The Bombay Marine offer to the CS Government.

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rebelatsea

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When the Bombay Marine was disbanded vessels, the major warships were laid up.

Ten vessels were of immediate interest to Southern agents in England. These were:

. 1st Class Steam Frigates

Assaaye and Punjaub

Built in Bombay, 1854, 1,800 tons, 650hp(A), 700hp (P), 10 guns on the upper deck. 20 gun ports on the main deck

2nd Class Steam Frigates

Ajdha and Ferouz

Built in London 1846 (A), Bombay 1848(F), 1,440tons (A), 1,450tons (F), 500hp, 8 guns on the upper deck,
either 14 or 16 gun ports on the main deck

Aukland

Built in Glasgow 1840, 946tons 220hp, 6 guns

Semiramis

Built in Bombay 1842, 1,031 tons, 250hp 6 guns on the upper deck , unknown number of guns on the main deck

Zenubia

Built in Bombay 1851, 1,003tons, 280hp, 6 guns on the upper deck, unknown number of guns on the main deck

Sloops

Victoria

Built in Bombay, 1839, 705 tons, 230hp 5 guns

Berenice

Built in Glasgow 1836, 756 tons 220hp 5 guns

Lady Canning

Built in Bombay 1857, 527 tons, 160hp 4 guns.

These were all paddle steamers, designed and built as warships and close copies of Royal Navy vessels. Those constructed in Bombay were teak, all were timber hulled, and not iron as the Confederates had been led to believe.

Tonnages quoted are Builders Old Measurement. Engine power is nominal (NHP. six of the first seven carried upper deck guns (68pdr SB) as listed ,but were pierced for a main deck ordnance in addition.

In April 1861, all ten were offered for sale at a price of £2m to the Confederate Government.
In fact only Assaaye and Punjaub were then in Britain, both very large side wheel paddle steamers designed and built as warships. Constructed in teak, as completed they had upper deck guns only, carrying 68pdrs arranged as pivots fore and aft with eight in broadside. They were pierced for a main deck armament of twenty guns, and thus were comparable to HMS Terrible, the largest paddle warship built for the Royal Navy. They were laid up in the East India dock in London.

Charles K Prioleau, John K Fraser’s Liverpool agent had made a pre-emptive offer which had been accepted. Forty thousand bales of cotton, about nine thousand tons would cover this expenditure.

They would enter Southern ports carrying goods ,and either be outfitted as regular warships ,or be sent out again conveying cotton .

The cotton crop of 1860 had been good and many planters were heavily in favour of the scheme, as a way to get the crop into European ports before the Union blockade became effective. Confederate Treasury Secretary Meminger was in favour, the most serious objection being from Navy Secretary Stephen Mallory who pointed out that the vessels were deep draught, more than 10ft, meaning that they would be unable to enter most Southern harbours.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis and the majority of his cabinet were still under the impression that the war would be a short one, and moreover were not convinced that a national navy rather than individual state’s navies was necessary, and thus the proposal was rejected.

The only serious proposal for establishing a supply of cotton overseas was lost ,and with it the chances of obtaining a the nucleus of a seagoing ,albeit wooden and paddle steamer, fleet for the Confederate States Navy.

Nevertheless, until the Trent incident in late 1861, Frazer –Trenholm retained nominal title to the two ships in England, until the British Government withdrew then for sale to private buyers and subventioned them for use as transports to convey troops and weapons to Canada, as being paddle steamers they were then obsolete as warships to the RN.

It is possible that some if not all of the 68pdr sb from the two big ships found their way to the Confederacy.

Sources

Nepveux, Ethel S. George: Alfred Trenholm and the Company that went to war, 1861 -1865. Charleston SC, 1973 p25

Roman, Alfred :The Military Operation of General Beauregard in the War between the States,1861to 1865, New York 1884 , vol 1 pp 59 -60

Rowland, Dunbar (ed) Jefferson Davis, Constitutionalist: His Letters, Papers, and Speeches, Jackson, Miss., 1923, vol 3, pp25ff.

Basso, Hamilton, Beauregard, the Great Creole. New York, 1933 pp104 -5

Dodd, W E, Jefferson Davis, Philadelphia, 1907 p321

Meade, Robert D. Judah P. Benjamin, Confederate Statesman. New York, 1943, p66

Ships active in the Indian Navy 1858. Wiki – Fibis.

The learned gentlemen of the Civil War Talk internet forum, naval section, in particular

George Wright, Andy Hall and Cmdr Charles Robbins USN (Retd)

History of the Indian Navy 1613 -1863, Charles Rathbone Low 1877

Andrea Cordani, MBA MBCS, www.eicships.info

The British Library, Asia, Pacific Collection.
 

vikingbear

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John!

