Photos Of 2 CS Torpedo Boats Any ID?


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USS ALASKA

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#6
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http://navsource.org/archives/08/350/0844801.jpg

The Confederate submarine thought to be the Pioneer was found in 1878, but the one shown here is actually a different model.
The following text and photos dealing with a Civil War Era sub appear at Louisiana State Museum

The history of the museum's submarine can be traced to 1878 when it was removed from Lake Pontchartrain and placed on the levee by a dredge crew working near the mouth of Bayou St. John. For years after its recovery, the boat lay neglected on the lakeshore. By 1895, it was placed on display at Spanish Fort where it became a prominent landmark. A period of neglect followed, during which the submarine was taken from its wooden stand at the Fort and left lying in the weeds. A remaining propeller blade was removed by vandals and large areas of loss appeared along the lower hull. Later, in 1908, it was moved to the Camp Nicholls Confederate Home on Bayou St. John. In 1942, it was acquired by the State Museum and moved to Jackson Square. Some years later the museum transferred it into the lower Pontalba Building, where it was featured in a "Defense Exhibit." It was eventually moved under the Presbytere arcade in 1957 before being transferred to the conservatory in December of 1999.

The Louisiana State Museum submarine once was thought to have an identity. It was believed to be the Pioneer, a vessel built in New Orleans by a group led by Horace Hunley, a wealthy lawyer and customs agent. Recent findings in the National Archives, however, have proven otherwise.

The Pioneer was established by a letter of marque by the Confederate government as a privateer in March of 1862. Only a month later, however, New Orleans fell to David Glasgow Farragut, commander of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, and the Pioneer was scuttled in a New Orleans canal. When the submarine was discovered, a team of Union experts examined it and prepared measured drawings to be sent to Washington for further study. It was these drawings and descriptions, found only three years ago by naval historian Mark Ragan, that showed the Pioneer to be a different vessel than the one owned by the State Museum.

While the Pioneer was described as cigar shaped, 30 feet long and 4 feet in diameter, the New Orleans submarine is shaped more like a pumpkinseed, and is 20 feet long, 3 feet wide and 6 feet deep. The submarine still has a propeller shaft and gear that were part of its propulsion system. It was powered by two people who either hand cranked or pedaled the propeller. In the bow of the vessel were controls for a third man to adjust the diving planes and the bow and stern rudders. There is evidence of a sophisticated system to turn the bow and stern rudders simultaneously.

Louisiana State Museum Submarine is shown at the Spanish Fort on Lake Ponchartrain, northeast of New Orleans, about 1880. Her propeller hub (without blades) is on the stern at the left, the rudder and diving planes are in the bow, at right.


Photo & partial text courtesy of 'U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History' by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.

http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08448.htm

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Excerpt from 'Submarine Monsters of the Confederacy 1861-1865 ' - https://civilwartalk.com/threads/acw-naval-papers.152447/page-2#post-2046034

