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

georgew

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#41
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.
View attachment 41261
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.
View attachment 41262
Rebel, what is the basis for the layout with the propellers at each end? I've had a theory for years that the machinery for the Tennessee (I) was retained at Yazoo City and intended for use with this build. It is actually easier structurally to put in two drive-lines (one on each side of the sternpost) than the double-ender installation. You lose the benefit of the second engine and prop as the pitch of the 2nd prop is very inefficient if run in reverse so the flow through the blades is in the same direction as the prop on the other end. The sole justification I see for such an installation would be construction on a very narrow river and a requirement for rapid heading changes. As for the main engines for side-wheels, there were a number of good-sized boats on the Yazoo that might have served as a donor vessel. This vessel and the Mobile are shining examples of why the Confederates ended up torching so many projects. They waited around for plate armor instead of going with railway iron. Not as good as plate, but much more available. The key to effective rr ironing was to firmly secure the bottom T-rails with numerous nuts, bolts and washers. The reversed outer rail was simply driven down between the base rails. Sledge-hammer fitting at its best. If the outer rail seems a bit wobbly, you pour cement, metal filings or sand in the gaps to stabilize. Mobile was such a small displacement vessel, I suspect she would have used a kind of composite armor. Something like T-rail at the ends of the casemate and strip rail on the sides. Kind of a tin-clad on steroids. Reasonable resistance to shell fragments, but subject to damage from direct hits.
 

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georgew

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#42
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.
View attachment 41261
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.
View attachment 41262
So this design assumes four engines (2 prop, 2 side-wheel) with central banks of boilers feeding all four? The designer of this vessel has some serious trade-offs to make on weight distribution and priorities for armoring. Gun deck or machinery? In this case machinery protection must include ironing to receive broadside fire. Porter went with inclined plates to deflect rounds from the wheels on the Nashville.
 

rebelatsea

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#43
Moderators, Maybe we should have a seperate thread now for "The Yazoo Monster" and transfer the appropriate comment to it?
George, we have all based the assumption on the description "skiff built, the same each end".
But this could refer to the underwater lines, in which case a large "Nashville"type hull is possible.
Here is my take on such a vessel, but with modifications based on I. N .Brown's Eastport., making the assumption that he would have been directing construction of this vessel.
A YAZOO NASHVILLE.jpg
 

rebelatsea

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#44
I have long suspected that Louisiana's armour was cemented in some way, and certainly resisted shot up to 9" at point blank range. CSS Mobile was a conversion, and like you I think she was or would have been a cross between a tinclad and an ironclad, although I can't think of a term to describe it !
 

georgew

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#45
Moderators, Maybe we should have a seperate thread now for "The Yazoo Monster" and transfer the appropriate comment to it?
George, we have all based the assumption on the description "skiff built, the same each end".
But this could refer to the underwater lines, in which case a large "Nashville"type hull is possible.
Here is my take on such a vessel, but with modifications based on I. N .Brown's Eastport., making the assumption that he would have been directing construction of this vessel. View attachment 41317
Ah, this is more like it. My guess is that they would have had trouble in finding enough guns for the battery as depicted. The broadside guns closest to the wheels could probably be eliminated without any particular loss. If the guns at the corners of the casemate ends were pivots, then even the loss of the center bow and stern chasers would have been acceptable. When I hear the term skiff built I tend to think of a flat bottom, but a builder from Texas might argue as they built some impressive scow sloops and schooners. Does anyone know if the Yazoo "monster" was intended for riverine use only or with a sea-going capacity?
 

georgew

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#46
Moderators, Maybe we should have a seperate thread now for "The Yazoo Monster" and transfer the appropriate comment to it?
George, we have all based the assumption on the description "skiff built, the same each end".
But this could refer to the underwater lines, in which case a large "Nashville"type hull is possible.
Here is my take on such a vessel, but with modifications based on I. N .Brown's Eastport., making the assumption that he would have been directing construction of this vessel. View attachment 41317
Rebel, are there any reports that Brown intended to salvage the engines and wheels from the scuttled Star of the West? That machinery, if repairable, coupled with the two engines and drivelines from the Memphis "Tennessee" would pretty much give you this vessels propulsion. I've noticed that reporters of the period sometimes called propellers "wheels", and I wonder if this is where the four-wheel description came from. Two side-wheels and two props?
 

rebelatsea

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#47
Ah, this is more like it. My guess is that they would have had trouble in finding enough guns for the battery as depicted. The broadside guns closest to the wheels could probably be eliminated without any particular loss. If the guns at the corners of the casemate ends were pivots, then even the loss of the center bow and stern chasers would have been acceptable. When I hear the term skiff built I tend to think of a flat bottom, but a builder from Texas might argue as they built some impressive scow sloops and schooners. Does anyone know if the Yazoo "monster" was intended for riverine use only or with a sea-going capacity?
George,