Great job! You have done something that so far no one has been able to do! This closes a very large gap in the development history of the Conf Navy.
Now, why would history record them being built out of iron instead of wood?
Well..................
that is probally one more question whose answer will stay lost in history.

John, with your ability to dig info out of the past cannot wait until you publish. Can only wounder about the interesting tid bite inside!

grizz
 
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rebelatsea

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Thank you Grizz ,and Andy.

I wish I knew why Prioleau was told they were iron built too, if and when he went into the detail he would soon have found out they were timber ! As soon as I saw "Bombay" as a building location ,and looked at some of the dates, I knew they couldn't all be iron. It is possible I suppose that the Glasgow built vessels were iron, but again the dates make it very unlikely.
The other major problem would be manning these ships, they needed very large crews. In the Bombay Marine these were skilled "native" seamen,petty and junior officers with English / British Commanders. These men had been thrown out of work , but by and large had found employment at sea in mercantile shipping. I can't see them being induced to work for the South.
The ships all did find their way to England in time to be used as transports, and were then given back to their buyers, but being constructed as warships were not really suitable for mercantile use for any length of time.
 
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leftyhunter

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When the Bombay Marine was disbanded vessels, the major warships were laid up.

Ten vessels were of immediate interest to Southern agents in England. These were:

. 1st Class Steam Frigates

Assaaye and Punjaub

Built in Bombay, 1854, 1,800 tons, 650hp(A), 700hp (P), 10 guns on the upper deck. 20 gun ports on the main deck

2nd Class Steam Frigates

Ajdha and Ferouz

Built in London 1846 (A), Bombay 1848(F), 1,440tons (A), 1,450tons (F), 500hp, 8 guns on the upper deck,
either 14 or 16 gun ports on the main deck

Aukland

Built in Glasgow 1840, 946tons 220hp, 6 guns

Semiramis

Built in Bombay 1842, 1,031 tons, 250hp 6 guns on the upper deck , unknown number of guns on the main deck

Zenubia

Built in Bombay 1851, 1,003tons, 280hp, 6 guns on the upper deck, unknown number of guns on the main deck

Sloops

Victoria

Built in Bombay, 1839, 705 tons, 230hp 5 guns

Berenice

Built in Glasgow 1836, 756 tons 220hp 5 guns

Lady Canning

Built in Bombay 1857, 527 tons, 160hp 4 guns.

These were all paddle steamers, designed and built as warships and close copies of Royal Navy vessels. Those constructed in Bombay were teak, all were timber hulled, and not iron as the Confederates had been led to believe.

Tonnages quoted are Builders Old Measurement. Engine power is nominal (NHP. six of the first seven carried upper deck guns (68pdr SB) as listed ,but were pierced for a main deck ordnance in addition.

In April 1861, all ten were offered for sale at a price of £2m to the Confederate Government.
In fact only Assaaye and Punjaub were then in Britain, both very large side wheel paddle steamers designed and built as warships. Constructed in teak, as completed they had upper deck guns only, carrying 68pdrs arranged as pivots fore and aft with eight in broadside. They were pierced for a main deck armament of twenty guns, and thus were comparable to HMS Terrible, the largest paddle warship built for the Royal Navy. They were laid up in the East India dock in London.

Charles K Prioleau, John K Fraser’s Liverpool agent had made a pre-emptive offer which had been accepted. Forty thousand bales of cotton, about nine thousand tons would cover this expenditure.

They would enter Southern ports carrying goods ,and either be outfitted as regular warships ,or be sent out again conveying cotton .

The cotton crop of 1860 had been good and many planters were heavily in favour of the scheme, as a way to get the crop into European ports before the Union blockade became effective. Confederate Treasury Secretary Meminger was in favour, the most serious objection being from Navy Secretary Stephen Mallory who pointed out that the vessels were deep draught, more than 10ft, meaning that they would be unable to enter most Southern harbours.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis and the majority of his cabinet were still under the impression that the war would be a short one, and moreover were not convinced that a national navy rather than individual state’s navies was necessary, and thus the proposal was rejected.

The only serious proposal for establishing a supply of cotton overseas was lost ,and with it the chances of obtaining a the nucleus of a seagoing ,albeit wooden and paddle steamer, fleet for the Confederate States Navy.

Nevertheless, until the Trent incident in late 1861, Frazer –Trenholm retained nominal title to the two ships in England, until the British Government withdrew then for sale to private buyers and subventioned them for use as transports to convey troops and weapons to Canada, as being paddle steamers they were then obsolete as warships to the RN.