STATE OF LOUISIANA
The CSS Pioneer I (New Orleans)
The CSS Pioneer was built by James McClintock and Baxter Watson in March 1862. It was assembled at the Leeds Foundry or, according to McClintock, in his machine shop located 21 Front Levee Street where he already manufactured steam valves and even Minié bullets on a machine of his invention. He successfully carried out a first trial in front a large crowd. The submarine pulled a mine attached to a 200 feet long cable, allowing it to be sufficiently far away when the powder charge exploded. The Letter of Marque issued by the Confederate Government on April 1, 1862, describes it as follows: “Said vessel was built at New Orleans in 1862, it has a propeller, is 34 feet long, 4 feet wide and 4 feet high. It weighs about 4 tons, has tapered circular ends and is painted black.” After the war, James McClintock gave the following description of the submersible: “We built the first submarine in New Orleans in 1862. It was made of 1/4 inch thick iron plates. It had the shape of a cigar, 30 feet long and 4 feet in diameter.” The propeller of the submarine was powered by a hand crankshaft; it was not designed for speed, but to move silently without being noticed by the enemy. During the first trial, the submarine plunged under its target, and then resurfaced on the other side. The floating mine pulled by the cable struck it and exploded with success. It is reported that it sank at a barge, some rafts, and a small schooner, which served as targets during other tests needed to perfect McClintock’s diving methods. His aim was to sink the Federal ships USS New London and USS Calhoun patrolling Lake Pontchartrain. On April 25, 1862, less than a month after these tests, New Orleans was captured by Union Admiral David G. Farragut. To prevent the CSS Pioneer from falling into enemy hands, McClintock scuttled it in a canal near Lake Pontchartrain. He then fled with his assistant Baxter Watson and settled in the port of Mobile, Alabama, where they immediately began the construction of a new submersible. Shortly after, the Federals found the CSS Pioneer and withdrew it from the water. A full report and a detailed plan of the submarine found near New Basin, between New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain, were drafted by Union navy engineer William H. Shock and his assistant Alfred Colin, assisted by G.W. Baird, a young mechanic of the USS Pensacola. All this material was sent to the Federal Assistant Navy Secretary Gustavus Fox and has recently been found in the National Archives. We are therefore now in possession of the only detailed plan known of the CSS Pioneer, of which only oral descriptions previously existed. The last time the CSS Pioneer was heard of was on February 15, 1868, in the morning edition of the New Orleans Picayune, which announced: “A torpedo boat, which was built in the city or hereabouts during the war, and which is now lying on the banks of the New Canal, near Claiborne Street, is to be sold at public auction today, by the United States authorities, at 12 o’clock at the Canal street entrance of the Custom House. The boat in question, which is built of iron and weighs about two tons, was sunk in the Canal about the time of the occupation of the city by the Federal forces, in 1862. It was built as an experiment, and was never fully perfected, and is only valuable now for the machinery and iron which is in and about it.” In the evening edition of the same newspaper, one could read: “The torpedo boat, of which we made mention this morning, was sold at public auction today at noon, for forty-three dollars. It cost, originally, twenty-six hundred.” This is the last that was ever heard of the CSS Pioneer. We must conclude that it was totally dismantled to retrieve its metal parts, but some other parts may have survived and could be in the hands of a private individual or collector. Who knows?

