottomed stern-wheelers to increase dramatically. In the 1840s the advantages of this system ensured that stern-wheelers supplanted side-wheelers as the dominant river steamer.


Annalies Corbin and Bradley A. Rodgers, "Steamboat Montana (1879-1884) -- Leviathan of the Plains." International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 36(1), 59-74.

Hogging was more of a concern with sternwheller, with the engines fairly far aft and the enormous wieght of the wheel hanging off the stern, so Montana probably had a more extensive hogging system than Eclipse. But Eclipse had the same problem with the weight of the wheels on either side, so I would expect LOTS of cross-chains in her case.
 
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georgew

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#28
@georgew , a friend did an archaeological survey of the sternwheeler Montana, of similar dimensions, that was wrecked at St. Charles (near St. Louis) in the 1880s. That boat had multiple sets of hog chains:

View attachment 40882

Montana apparently carried two main longitudinal hogging-chains down each side, straddled by two smaller sets of chains, making a total of six—double or triple the usual complement. The vessel also carried an unspecified number of cross- and knuckle-chains to keep the port and starboard sides from drooping (Fig. 14). Archaeological evidence indicates that the cross and knuckle-chains were placed at 50 ft (15.2 m) intervals (Corbin and Rodgers, 2004: 90). With the proper tension placed on the hogging-chain system the Montana could be perfectly trimmed regardless of how it was loaded. The hogging system also allowed for load redistribution or counterbalancing in order to solve one of the greatest problems facing paddle-wheel cargo vessels, variable immersion. This occurred when the
paddle-buckets had too much or too little dip, depending on load. With the rigid support offered by hogging-chains the ship could be loaded with enough weight in the bow to counterbalance the weight of engines and paddle-wheel or extra cargo loaded in the stern. Counterbalancing the ship maintained the most efficient immersion of the wheel no matter the load. It also explains how ships managed to maintain their speed and efficiency even with maximum cargo loads, an absolute must in running against the fast currents of the great western rivers. The hogging-chains of the Montana began about a quarter of the way aft of the bow, forming an arch over the superstructure before dropping down again near the pillow-blocks, adding much-needed support to the cylinder-timbers cradling the stern paddlewheel shaft. The introduction of hogging-chains permitted the size of flat-bottomed stern-wheelers to increase dramatically. In the 1840s the advantages of this system ensured that stern-wheelers supplanted side-wheelers as the dominant river steamer.


Annalies Corbin and Bradley A. Rodgers, "Steamboat Montana (1879-1884) -- Leviathan of the Plains." International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 36(1), 59-74.

Hogging was more of a concern with sternwheller, with the engines fairly far aft and the enormous wieght of the wheel hanging off the stern, so Montana probably had a more extensive hogging system than Eclipse. But Eclipse had the same problem with the weight of the wheels on either side, so I would expect LOTS of cross-chains in her case.
Hi Andy: Thanks for data - it does much to explain the relatively short lives of these big riverboats. Their hulls worked more than ocean-going craft and I suspect there was a limit to what the hogging chains could handle. I admit I'd like to know where they placed her wheels. Midships or further aft? I have the impression that packets with their wheels further aft tended to be faster, but the bending moments higher. Not as badly as the stern wheelers, though. Her original boiler configuration is also interesting, implying that they were in rows. The 42 inch x 32-34 foot boilers would have just managed 8 across. With sixteen and the extra fire boxes you wonder how they assured the draft to the after bank. Her smoke stacks were about 95 feet tall.
 

georgew

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#29
I remember reading that Tuscumbia was so broad (75' beam) on such a shallow (7') hull that she had to be fitted with transverse as well as longitudinal hog chains...
You're right, Mark. Those boats had "issues", particularly with the addition of concentrated loads like ironing and heavy guns. Probably also built of green timber, so also probably had more than their share of leaks with the hull seams working.
 

