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THE EVOLUTION OF THE IRONCLAD CSS TEXAS

Discussion in 'Civil War History - The Naval War' started by rebelatsea, May 22, 2018.

  1. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 1st Lieutenant

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    Name: CSS Texas

    This vessel intended to be the third of John LPorter’s “189ft PP” type ironclad gunboats

    Originally designed with a long casemate, mounting 6 guns behind 4” iron armour. The casemate ends, and stern were initially planned to be elliptical as in CSS Virginia, subsequently altered to make them square as shown, for ease of construction.
    ORIGIN OF THE COLUMBIA AND TENNESSEE.jpg



    This plan was amended so that CSS Columbia was constructed to what was intended as the new standard plan, in fact the only one to be so.

    CSS Tennessee, although built at Selma to the original long casemate plan was heavily altered by Joseph Pearce at the instigation of Franklin Buchanan at Mobile AL as the need for heavier armour was now apparent. Why they did not use the 6 gun Columbia plan is not clear.

    The vessel that was to become CSS Texas at Richmond, by Porter himself. Begun as a 189ft class vessel, the design was altered three times during construction.

    CSS COLUMBIA as completed.jpg


    General arrangement plan.

    In the Columbia configuration her original ordnance warrant was to be:

    2 – 8” Brooke MLR forward pivots, 1 – 11” Brooke SB p & s, 2 – 7” Brooke MLR aft pivots.

    Note that lacking any evidence to the contrary we have to assume that the second phase would have been a carbon copy 6gun Columbia in terms of casemate dimensions and shape.

    The second phase shows a heavily modified casemate plan, initially with an octagonal casemate, reduced ordnance, conning towers on the weather deck forward and aft of the casemate.It is not known if the weather deck was cambered outwards from the centre line at this stage. The vessel now has twin screws.
    CSS TEXAS 1st version..jpg


    This was changed yet again during construction and her final appearance and characteristics are shown below.

    Type: Ironclad Steam Sloop Screw(s): two, Speed: 8.6 knots, crew: 200?

    Dimensions: 217ft OA x 48ft 6ins EX x 13.5ft D. 2,051 tons.

    Guns Reduced to 1 –8” MLR forward pivot, 1 –11” SB p& s, 1 –7” MLR aft pivot.

    Armour: 6ins iron over 36ins wood, 35degree slope, top & decks 1ins

    Design: J.L. Porter, Builder: Rocketts’ Yard, Richmond Va.

    Laid Down: 1864, Launched: /01/1865, Not completed

    History:

    CSS TEXAS ironclad as completed.jpg

    Plan by the author from an original plan by Robert Holcombe, modified to show the final appearance as depicted in a painting by the son of J. L. Porter, signed by both father and son.

    Captured intact 3/04/1865, completed and taken into USN service but not armed or commissioned so far as known. Sold out in 1867. Regarded as being one of the best ironclads the CSN built - would have been a very powerful vessel. Some sources say her armour was to be 8” thick. Her engines were British built, imported through the blockade, although Union sources say they came from a wrecked blockade runner of the “Don” class. Attempts to find the manufacturer of this machinery has not so far born fruit as the records omit that important piece of information.

    By some oversight, she was not scuttled with the rest of the James River Squadron but taken intact by the Union. Although known to be surveyed, not trace of the documents have come to light, and unlike CSS Columbia no information on the USN intentions for her have come to light.
     

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  3. Cpl. Smith

    Cpl. Smith Sergeant

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    Interesting! I must know is there a picture of CSS Texas?
     
  4. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 1st Lieutenant

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    John L Porter's son painted her, I can't lay my hands on my copy at this moment ,but fro memory there is a thread on here Eye Candy CSS Texas with a great computer generated picture by I think our own Andy Hall.
     
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  5. Carronade

    Carronade 1st Lieutenant

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    Are you saying she was completed by the Union after capture? Seems odd at that point in the war.

    Another curious point, the funnel seems to be in the path of recoil of the guns, also at the pivot point for a slide-mounted gun that could traverse to multiple gunports.
     
  6. Malingerer

    Malingerer 2nd Lieutenant

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    So, just to be clear, the CSS Texas never fired a shot in anger? Was never a part of the James River Squadron?
     
  7. redbob

    redbob Captain

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    Not unless you consider the movie and book Sahara.
     
  8. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 1st Lieutenant

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    The final configuration is odd to say the least. Probably Porter was trying to conserve iron or make her a smaller target or both. If he wanted to do that he could have made her a citadel ship a la "Wilmington", but that's being wise after the event.
     
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  9. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 1st Lieutenant

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    QUOTE="redbob, post: 1820173, member: 8152"]Not unless you consider the movie and book Sahara.[/QUOTE]
    CSS Texas, drawn from the frontispiece of my copy of the book. The artist had a good idea of what a casemate ironclad looked like. The date should be 2018. I'm not Dr Who !
    img102.jpg
     
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  10. USS ALASKA

    USS ALASKA 2nd Lieutenant

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    Where were Pres. Lincoln's quarters? :wink:

    Cheers,
    USS ALASKA
     
  11. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 1st Lieutenant

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    Assuming he was human - behind him !
     
  12. Carronade

    Carronade 1st Lieutenant

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    I thought that was the Lulu Belle :wink:
     
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  13. Dilandu

    Dilandu Sergeant

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    Four layers of 2-inch thick plates, I presume?
     
  14. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 1st Lieutenant

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    I assume that would be the case, Charlotte Naval Ironworks were experimenting with 5" plate, but there's no mention of it actually being rolled for use as far as I know.
     
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  15. Dilandu

    Dilandu Sergeant

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    Were there any attempts to sell "Texas" to foreigners, like "Atlanta" and "Stonewall Jackson"?
     
  16. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 1st Lieutenant

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    Good question. I have not seen any indication of it, or of Columbia & Tennessee for that matter.
     
  17. Dilandu

    Dilandu Sergeant

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    Hm... "Tennessee" was wooden-hulled, and not "blue water" capable (not even "green water" capable), which may be the reason. But "Texas" and "Columbia" seems to be at least marginally seaworthy.
     
  18. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 1st Lieutenant

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    Strangely Dilandu, the USN liked the Tennessee, and she went from Mobile to New Orleans under her own steam, so was at least "green water" capable.
     
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