The submarine of Bayou Saint-John
On June 25, 1861, E. P. Doer, a citizen of Chicago, Illinois, sent a letter to the Department of the Navy in Washington. He explained having met in Buffalo, NY, where he was travelling, a native lady from New England, who was returning from the South, where she had been teaching for three years. She had lived north of New Orleans and had managed to make it to the Northern States. She told him that the Rebels were busy building an underwater infernal machine to destroy the USS Brooklyn or any other vessel blockading the mouth of the Mississippi. According to her description, the submarine was to be used as a projectile with a ram or tapered steel prow to pierce the hull of the ship and then blow it up. She also stated that it was built by experienced engineers. This letter was dated well before the first rumors of the construction of the CSS Pioneer. Therefore, it must be another submarine or possibly the ironclad CSS Manassas. The presence of a spar at the end of which would have been placed an explosive charge, suggests that the mysterious submarine could be the one exhibited for many years under the arcades of the New Orleans Presbytery. The submersible was built with skills, the metal plates forming the shell were recuperated from old boilers and appear to have been riveted (with the same method used in the construction of the ironclad CSS Manassas), as evidenced in the sketches that have been preserved. The submarine had a crew of only three men. Two were sitting on a wooden bench and turned the crankshaft that was connected to a gear box allowing the four-blade propeller to rotate much faster. The third man, the pilot, handled the depth panes and rudder, and guided the machine via a window in the small cylindrical turret. An outside pipe connection seems to indicate that the submersible had some sort of snorkel attached by a flexible tube to a floating device on the surface, allowing the flow of fresh air inside the cockpit. The wreck of the submarine was found in 1878 during the dredging of Bayou Saint John, a little upstream from where it empties into Lake Pontchartrain. The dredger Valentine brought it back to the surface the following year, where it was abandoned on the bayou bank. Stephen T. Forster reports the following anecdote that took place during the discovery of the Big Fish as it had been nicknamed by many of the citizens of New Orleans who had come to attend the operation. After successfully opening the vessel, the skeletons of three men were found inside. A visitor suddenly exclaimed: “This explains everything, and say that for many years I believed that they were traitors”! When asked to explain, he replied that he had invented the submarine and hired three men to use it to blow Northern gunboats on Lake Pontchartrain. He was to guide his accomplices by way of signals from the bank. They sailed, but as they did not respond to his signal and never returned, he concluded that they were traitors who had changed sides and joined the Yankees. In 1895, the wreck was transported to a Spanish Fort amusement park where it aroused some interest before being once more discarded. In 1908, at his request, it was given to the Camp Nicholls Home for Confederate Soldiers, which accommodated old veterans and needy soldiers of the ex-Confederate Army. It was placed on a concrete pedestal along the bayou near Esplanade Street and for a while became a local attraction. In 1924, an 81-year-old former lieutenant of the 5th Louisiana Infantry, named Frances J. Wehner, confided to a reporter that he had participated in the construction of the submarine. He apparently told the truth since after examining the National Archives, it appears that he was duly enrolled in this regiment on May 10, 1861, in New Orleans, and that the 5th Louisiana infantry regiment remained in the vicinity of the city for several months. Unfortunately we know nothing more about this veteran. The submarine in question was for a long time believed to be the Pioneer. However, it was measured in 1926 by William Morton Robinson as being 20 feet long, 3 feet 2 inches wide and 6 feet high. Remember that the real Pioneer was 30 feet long! The submersible was acquired by the Louisiana State Museum in 1942 and placed in Jackson Square in New Orleans. It was moved to the Pontalba Building, then on 24 April 1957, it was installed under the Presbytery Arcade in front of the Louisiana State Museum (the old Cabildo), along Jackson Square, in the centre of the Old Quarter. It was finally transported to Baton Rouge in December 1999 as part of a restoration project destined specifically to remove the cement that had been poured inside the wreck at the beginning of the past century and that was slowly corroding the hull. This delicate work is completed today and the perfectly restored submarine (even provided with a copy of the original propeller) is displayed at the Louisiana Museum of the Louisiana capital. To avoid once and for all any confusion with the Pioneer, it was officially renamed the Bayou Saint John’s Submarine.

The infernal Confederate Machine (Houmas Plantation)
A Confederate infernal machine was exhibited for many years in the small private Civil War museum (belonging to an oil company) at the Tezcuco Plantation, near Burnside, Louisiana. On May 12, 2002, the Manor House and other buildings of the plantation were totally destroyed by fire. However, I had the opportunity to visit this plantation in July 2001 and took some shots of the submarine. Fortunately, although it had been abandoned for a few years, it was not too badly damaged. I took the necessary steps so that it could be entrusted to the remarkable Civil War Naval Museum of Columbus in Georgia, but to no avail. It finally was bought by the Museum of Houmas House Plantation, near Darrow, Louisiana, which quickly completed the restoration of the small submersible as shown on the photograph taken at this location in 2007. A description that might concern this submarine can be found in the book of Simon Lake The Submarine in War and Peace published by J.B. Lippincott in Philadelphia in 1918, despite the fact that the author believed he was then speaking of the submarine of Bayou Saint John, which was still at Camp Nicholls at that time: “It appears that this submarine was the conception of a wealthy planter who owned a number of slaves. He thought that it would add considerable interest to the occasion of her launching if, when the vessel left the ways, she should disappear beneath the waves and make a short run beneath the surface before coming up. So he took two of his most intelligent slaves and instructed them how to hold the tiller when the vessel slid down the ways, and in which way to turn the propeller for a time after she began to lose her launched speed. He told them when they got ready to come up they should push the tiller down and the vessel would come to the surface to be towed ashore. A great crowd assembled to see this novel launching. ‘When things were all ready,’ said the old Southern gentleman, ‘sure enough, them two (slaves) got into the boat and shut down the hatches; and do you know, suh, that at that time them (slaves) was worth a thousand dollars apiece’. Well, it seems that the boat slid down the wads and disappeared under the water just as had been planned. The crowd waited expectantly, but the vessel did not reappear. Eventually they got into boats and put out hooks and grappling lines, but she could not be found. The designer of the craft stated as his opinion that ‘he might have known better than to trust them pesky (slaves) anyway’, and he was willing to bet that they had taken the opportunity to steal the vessel and run away. He asserted that very likely they would take the boat up North and give it to the Yankees, and that they could expect to hear of the Yanks using it to blow up some of their own (Confederate) ships. Her disappearance remained a mystery for a great many years - until long after the war closed, in fact, and the incident had been forgotten. Years afterward, during some dredging operations to deepen the harbor, the dredge buckets one day got hold of something they could not lift. A diver was sent down to investigate, and he reported that there was some metal object buried in the mud, which looked like a steam boiler. They set to work to raise this, and putting chains around it they lifted it on to the wharf. The old gentleman, in closing the narrative, remarked, ‘And do you know, suh, when they opened the hatch them two blamed (slaves) was still in thar, but they warn’t wuth a ****ed cent.’” It is therefore clearly another machine than the one found in Bayou Saint John.

