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The Dolly at Edwards Ferry

Discussion in 'Civil War History - The Naval War' started by corn-fed-erate, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. corn-fed-erate

    corn-fed-erate Corporal

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    Hey Y'all, its been a while. I have questions about something that comes from Page 137-138 of "Confederate Ships Afloat".

    "Dolly was a steamer which served Confederate authorities in the Roanoke River. She was seized by US Navy near Edwards Ferry, NC, in May (1865); on the 27th it was reported that she had been sunk in a canal along with a lighter of iron plates. Her dimensions and importance are not recorded."

    This boat seems to have been captured and then sunk by the US navy, is that right?



    "with a lighter of iron plates." What was a "lighter"? Was it something like a barge or a "flat" for carrying cargo?
     

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  3. Carronade

    Carronade 1st Lieutenant

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    Yep. "Lighter" seems to be used mostly for craft which would shuttle cargo between anchored ships and the shore, a process referred to as "lighterage" or "lightering".
     
    corn-fed-erate, Bruce Vail and Story like this.
  4. Bruce Vail

    Bruce Vail 2nd Lieutenant

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    Doesn't 'lighter' also mean that it is a vessel without it's own means of propulsion -- no engine, or sails.
     
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  5. Carronade

    Carronade 1st Lieutenant

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    Usually, and I'm tempted to say exclusively in the 1800s and earlier. In the 20th century some powered craft have been referred to as lighters, such as the British X-lighter of World War I, one of the earliest landing craft, roughly similar to the WWII Landing Craft, Tank (LCT).
     
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  6. Story

    Story First Sergeant

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    I got the sense that a period Lighter was a wooden box (could almost double as a floating dock) while a barge was more 'boat-like' and could even be an old coastal schooner, demasted and with built-up bulkworks (check out some of the dock scenes in other threads, they're there).

    Barge doing barge things in a canal.
    6f0c4e924f76f25546c58a3aa9a23284.jpg
     
  7. Carronade

    Carronade 1st Lieutenant

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    "Barge" could cover a variety of craft, for example the Thames barge:

    320px-Thames_Barges-Canthusus.jpg

    An admiral's personal boat is also called a barge; the corresponding boat for a ship's captain is a gig.
     
    CSA Today and corn-fed-erate like this.
  8. Talos

    Talos Private

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    There's plans for a box-like US Navy Lighter from 1836 in Chapelle's The History of the American Sailing Navy. It mentions in the text that the standard naval lighter was a small scow between 35 and 45 feet and they were either operated with sweeps or towed. It is mentioned that one in an inventory in 1838 at Portsmouth Yard had 1 or 2 leeboards and a spritsail and rudder. There's also a plan for another one from 1848 that has been decked over and a capstan was added so it could be used as an anchor hoy.
     
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  9. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 2nd Lieutenant

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    That's right, in our era they were unpowered - or perhaps manpowered by guys with long poles. Inevitably steam power came along late 19th - early 20th century. Then internal combustion engine. The River Thames had enormous fleets of un powered lighters once, and some very large companies with their own tugs working them.
     
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  10. Story

    Story First Sergeant

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    Broke out my copy, that's exactly the boxy boat shape I was thinking of.
     
  11. corn-fed-erate

    corn-fed-erate Corporal

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    Sure would like to see what I am now looking for in the river.
     
  12. Story

    Story First Sergeant

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    These Lighter-Schooners look like the cargo craft we've seen in photos, although the photographed vessels have higher bulkheads/deckhouses.
    7kEnzs3.jpg

    This anchor hoy is the boxy style when I think 'Lighter'
    dAuEPoQ.jpg

    Images interpretations from Chappelle
     
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