Photo discussion: Ironclads at New Orleans, postwar

Mark F. Jenkins

Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
Mar 31, 2012
Location
Central Ohio
From the photo posted by @ucvrelics at https://civilwartalk.com/threads/css-atlanta-css-nashville-models.183796/#post-2386987 ... don't want to hijack that thread, but this is too good to pass up.

css nashville.jpg


The focus in that thread was on Nashville (yellow arrow), but my eye was drawn immediately to the foreground, where there are very clearly three Canonicus-class monitors in a row; most likely the ones built inland that never saw service. The vessel behind them might be one of the Cascos, which could aid in dating this photo-- they were transferred from Mound City to New Orleans in 1869 IIRC. Beyond there it gets less distinct to me, at least on a first glance. What else can we find?
 

Mark F. Jenkins

Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
Mar 31, 2012
Location
Central Ohio
ironclads_at_NO.jpg


# 1, 2, and 3 are Canonicus-class monitors. If this is post-1869, Oneota was already sold to Peru, and so was Catawba. So these three have to be Manayunk/Ajax, Tippecanoe/Vesuvius/Wyandotte, and one other-- either Manhattan or one of the Peru-bound ships. #4 is a Casco-class monitor, of which a number were mothballed at NO after 1869. Beyond those it gets less distinct. There's a canopy/awning behind the Casco which is of an almost identical form, so it might be another Casco.... that still leaves a few smokestacks to account for.

ironclads_at_NO_wire.jpg
 
Last edited:

Mark F. Jenkins

Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
Mar 31, 2012
Location
Central Ohio
Good stuff. 1,2 and 3 look like a class of refined USS Monitor design ironclads.

Precisely what they are. The immediate follow-ons to the Monitor, the Passaic class, were refinements based on experience in design and construction of the original; but the next class, the Canonicus monitors, were designed drawing on actual combat experience. While most arrived too late for active war service, two that did make it were with Farragut at Mobile Bay: the ill-fated Tecumseh and the Manhattan (which came close to putting a hole right through the Tennessee).
 

Mark F. Jenkins

Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
Mar 31, 2012
Location
Central Ohio
To be fair, they didn't go around the Horn under their own power-- they were towed.

It's thought that the improved monitors were somewhat more seaworthy than the original, but there was still not much in the way of reserve buoyancy, as can be seen by how rapidly the Tecumseh went down when torpedoed. And they certainly would not have been able to fight their guns in any sort of a seaway... so they were 'seaworthy' in a very narrow and qualified sense. I would think that anyone taking her around the Horn would have a tough time getting life insurance prior to the trip.
 

Story

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Location
SE PA
To be fair, they didn't go around the Horn under their own power-- they were towed.

Yeah, look how well that worked out for the USS Monitor.

Towed or not, that passage 'round the horn sounds like it'd be more palatable inside of a buoy.

Back at the original photo, I thought the notes on the post-war configuration was illuminating.

canonicus_3.jpg


Individualized paint schames for each ship
http://www.shipbucket.com/drawings/7270/file
 
Joined
May 12, 2018
If I might submit a critique, I am fairly certain that the ship with her awning out midships, #4, is not a Casco. Rather, she is a Milwaukee class river monitor.

46F29203-792F-4D1D-9AC1-08BBC5608447.jpeg

The odd rails that run the length of the ship, the single stack, and the tall conning tower are key idenfying points. Additionally, she has a slight turtle back deck that is a dead giveaway for a Eads built Monitor, vs the Ericsson designs. Her foreward turret is largely covered by the awning and her after turret is partly obscured by what’s probably a Casco turret in the foreground but she is definitely there.

There are several candidates for which of the sisters she is, Winnebago, Chickasaw, and Kickapoo were all at New Orleans in lay up in 1869.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
Mar 31, 2012
Location
Central Ohio
Good eye... I think you are right on #4. Now that I look at it again, I think I was 'assigning' a couple of the structures to the vessel behind her that belong to that one, among which are the pilothouse "tower" and the other turret.

(But the Cascos had turtleback decks as well. Though they weren't really Ericsson designs-- really more Stimers, IIRC.)
 
Joined
May 12, 2018
Yes, it’s quite a jumble of superstructure over that way!

I’d forgotten that the Casco’s had turtle back decks. IIRC that was actually the result of Ericsson’s revisions to the Stimmers/Monitor Boards design to actually make them usable, they needed more buoyancy and added volume of the turtleback helped with that.
 

1stMS-Arty

Sergeant
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
There is also another boat in the picture....the bow of the ship the photo was taken from. It has an anchor laying on the deck and also some sort of plates bolted to the deck....
ironclads_at_NO_wire01.jpg
 

Story

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Location
SE PA
There is also another boat in the picture....the bow of the ship the photo was taken from.

The deck clutter on the foreground vessel looks the same as on #1, so... same class?

And if there are four Canonicus-class monitors flocking together, what does that indicate?
# 1, 2, and 3 are Canonicus-class monitors. If this is post-1869, Oneota was already sold to Peru, and so was Catawba. So these three have to be Manayunk/Ajax, Tippecanoe/Vesuvius/Wyandotte, and one other-- either Manhattan or one of the Peru-bound ships.
 

georgew

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 1, 2010
Location
southern california
From the photo posted by @ucvrelics at https://civilwartalk.com/threads/css-atlanta-css-nashville-models.183796/#post-2386987 ... don't want to hijack that thread, but this is too good to pass up.

View attachment 396020

The focus in that thread was on Nashville (yellow arrow), but my eye was drawn immediately to the foreground, where there are very clearly three Canonicus-class monitors in a row; most likely the ones built inland that never saw service. The vessel behind them might be one of the Cascos, which could aid in dating this photo-- they were transferred from Mound City to New Orleans in 1869 IIRC. Beyond there it gets less distinct to me, at least on a first glance. What else can we find?
A bit late to be adding this comment, but these vessels are moored on the west bank of the river, possibly above Algiers and below Gretna. This photo shows just how prominent the Nashville's wheel houses really were and gives some impression of her overall length. The vessels in the foreground give an impression of minimal reserve buoyancy and vulnerability to torpedoes (mines). Many of these vessels were scrapped for their engines and plate and I wonder how much of the job was done at NO/Algiers versus the upriver foundry/mills where the iron could be remelted.
 
Top