The submarine of Shreveport
In September 1863, the Singer Submarine Corps undertook the construction of five submarines in Shreveport, under the direction of engineer James Jones, who incidentally had also been one of the crew members of the Hunley. The company settled in the Confederate shipyard located at the mouth of Cross Bayou, on the south shore, in the place where it empties into the Red River. Four submarines remained on the spot, but the fifth was sent to Houston, Texas, and its trace was permanently lost. When the Yankees demanded the surrender of the Confederate capital of Louisiana in June 18651, the submarines were sunk near the mouth of the bayou to avoid them from falling into enemy hands. In 2005 and 2006, their likely location was discovered 30 feet deep under the shore of the bayou by Dr. Gary D. Joiner, an historian of Shreveport and Civil War specialist in Louisiana, assisted by Ralph Wilbanks, a sonar expert. I went to the site with Gary Joiner in 2007 and took a photograph of him. Both are now looking for permissions and the funds necessary to conduct the delicate and costly archaeological research, which should allow the exhumation of these four exceptional relics.
42

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A search will reveal several threads about the vessel.
There is a LOT of speculation about this "vessel", so take it all with a grain of salt.
The Lambousy material is pretty good as is this...
 

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USS ALASKA

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There were some other clues, however. A letter from Fleet Engineer Shock to Assistant Secretary of the US Navy Gustavas Fox said:

“Some few weeks since I had some duty calling me to a place down at the New Basin where I discovered a submarine machine. I embraced the first favorable opportunity and examined it, got its history and had a drawing made of it, a tracing of which I send you as a curiosity. The history of the machine seems is simply this, in the early part of Admiral Farragut’s operations here (New Orleans fell on May 1, 1862) the gunboat New London was a perfect terror to the Rebels in the lake (Lake Pontchartrain), so it occurred to them if they could get a machine that would move underwater they could succeed in securing a torpedo to the bottom of the ship, move off, touch the wires, and thus terminate their existence. They finally got the thing done, made a good job of it, got it overboard, and put two men in it; they were smothered to death.”

The “Pioneer” was never involved in a similar incident so it is believed that this action was by a different vessel and possibly the Mystery Sub.

Also, in June 1861, New Yorker E. P. Doer travelled to New Orleans and heard a story. He related that story to the Navy in Washington.

“…… the Rebels in New Orleans are constructing an infernal vessel to destroy the “Brooklyn”, or any vessel blockading the mouth of the Mississippi; from her description she is to be used as a projectile with a sharp iron or steel pointed brow to perforate the bottom of the vessel and then explode. She says that it is being constructed by competent engineers. I put implicit reliance in the correctness of this information.”