I have given her ports for 14 guns, 4 corner pivots, 2 chase and 8 broadside, widely spaced. That doesn't mean that she would necessarily have had a gun behind each port ! As you say they might have had trouble finding guns. I reckon Brown intended at least coastal capability.
I have used his armour scheme for the sidewheels, as I believe it was far more practical and effective, easier to construct and structurally stronger than Porter's conical masses suspended on the P/W house framework. The drawing isn't quite as good as it should be as it was done a bit quickly, but I'm glad that it get's your approval.
I realized almost immediately that the stacks are too close together, as they are over the space that would be occupied by the paddle engines. With a bit of tweaking this might become somewhere near a reflection of what was intended.
 

rebelatsea

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#48
Rebel, are there any reports that Brown intended to salvage the engines and wheels from the scuttled Star of the West? That machinery, if repairable, coupled with the two engines and drivelines from the Memphis "Tennessee" would pretty much give you this vessels propulsion. I've noticed that reporters of the period sometimes called propellers "wheels", and I wonder if this is where the four-wheel description came from. Two side-wheels and two props?
I have not been able to find any reports of what was done with Star's machinery, no doubt someone here will tell us !
I think you are almost certainly correct that the Tennessee I's machinery could provide the screw propulsion element.
You make an interesting point re the reference to propellers being called wheels, and that is a very plausible thought.
I think the two wheels were to be driven by two sets of machinery on each side independantly, giving her superb manoeverability.
 

Bil R

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#49
Hello Gentleman,

First, that's a beautiful reconstruction John. It's practical and incorporates the varied descriptions given of this vessel. Porter was known to alter his standard designs by adding or subtracting frames to change the size of vessels without altering the lines, beam or deadrise. Considering that Weldon and McFarland were acting as civilian agents of the Navy Department (like the Tifts) and that Brown was ordered to assist them it suggests that this was a CS Navy Department design. The time of the authorization (September 1862) further suggests this was a Nashville class design which was being offered to them, and to Smoker in Shreveport, Shirely & Dehaven in Selma and M & A in Montgomery. Smoker declined because of his work on the Missouri and that there would be no contract guarantees to cover the increased costs of obtaining machinery. The Montgomery vessel became the Nashville and the Selma vessel (intended name Memphis) broke her keel on launch and was sold off to become the Phoenix. In one of his letters McFarland signs his name and writes 'Projector of the gunboat ram'. If intended to be a ram it would be unlikely to carry a screw near the bow which raises doubts about the double-end arrangements. Regarding the Tennessee's engines they certainly could have been used for this ironclad. However, I don't have it immediately on hand but Shirely & Dehaven were authorized and did remove engine sets (including the Tennesses's) to Selma weeks before the Yazoo Yard was burned. A strategic decision to abandon Yazoo City had been made in March-April 1863 and there was no intention to finish the 'Monster'. The Tennessee's engines could have been used on one of the Tombigbee ironclads.

All the best,
Bil
 

rebelatsea

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#50
You are very kind Bil, I have since spaced the stacks out more and will refine the drawing a little, as I said it was done quickly. I concur it was a Nashville type as the dimensional proportions of that are 4.3:1 , those of the Monster 4.428:1.
I have given the vessel two stacks, assuming that the boilers for the two groups of paddle engines would be either side of the paddle engine rooms,but should that possibly be three to allow for the exhausts from the furnaces of the screw engines to be seperate?
 
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#51
Hello John,

There's a schematic diagram showing the measured distances within the casemate between the Nashville's gunports. It was used by Jones to plan her armament. It was about the same time they discovered her forward shield had been built at 29 degrees rather than the specified 30 degrees. This resulted in Selma casting extended gun tubes for her forward rifles. This contrasts with the measurements obtained on the two smaller Tombigbee boats which were found to be identical and as specified.

Anyway, based on that diagram it would seem that her sidewheels were placed aft of midship. If we assume that the 'YM' was a lengthened Nashville and that Porter would add frames to modify his designs, it seems reasonble to think they would have added most of them aft the wheelhouses to obtain the addtional 39' in length. Moulded beam would have remained the same. This would have placed the sidewheels near midship as you've depicted. Twin screws in the stern would have helped with propulsion and steering. The only modifications I would make to your drawing is add a third, smaller stack aft for the screw boilers and bring the sidewheels in closer to the hull (nearly flush) reducing her overall beam.

