- May 12, 2018
I thought I'd share this picture I've been drawing for another site I'm on, Shipbucket.com, that's a art community for pixel art of ship, mainly warships. They have monthly art challenges that I sometimes participate in, and this time around I drew a real class of ships, from the Civil War! The Marietta class might be the least known of the US Civil War river monitors. I happened to have a set of plans in 1:300 scale from the Warships International magazine, Vol 38, No 1, 2001 left to me by my late great uncle, an WW2 Navy destroyer man. So when I saw that this month’s drawing challenge was to draw a river gunboat or monitor, and a forum post talking about a recent lack of “real life” ship drawings, I thought that I would throw my hat in the ring, and bite the bullet on drawing the Marietta class which I’d been intending to do ever since I found that picture of the Neosho in lay-up in Mound City with these monitors in the background. I used the plans, that picture, and someone’s physical model to inform my rendition of the USS. Marietta.
The Marietta class river monitor was designed to operate exclusively on the Western Rivers of the United States during it’s Civil War (1861-1865). The ships of the class were quite similar to the USS Ozark in armament and propulsion, mounting two 11 in Dalghren guns in a single Erricson turret, and being propelled by four propellors, and steered by three rudders. However, unlike Ozark they had their deckhouses well aft, and a coming tower of standard monitor height on the top of their turret. The two ships of the class, USS Marietta and USS Sandusky, were ordered on the 16th of May 1862 from the Tomlinson and Hartupee Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Design changes as a result of experience with other monitors led to major revisions in the ships design; this and poor labor relations ended up delaying construction. The ships were redesigned to incorporate a armored conning tower on top of their turret, instead of a smaller pilot house ala USS Monitor, during construction and lengthened three feet. These changes resulted in the builders going well over budget building the ships, which wound up nearly doubling their cost to the Navy. The ship’s turrets featured six inch iron armour, and their belt only 2 1/2 in. The ships had a length of 173 ft, a beam of 52 ft, a draft of 5 ft, and had a 479 ton displacement. They had a crew of 100 officers and men, and could make nine knots. USS. Marietta was launched on the 4th of January 1865, but not completed until the day after Christmas 1865, well after the war she had been designed to fight in was already over. She was finally delivered to and accepted by the US Navy on the 25th of April 1866, four years after being laid down. USS. Sandusky was launched, fitted out, and delivered to the navy at the same time as her sister ship. Neither ship was commissioned by the Navy, instead both were laid up for the remainder of their lives at the naval base in Mound City, Illinois, along with the monitor Neosho. In 1869, the two ship were renamed USS Circe and USS Minerva respectively, thanks to the meddling of SecNav Adolph Borie. This was short lived, and both monitors returned to their original names by the end of the year. Both ships were sold for scrap, having never seen service, in 1873 to David Campbell on the 12th and 17th of April respectively.