rebelatsea

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#30
Howdy, Rebel. There are two sets of numbers for this vessel. There is a "customs measure" of 350 x 37.4 x 8.4, which I presume are the hull perpendiculars based on keel length, and a more detailed set of specifications. The 365 ft length is the length on deck, width on deck was 40. She apparently measured about 77 feet across the wheels "working 15 ft. buckets". I'm particularly intrigued by her draft numbers, "4 1/2 ft. light, 10 ft. loaded". A letter from Gen. S.G. French written on board near Memphis in 1853 includes: "...She is three hundred and sixty five feet in length, forty foot beam, with two engines 36 inch cylinders and eleven foot stroke, with sixteen boilers, two doctors, two freight engines, and wheels forty two feet diameter - burn one hundred cords of wood per day, carried 1,800 tons and I hope won't burst her "bilers" on 120 pounds of steam to the square inch or under any other circumstances..." These numbers vary a bit from the specs printed. She originally had sixteen boilers, later eight with a diameter of 42 inches and length of 32 feet. The specs say the diameter of her wheels was 40 feet. Her machinery would have been useful for your projected side-wheel Louisiana! In her prime her crew comprised 121 men with 70 firemen and deckhands, 25 stewards and waiters, five cooks, three mates, five engineers and clerks, pilots, etc. The monthly payroll was quoted as $4,605. She was a fast boat - New Orleans to Portland, KY in four days, nine hours and thirty minutes. I'd love to know the specifics on her hogging chains. The reason I think her hull would have made a reasonable floating battery is her reserve buoyancy with her original machinery and structure removed. She was easily capable of carrying reinforcement along the waterline and some type of protection for her gun crews. If deployed, she would be moored bow upstream with her battery along her port side. The starboard side could carry her magazine, doctor engine and boilers and coal or wood to service them.
Hello George,
Fascinating, the formula for paddlewheels that I have ( for 1860 admittedly) says that the diameter should be 3.5 times the piston stroke and the width of the paddles should be 1/3rd the diameter, so that gives 38.5ft and 13ft. Standard depth of buckets or blades was given as 5 -6ft. So 40ft wheels sounds about right. That machinery would have done the paddle Louisiana about right ! I assume the machinery was used in another vessel , or taken ashore for mill use.
I really didn't realise these boats could be so big !
 

rebelatsea

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#31
@georgew , a friend did an archaeological survey of the sternwheeler Montana, of similar dimensions, that was wrecked at St. Charles (near St. Louis) in the 1880s. That boat had multiple sets of hog chains:

View attachment 40882

Montana apparently carried two main longitudinal hogging-chains down each side, straddled by two smaller sets of chains, making a total of six—double or triple the usual complement. The vessel also carried an unspecified number of cross- and knuckle-chains to keep the port and starboard sides from drooping (Fig. 14). Archaeological evidence indicates that the cross and knuckle-chains were placed at 50 ft (15.2 m) intervals (Corbin and Rodgers, 2004: 90). With the proper tension placed on the hogging-chain system the Montana could be perfectly trimmed regardless of how it was loaded. The hogging system also allowed for load redistribution or counterbalancing in order to solve one of the greatest problems facing paddle-wheel cargo vessels, variable immersion. This occurred when the
paddle-buckets had too much or too little dip, depending on load. With the rigid support offered by hogging-chains the ship could be loaded with enough weight in the bow to counterbalance the weight of engines and paddle-wheel or extra cargo loaded in the stern. Counterbalancing the ship maintained the most efficient immersion of the wheel no matter the load. It also explains how ships managed to maintain their speed and efficiency even with maximum cargo loads, an absolute must in running against the fast currents of the great western rivers. The hogging-chains of the Montana began about a quarter of the way aft of the bow, forming an arch over the superstructure before dropping down again near the pillow-blocks, adding much-needed support to the cylinder-timbers cradling the stern paddlewheel shaft. The introduction of hogging-chains permitted the size of flat-bottomed stern-wheelers to increase dramatically. In the 1840s the advantages of this system ensured that stern-wheelers supplanted side-wheelers as the dominant river steamer.


Annalies Corbin and Bradley A. Rodgers, "Steamboat Montana (1879-1884) -- Leviathan of the Plains." International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 36(1), 59-74.

Hogging was more of a concern with sternwheller, with the engines fairly far aft and the enormous wieght of the wheel hanging off the stern, so Montana probably had a more extensive hogging system than Eclipse. But Eclipse had the same problem with the weight of the wheels on either side, so I would expect LOTS of cross-chains in her case.
Thanks Andy, you have answered so many questions about hogging chains for me !
 

rebelatsea

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#32
Hi Andy: Thanks for data - it does much to explain the relatively short lives of these big riverboats. Their hulls worked more than ocean-going craft and I suspect there was a limit to what the hogging chains could handle. I admit I'd like to know where they placed her wheels. Midships or further aft? I have the impression that packets with their wheels further aft tended to be faster, but the bending moments higher. Not as badly as the stern wheelers, though. Her original boiler configuration is also interesting, implying that they were in rows. The 42 inch x 32-34 foot boilers would have just managed 8 across. With sixteen and the extra fire boxes you wonder how they assured the draft to the after bank. Her smoke stacks were about 95 feet tall.
I would think that ,at speed ,the bows of these vessels would tend to lift quite a bit, with a very wide flat bottom. Our Waverley has a a conventional hull and feathering wheels mounted amidships, and at 15 knots flat out her bows lift by around 2ft.
 
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#34
Hi Andy: Thanks for data - it does much to explain the relatively short lives of these big riverboats. Their hulls worked more than ocean-going craft and I suspect there was a limit to what the hogging chains could handle. I admit I'd like to know where they placed her wheels. Midships or further aft? I have the impression that packets with their wheels further aft tended to be faster, but the bending moments higher. Not as badly as the stern wheelers, though. Her original boiler configuration is also interesting, implying that they were in rows. The 42 inch x 32-34 foot boilers would have just managed 8 across. With sixteen and the extra fire boxes you wonder how they assured the draft to the after bank. Her smoke stacks were about 95 feet tall.