The original Eastport conversion by Brown is still a mystery. As finished by the USN she was built to a radically new design by Phelps and lengthened about 30' (not 50'). From contemporary descriptions when captured it would seem that the sides of Brown's casemate were vertical and built about 4' inboard of the hull (guards removed) and that the forward (and probable) aft shields were to be angled (about 35 degrees). Her planned armament was going to be four guns centerline. Papers and sketches describing this conversion were held by the master carpenter's son and existed up the early 1920s. They were offered to the Tennessee Historical Society but never received. Likewise, work books detailing the USN conversion at Mound City existed up to 1937 but have since been lost. This is the painful part of research.

All the best,
Bil
 

rebelatsea

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#52
Hello Bil,
Thank you for the advice on the Monster, I will add that suggestion to my drawing. If you move the sideweheels in , that means they are inset into the knuckle. I've often wondered if Nashville was actually constructed that way ,as there is a Waud drawing which apparently shows this. Nevertheless I've always used Bob Holcombe's plan as the basis for my work. Bob told me many years ago that Porter's original plans for the type had survived, but been stolen and their whereabouts unknown.
In light of the Eastport information, should I replace my wheelhouse configuration with the original Porter one and also substitute Porter type gunports and CS style pilot houses ?, remembering that I had assumed Brown had been responsible for those changes on the Eastport.
That is really interesting about Eastport, That means that all the plans and models ,mine included actually depict the Union ship ! From your description it sounds as if Brown was creating a paddle Arkansas ! Out with the drawing board again !

I wonder how many plans and drawings from the CSN offices were not actually destroyed but taken away and are now in private collections ,attics etc . I wouldn't mind betting there are answers to many mysteries out there somewhere.
 
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#53
Hello Bil,
Thank you for the advice on the Monster, I will add that suggestion to my drawing. If you move the sideweheels in , that means they are inset into the knuckle. I've often wondered if Nashville was actually constructed that way ,as there is a Waud drawing which apparently shows this. Nevertheless I've always used Bob Holcombe's plan as the basis for my work. Bob told me many years ago that Porter's original plans for the type had survived, but been stolen and their whereabouts unknown.
In light of the Eastport information, should I replace my wheelhouse configuration with the original Porter one and also substitute Porter type gunports and CS style pilot houses ?, remembering that I had assumed Brown had been responsible for those changes on the Eastport.
That is really interesting about Eastport, That means that all the plans and models ,mine included actually depict the Union ship ! From your description it sounds as if Brown was creating a paddle Arkansas ! Out with the drawing board again !

I wonder how many plans and drawings from the CSN offices were not actually destroyed but taken away and are now in private collections ,attics etc . I wouldn't mind betting there are answers to many mysteries out there somewhere.
Hello John,

I don't know if Bob ever saw those plans or if it was reported to him that they were once available but now are missing. There is no telling what remains to be 'discovered', but one of my pleasant daydreams is to be in Richmond in March 1865 packing up all the drawings, proposals and half-hull models I can find :smile:

The knuckles were usually built onto the hull as external extensions after the sides were planked. To extend the shafts outside the knuckles and then have the heavy wheels hanging on them would have severely stressed them. Other evidence from the FSU survey of the Phoenix suggests that the knuckles were to be modified into guards when that vessel was being converted into a blockade runner. There is a portion of the wreck that seems to indicate the shaft location and the hull is free of guards/knuckle at that position. I think it would be easier on the machinery and more efficient to have the wheels in close. Other details (pilot house, gunports, etc.) would be Porter in style.

There are two drawings in the NA labeled 'Confederate Ironclad for River Service' that do not appear like any known CS designs. They are all iron and feature iron beam frameworks to support the casemate. Certainly beyond the capacity of Southern industrial output at that time. Fortunately, several years ago a copy of one was found in the ordnance records and was clearly signed by Phelps. Early in the war he proposed several shallow water designs to the Navy but could not elicit any interest. Once the Eastport was captured he looked upon her as his pet project to transform into his idea of what an ironclad should be. She was so heavily armored and armed that she nearly broke her keel in the first few months of operation.

In Mallory's order to Brown he expected that these gunboats would serve on the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers under confined conditions. He suggested that they be armed only fore and aft as that would be the primary areas exposed to the enemy. This is what probably inspired Brown's conversion plans. Aside from a poor supply of guns, ship for ship most CS vessels were lightly armed as compared to their USN opponents. The Arkansas was an exception and when handled well she proved her worth. Yes, I do believe Brown's Eastport would have shared some details with the Arkansas. The biggest difference other than the paddlewheels is that her casemate sides would have been inboard of the outer hull (4') rather than flush with it. Her paddleboxes probably would have appeared like those of RDF conversions (see Simplot sketches) and she probably would have had a strengthened bow. I wish I had the carpenter's notes.