It is possible that some if not all of the 68pdr sb from the two big ships found their way to the Confederacy.

Sources

Nepveux, Ethel S. George: Alfred Trenholm and the Company that went to war, 1861 -1865. Charleston SC, 1973 p25

Roman, Alfred :The Military Operation of General Beauregard in the War between the States,1861to 1865, New York 1884 , vol 1 pp 59 -60

Rowland, Dunbar (ed) Jefferson Davis, Constitutionalist: His Letters, Papers, and Speeches, Jackson, Miss., 1923, vol 3, pp25ff.

Basso, Hamilton, Beauregard, the Great Creole. New York, 1933 pp104 -5

Dodd, W E, Jefferson Davis, Philadelphia, 1907 p321

Meade, Robert D. Judah P. Benjamin, Confederate Statesman. New York, 1943, p66

Ships active in the Indian Navy 1858. Wiki – Fibis.

The learned gentlemen of the Civil War Talk internet forum, naval section, in particular

George Wright, Andy Hall and Cmdr Charles Robbins USN (Retd)

History of the Indian Navy 1613 -1863, Charles Rathbone Low 1877

Andrea Cordani, MBA MBCS, www.eicships.info

The British Library, Asia, Pacific Collection.
Great research! Next question did the CSA have enough manpower to man the above vessel?. The CSA army was always short of manpower and desertion was always a major issue for the CSA. Would the CSA have enough experienced petty officers to train thousands of sailors? Sailors unlike soldiers can not forge for food other then catching fish. The CSA Army and home front )there where food riots in Southern cities) was always short of food. How would the CSN feed all these new sailors?
Leftyhunter
 

kevikens

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Teak? How did teak compare to oak when hit with shellfire? Would they have been close to the USS Mississippi and Susquehanna in capability?
 
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rebelatsea

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Great research! Next question did the CSA have enough manpower to man the above vessel?. The CSA army was always short of manpower and desertion was always a major issue for the CSA. Would the CSA have enough experienced petty officers to train thousands of sailors? Sailors unlike soldiers can not forge for food other then catching fish. The CSA Army and home front )there where food riots in Southern cities) was always short of food. How would the CSN feed all these new sailors?
Leftyhunter
I made that point in a post above, but in not so much detail
 

rebelatsea

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Teak? How did teak compare to oak when hit with shellfire? Would they have been close to the USS Mississippi and Susquehanna in capability?
The RN had several teak built frigates over the years, it's a very strong timber but the splinters tended to lead to more infec tions than oak for some reason.
Fully armed wth 68pdrs on deck and heavy shell guns in broadside ,they would be more than a match for the US paddle frigates.
 

vikingbear

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The RN had several teak built frigates over the years, it's a very strong timber but the splinters tended to lead to more infec tions than oak for some reason.
Fully armed wth 68pdrs on deck and heavy shell guns in broadside ,they would be more than a match for the US paddle frigates.
Yes they would more than match USN PW frigates, but would they sail unaided?
They might have been able to find a crew over in Europe. The ocean raiders were able to pick up crews that way, then again would the different mission (trying to run in supplies to the south or trying to brake the blockade) make it harder to find a foreign crew? .
What I mean is that the last two missions would have a greater chance of meeting real warships vs unarmed merchant ships and a greater chance of getting killed.
Also do not believe they would have a chance if they met a river class frigate. (maybe speed?) as if they wanted had ports for some 60 guns (maybe for coastal use without the need to carry a full load of supplies). The Niagara had those 11" guns, and a higher speed. The steam frigate Franklin (sister ship) was sitting on the stocks at the Portsmouth Navy yard, almost finished. Back up to 5 frigates and a super corvette (plus supporting vessels, the British PM would later write (Trent Affair) the only thing he worried about was the size of the cannon the USN placed aboard their warships and converted gunboats).
The deep draft of these PW frigates would limit the number of ports they could operate out of, thus funneling these frigates to known locations.
The poor sailing ability and short steaming range would limit their use as long rang raiders.
AS for raids on coastal shipping and port locations, this would change somewhat the building plans of the US navy but at that time inshore coastal defense was under the control of the US army, who had war plans in place. The south learned from the same trainers so see what the south did and expand it 3 to 4 times because of the north's greater manpower and support systems.
This would make a great question by it self. what steps would the North take if this did happen?


