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Torpedo Boat Captured at Savannah, Georgia

Discussion in 'Civil War History - The Naval War' started by Kazziga, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. Kazziga

    Kazziga Corporal

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    Here is a photo which comes from the "Photographic History of the Civil War". Researcher Hank Boyd suggests that this is a torpedo boat captured by Union forces at Savannah, Georgia and sent to St. Helena Island, where she was photographed by Cooley. Do you know anything more about that vessel?
    It appears to be different from a typical David class torpedo boat. Bil Ragan suspects it's one of the late Porter designs.

    St. Helens TB.jpg
     
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  3. AndyHall

    AndyHall Colonel Forum Host

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    I'm not familiar with this picture. One distinction from the Davids, though (as they're usually shown) is that this craft appears to have a vertical sternpost as opposed to a spindle-shaped aft section.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014
  4. georgew

    georgew Sergeant

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    Hi Kaz:

    Andy's right, this boat is a much modified David. The dark rectangular area amidships is the cuddy. I don't see any sign of a machinery installation, but the framing of the aft run either means a very long drive-shaft or poor access for inspection and/or repairs to the engine and steam connections to the boiler in operation. It is difficult to tell whether this boat would have a forward boiler or an aft installation a la Graves. I can't tell from the photo whether this boat had a slot between the stern and the leading edge of the rudder. A slotted propeller installation means that the rudder would be "blown" and improve rudder control at low speeds. The aft run seems more hydrodynamic than the early Davids. At first I thought this must have been shot at low tide from the angle of the bow, but the horizontal line of the barge next to her is not angled, so I'm guessing that she was designed to have a heavy weight forward (boiler installation?) that would bring her bow down when loaded. I wonder what the dark object is trailing from her starboard bow? Could this be one of the late boats intended to use the English engines shipped over at the end of the war? If so, she might have been intended to have two small propellers on brackets extending laterally from the lower aft hull. This would certainly explain the hull run aft to the rudder. I hope that one of these days, one of the modelers will build something similar with electric propulsion just to see how a shape like this steers and if the bow "plows" while underway. If you look at the cuddy area of the Midge, you can see that the later David's were given bulwarks that slanted outwards from the hull to redirect waves and prevent them from swamping the cuddy if the wind were driving the waves from the broadside of the boat. Also absent on this hull are signs of longitudinal wales to prevent damage when moored alongside another vessel or wharf. This boat's framing seems more evolved than the Charleston Davids. Look at the photos taken at the end of the war of the Charleston Davids to see what I mean. It may be a confirmation that this boat was not a build number from Charleston.
     
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  5. Mark F. Jenkins

    Mark F. Jenkins Lt. Colonel

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    I keep mistaking the doorway of the building behind it for a funnel. I can't make out anything that could be a funnel, other than maybe a low structure in line with the second window left of said doorway. Funnel never fitted or perhaps removed?
     
  6. georgew

    georgew Sergeant

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    Good eye Mark. I think there are three of those posts mounted on some kind of fittings on the wharf. Perhaps some kind of system for shifting cargo. At first I thought there might be a vertical boiler projecting up from just in front of the cuddy, but I think this actually a fitting of some kind on the barge. There seems to be another one aft and possibly a third on the opposite side of the barge near the stern.
     
  7. JohnDLittlefield

    JohnDLittlefield Sergeant

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    There are a couple references to two incomplete torpedo boats being found in Savannah in Jan 1865. One was a wooden hull with no machinery. It was suggested that it was removed and tossed in the river. That one was towed to Port Royal as booty, but I am not sure what happened to it after that. The other was simply described as incomplete. Either way, if this image is showing one of these vessels, the machinery would be absent and might explain why no stack is seen and why the top of the vessel appears to be open (and possibly incomplete).

    Can anyone source the image above????????
    If it comes from "Photographic History of the Civil War" there are ten volumes and it doesn't seem to be in Vol. 6, "The Navies"

    Here is a link to a e-version of Photographic History Vol. 6
    https://archive.org/stream/photographichist06inmill#page/8/mode/2up
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2016
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  8. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 2nd Lieutenant

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    Hi Littlefield, can you give me any references for these two boats please.
     
  9. JohnDLittlefield

    JohnDLittlefield Sergeant

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    Hi Rebelatsea, Sure.
    1. Rear-Admiral Dahlgren reported to Gideon Welles, 24 October 1864, ORN Vol. 16 (1903), 33; Vol. 21, 712.
    2. Report No. 15 of Rear-Admiral Dahlgren to Gideon Welles, 8 January 1865, ORN Vol. 16 (1903), 163.

    I am using these in a historiography and quantification the boats of the David-class from Charleston. Do our interests overlap?
     
  10. Rio Bravo

    Rio Bravo First Sergeant

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    Slightly O/T but I thought that this link might be of interest to you ! :



    Rio
     
  11. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 2nd Lieutenant

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    Thanks for that, I missed those when I made my list of torpedo craft. As you may or may not know, I'm writing a book on the ironclads and iron protected vessels specifically, so no ,our interested don't directly overlap, but that doesn't mean i don't follow developments in other parts of the CSN.
     
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  12. JohnDLittlefield

    JohnDLittlefield Sergeant

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    Hi Guys (and Gals??)... I am still trying to locate the source of this image. Can someone (anyone??) tell me which "Photographic History of the Civil War" this is published in? Also, was Hank Boyd an ACW photographer, or maybe he is part of the Boyd family that ended up with a portion of the Matthew Brady collection, or ??? If he is part of the Boyd family, perhaps this image is held at the Maryland Historical Society (sorry, thinking out loud)
    Anyway, any help would be greatly appreciated!
     
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  13. Ptarmigan

    Ptarmigan Private

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    I noticed a strange object appearing on a Frank Leslie illustration " destruction of Krenson and Hawkes yard Savannah " . The picture shows a stylised ram burning on the stocks but down towards the river is a boat like object with rounded bare ribs , a little like the ones in Kaz's photo . I couldnt find a link for this online but those of you that own William Still's "The Confederate Navy" will be able to see the picture on page 106. This could be evidence that torpedoe boats were being built at Savannah.
     
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  14. JohnDLittlefield

    JohnDLittlefield Sergeant

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    Anyone got a scan or photo of this page???
     
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  15. Kazziga

    Kazziga Corporal

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    JohnD, I have a two-volume edition of "Photographic History of the Civil War". I will check it over the weekend to find the photo.
     
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  16. JohnDLittlefield

    JohnDLittlefield Sergeant

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    Thanks. If it's the ten volume set, they are downloadable, but I've been too lazy to download and search all ten... it's be a full days job I think.
     
  17. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 2nd Lieutenant

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    John, here you are. Your point of interest will be the s KRENSON AND HAWKES YARD BURNING.jpg

    mall vessel under the stern of the K&H Charleston class.
     
  18. JohnDLittlefield

    JohnDLittlefield Sergeant

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    Super. Thanks, John.
     
  19. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 2nd Lieutenant

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    This is the Krenson and Hawkes modified Charleston Type IC:
    THE K & H CHARLESTON.jpg THE K & H CHARLESTON.jpg
     
  20. JohnDLittlefield

    JohnDLittlefield Sergeant

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    John does Still give a citation for the image? I'd like to find the F.L.I. Newspaper is came from and get a few more details if possible.
     
  21. Ptarmigan

    Ptarmigan Private

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