All the best,
Bil
 

rebelatsea

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#54
Hello Bil, I can go along with your daydream ! Thank you for your advice on knuckles etc. I have a copy of the Phoenix study, and it was that and the Fremaux (not Waud) print of Nashville that got me thinking about the positioning of the paddle boxes.
In have also seen those two shallow draft ICs. In my opinion they are not only not CS, but of no practical use whatsoever !

I'm interested in Brown's proposal for a centreline ordnance layout ,which is very "modern" of course, asnd also present in CSS Selma. I wonder if Brown was influenced by that too.

Anyway, I'm back to the drawing board !
 
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#55
Hello Bil, I can go along with your daydream ! Thank you for your advice on knuckles etc. I have a copy of the Phoenix study, and it was that and the Fremaux (not Waud) print of Nashville that got me thinking about the positioning of the paddle boxes.
In have also seen those two shallow draft ICs. In my opinion they are not only not CS, but of no practical use whatsoever !

I'm interested in Brown's proposal for a centreline ordnance layout ,which is very "modern" of course, asnd also present in CSS Selma. I wonder if Brown was influenced by that too.

Anyway, I'm back to the drawing board !
Hello John,

The issue is beam. As built the Eastport beam was 32' and placing a shield 4' inboard and assuming 18" for casemate thickness leaves 21' for the internal width. That's not enough width to practically angle the sides and work the guns, hence vertical sides. It is enough width to operate either a pivot mount to either side or two offset Marsilly mounts. I definitely think the fore and aft guns would have been full pivots. Four guns were requested by Brown even though initially Mallory thought two would do.

All the best,
Bil
 

rebelatsea

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#56
Hello Bil, Selma of course had the same beam problem, her guns were partially obstructed by the bracing, but it is such a sensible layout I'm surprised that none of the designers drew an IC with that layout.
I have copies of Porter's original design and have always been surprised that he didn't follow that through into his later designs, the advantages of a centreline configuration must have been obvious.
I suppose the traditions of the broadside navy were just too strong. I.N Brown I suspect would have made use of an all pivoted ordnance.
When I have completed new drawings I will put them up as a new thread, s we have got well off topic on this one !
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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#57
I have copies of Porter's original design and have always been surprised that he didn't follow that through into his later designs, the advantages of a centreline configuration must have been obvious.
I suppose the traditions of the broadside navy were just too strong. I.N Brown I suspect would have made use of an all pivoted ordnance.
I'm sure Brown would have been aware of the armament of the sloop-frigate Niagara (1855) which had heavy (XI-inch) Dahlgrens in a centerline pivot arrangement. (Actually, I think he may even have been stationed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard around the time of Niagara's construction, but that may be simply a coincidence.) Porter surely would have known of it as well.

The New Ironsides went some distance in this direction also, storing her XI-inch Dahlgrens well inboard and oriented fore-and-aft, though still in separate broadsides, evidently to reduce strain on the hull when the guns did not need to be in battery.
 
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#59
The floating battery was CSS New Orleans, abandoned at Island No 10 April 4th 1862, she mounted
17 - 8" sb, 1 -9" sb, 2 -32pdr sb when converted, 8 -8" sb, 1-32pdr mlr when lost. The battery was recovered and in June 1862 is recorded as mounting 5 -8" sb ,1 -32pdr mlr.
The woodcut is from the Philadelphia Enquirer 4th November 1862.
Her "sister" CSS Memphis mounted 18 guns and was lost at New Orleans 24 April 1862. There is some indication that her ordnance would have provided the broadside guns for CSS Mississippi.
I've been digging through some old notes and found some on the New Orleans. This is a transcription from a period newspaper article and may belong to the article from the Philadelphia Enquirer. "This battery, formerly the "Pelican Dock," at New Orleans, has no propelling power, but was towed up the river by four steam boats. The deck is about two feet above the surface of the river, but can be lowered or elevated by letting in or pumping out the water from bottom space under the entire breadth. A steam engine which works the pump is enclosed in the circular iron-plated bomb-proof. The rectangular bomb-proofs, constructed of timber, are designed as quarters for the men. The guns are mounted en barbette, and none of them are smaller than 32 pounders" I think the claim the batter was towed up by four vessels may be correct. Two of them were New Orleans towboats, one a large river packet. Still trying to figure out the fourth.
 
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#60
Bil R, the letter was written by Major de Golyer to a small Michigan town weekly newspaper, The Hudson Gazette. I did not scan the rest of the article , but could drop it on to a thumb drive next time I go to the Michiagn State Library. I go once or twice a week to do research. Sadly de Golyer wrote rather long letters and tooted his own horn a bit.
 



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