GRIZZ
 
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AndyHall

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They might have been able to find a crew over in Europe. The ocean raiders were able to pick up crews that way, then again would the different mission (trying to run in supplies to the south or trying to brake the blockade) make it harder to find a foreign crew? .
What I mean is that the last two missions would have a greater chance of meeting real warships vs unarmed merchant ships and a greater chance of getting killed.
Expired Image Removed

Semmes had trouble manning Alabama, even as a commerce raider (i.e., going against mostly unarmed merchantmen). The ship sailed unarmed from the UK to the Azores, where they met other vessels that had brought out the officers, guns and ammunition stores. Even though Alabama's ultimate purpose was undoubtedly known to every man aboard her, they balked at signing onto her as a Confederate warship, and extracted from Semmes a promise of double the pay he originally offered.
 

KeyserSoze

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Confederate President Jefferson Davis and the majority of his cabinet were still under the impression that the war would be a short one, and moreover were not convinced that a national navy rather than individual state’s navies was necessary, and thus the proposal was rejected.
Not the first Davis decision that aided the defeat of the Confederacy, and not the last either.
 

rebelatsea

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Yes they would more than match USN PW frigates, but would they sail unaided?
They might have been able to find a crew over in Europe. The ocean raiders were able to pick up crews that way, then again would the different mission (trying to run in supplies to the south or trying to brake the blockade) make it harder to find a foreign crew? .
What I mean is that the last two missions would have a greater chance of meeting real warships vs unarmed merchant ships and a greater chance of getting killed.
Also do not believe they would have a chance if they met a river class frigate. (maybe speed?) as if they wanted had ports for some 60 guns (maybe for coastal use without the need to carry a full load of supplies). The Niagara had those 11" guns, and a higher speed. The steam frigate Franklin (sister ship) was sitting on the stocks at the Portsmouth Navy yard, almost finished. Back up to 5 frigates and a super corvette (plus supporting vessels, the British PM would later write (Trent Affair) the only thing he worried about was the size of the cannon the USN placed aboard their warships and converted gunboats).
The deep draft of these PW frigates would limit the number of ports they could operate out of, thus funneling these frigates to known locations.
The poor sailing ability and short steaming range would limit their use as long rang raiders.
AS for raids on coastal shipping and port locations, this would change somewhat the building plans of the US navy but at that time inshore coastal defense was under the control of the US army, who had war plans in place. The south learned from the same trainers so see what the south did and expand it 3 to 4 times because of the north's greater manpower and support systems.
This would make a great question by it self. what steps would the North take if this did happen?


GRIZZ
Grizz,
By RN standards the ship[s were obsolete, which is why they were used as transsports. They would not be a match for the "modern" frigates. The other factor to think about is that such vessels would need highly trained crews to operate effectively no matter their role for the south. Time to train in safe waters would be crucial, time that wasn't there, and there were no safe Southern waters.
Palmerston might have sasid he was afraid of those guns ,but the Admiralty weren't - which is more important.
 
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rebelatsea

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Not the first Davis decision that aided the defeat of the Confederacy, and not the last either.
He wouldn't be the last in history either : " The war will be over by Christmas" and " Isolate Great Britain and Germany shall have achieved victory before six months has elapsed" ( no not Adolf Hitler - Herman Goering) come to mind.
 

vikingbear

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Hi John,
Then this brings forth the question what would have been use the best use of these ships for these ships? Unarmed blockade runners, armed blockade runners with only the upper deck armed? Fully armed?
Razed and armed with RML guns would make powerful warships at least in the coastal areas. Guess used in this way would have disrupted the forming of the blockade.
Talking about the large Union cannon was more in thinking of a lucky boiler shot or like the Alabama putting a large hole in the hull.

GRIZZ
 

rebelatsea

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Grizz ,
I don't think they would have been fast enough to become runners, and their deep draught would limit where they could go However, with the upper deck pivots replaced with 7" Brooke mlr ,retain their 68pdrs and put a number of heavy shell guns on the main deck ,and they would be a serious menace to blockaders, and even as we have said elsewhere to monitors, A full broadside of 68pdr shot at the right range would be quite capable of sinking a monitor, and in fact even New Ironside's protection would not have been proof against them.
 
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Mark F. Jenkins

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The experiences of the CSS Chickamauga and Tallahassee would be instructive here. Both were blockade runners armed to function as cruisers, but due to their limited operating range (they were dependent upon steam and therefore coal, not being primarily designed as sailing vessels) their activities were limited to quick raids not far from the coast. Neither one interrupted the blockade (though they did cause quite a stir among Northern shipping concerns); in fact, it's been argued (then and since) that their activities did more to draw attention to the port they operated from (Wilmington) than anything else, with the consequent tightening of the blockade and the eventual operations to close the port.
 
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