Excerpt from http://peripateticengineer.blogspot.com/2009/02/louisianas-mystery-submarine.html
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#13
Here are 2 drawing that I also came across.

View attachment 305193

I can't make out the name at the bottom of this drawing.
View attachment 305196
I am curious about these two drawings. The writing at the bottom of the second image (1977.137.1.61) says "Submarine Torpedo Boat". The writing on the top image (1977.137.1.62) says, "Rebel Torpedo Boat", suggesting both were drawn by Unionist, and likely not from direct observation. Details of the drawings suggest the same...

The top image is styled after the "David" boats (spar torpedo, steam power, open cuddy for crew), but uses the rudder design of the Fish Boat (H.L. Hunley). The lower image is much more reminiscent of the Fish Boat with the sealed entrance, diving planes, weighted keel, and rudder system.

If I had to guess, I would say these were drawn from rumors of how a submarine vessel might operate, some time after Oct 1863 when the general shape of David and the Fish Boat, from Charleston, became well known. It is clear that the sketches conflate the two vessels into a single vessel.

Might I ask the details associated with these drawings (artist, location of the drawings, any written details- other than the call numbers of each, etc.)?
 
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Story

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If I had to guess, I would say these were drawn from rumors of how a submarine vessel might operate, some time after Oct 1863 when the general shape of David and the Fish Boat, from Charleston, became well known. It is clear that the sketches conflate the two vessels into a single vessel.
Or from descriptions supplied second-hand, by someone who could get close without raising suspicions but may not have been as articulate as one would desire.
 

ucvrelics

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Below is the only data that was listed with these images.

Side view of lozenge-shaped submarine, shown partially submerged under water. Two men and a small smoke stack are at top. Screw and torpedo attachment are visible. Caption reads Rebel Torpedo Boat.

Sketch of side view of lozenge shaped boat submerged under water. Shows screw at right and torpedo device at left. Caption reads Submarine torpedo boat
 
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From what I understand the Bayou St John sub was intended to have a propeller at both ends, originally, to supposedly help back off the ship it had rammed. I used it as a prototype for my Nautilus drawings, and I might also do another fictional sub done with even more design influences from it as it’s a neat little sub. Not sure what she had in the way of a conning Tower,her remains are fragmentary. I’m pretty sure that the rumor about it being built like a boiler is bunkum, it looks to me to have had the rivets smoothed down as on the Hunley, and there have been suggestions she was built by the team behind the Manasass, and her hatch tower knocked off in Sami’s accident upon launching, though equally it may have been knocked off while she was underwater (prehaps she sank with open hatches?). She’s well built, actually quite similar to the American Diver built postwar. Now if only we could locate USS Aligator...
 
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Below is the only data that was listed with these images.

Side view of lozenge-shaped submarine, shown partially submerged under water. Two men and a small smoke stack are at top. Screw and torpedo attachment are visible. Caption reads Rebel Torpedo Boat.

Sketch of side view of lozenge shaped boat submerged under water. Shows screw at right and torpedo device at left. Caption reads Submarine torpedo boat
Thank you. Are they curated at the Louisiana State Archives? If so, what file are they in? Any information at all may be helpful in understanding the origin, the artist, or the context in which they were created.
 
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#19
The Confederate submarine thought to be the Pioneer was found in 1878, but the one shown here is actually a different model.
I can't remember the sources, but I'm pretty sure this sub was dismissed as The Pioneer a few years ago.
I recall this craft as being on display at the New Orleans Cabildo.
From the 1970's until at least the 1990's.



https://louisianastatemuseum.org/museum/cabildo


Back then, it was always called the 'Confederate mystery submersible of Lake Pontchartrain".

If I'm not mistaken, it's since been moved to a research facility.

One thing to remember, there were many private entities working on the Confederate Government's challenge to develop a practical
"sub".
 

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