Sidewheels were generally placed well aft of midships. Boilers were aligned fore-and-aft, in sets called "batteries."

Something I did a while back, attached (PDF). Warning, nekkid riverboats, NSFW:
 

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Carronade

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#35
As Andy notes, side wheels on river boats were placed aft, around the 3/4 point, but on ocean-going ships they were usually right amidships or a bit forward of it. Presumably there were good reasons in both cases.
 

Bil R

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#37
Hello Everyone,

There's much good information in this thread and I especially like Andy's steamboat renderings. There's a number of items to comment upon so I'll start with the Louisiana. She was declared operational later in the morning after Farragut passed. With Farragut above and Porter below her options were limited. Because of her weak propulsion she could not pursue Federal forces upstream. There was at least one RDF gunboat with her along with a couple of tenders, so what could have been done?

1) Surrender to Porter since they failed to stop the assault on New Orleans
2) Scuttle and destroy the remaining CS vessels to prevent use by the Federals
3) Move downstream and attack Porter's fleet and prevent Farragut's resupply by blocking the Passes
4) As above, and then move toward Mobile to support the defenses there

Option 3 I think would have been the best use of the Louisiana in the immediate period after the fleet passed. The problem with maintaining this position is that there was no way to resupply these isolated forces. Eventually this position would have to be abandoned.

A move toward Mobile would have been challenging but not impossible. And upon arrival this would have allowed further service by this heavy unit. Such a move would have meant that Confederate forces were abandoning any efforts to hold New Orleans and that the city would have to be retaken at a later date with much greater forces.

Recent studies have suggested that Fort Jackson surrendered (fell) as a result of a mutiny by a small number of disgruntled men of questionable loyalty. Once the forts surrendered the CSN's hand was forced. With no hope of support or supplies from the forts it became necessary to destroy the Louisiana. I still think she could have done tremendous damage to Porter before being lost.

George's suggestion of using wharf boat hulls as the basis for floating batteries is sound. Most of these hulls were actually quite strong and could have supported the weight of the battery and fittings. And, they would not have had the draft problems of converted floating docks. I am not aware of this idea being considered probably because wharf boats provided such a useful function to port cities and were part of the civic infrastructure.

Speaking of large antebellum boats I would classify the Eclipse as an 'extreme steamboat' meaning her length was over 300'. I would call boats from 225' to 300' as 'large steamboats' and those 150' to 225' as 'medium steamboats'. Some time in the past I located over half a dozen antebellum extreme steamboats with hull lengths of 350' or greater. There were similar long, shallow hull steamboats built to serve on the Hudson River at the same time. Typically western river boats used hog beams and chains to support the hull while eastern boats used beams and trusses for the same purpose. The interesting detail about them is despite the size they were all propelled by two large sidewheels.

This casts great doubt on Porter's description of the 'Yazoo Monster' of 310' needing 4 sidewheels and 2 propellers for propulsion. Two sidewheels on a side would have been inefficient and used much longitudinal space better allocated for gun positions. I am really becoming convinced that Porter exaggerated his claims and that the Yazoo Monster was a Nashville class ironclad and not a one-off freakish design. By the way, in the photograph of the Nashville, although poor, you can see hog beams placed across the beam to support the notoriously weak hull.

Propulsion of western river steamboats can be classified chronologically as sidewheel 1810s, centerwheel (midship and aft) 1810s, true sternwheel meaning the wheel is outside of the hull 1820s, and split sternwheel 1830s. In the late 1850s a machinery arrangement emerged referred to as a 'double-engine'. It was used on sidewheel boats but I am not sure how to interpret that phrase.

I wish I could locate hard and fast rules on how to locate the frame or station for sidewheel shafts. This would really assist in reconstructing their appearance. From photographs it appears that sidewheels were placed anywhere from midship to near the stern. In a similar vein it would be good to have predicatable rules on sidewheel diameters. Bates provides some but they are only estimates. I think John's rules above apply more to ocean going steamers. Likewise I have noticed that paddlewheel buckets tend to have variable widths and depths. The cotton boats with wide guards tended to have matching wide buckets. This contrasts with some the faster boats which had narrower buckets. It is not my intention to confuse anyone I am just sharing what I have come across thus far.

All the best,
Bil
 

rebelatsea

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#38
I tend to agree with Bil that getting Louisiana to Mobile would have been by far the best course of action for her. Not only would she have been there for further service ,but her faults could have been remedied too.
Dean Stehman drew an extremely good version of Porter's Monster, I liked it so much that I built a 1/250 model. Dean's Original has the arrangement of machinery.
Dean Stehmans Yazoo Monster.jpg

I have done my own reconstruction of this vessel, in conjunction with Kaz, the only difference being that Kaz groups his stacks amidships in a square.
CSS YAZOO.jpg
 



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