1. Welcome to the CivilWarTalk, a forum for questions and discussions about the American Civil War! Become a member today for full access to all of our resources, it's fast, simple, and absolutely free!
Dismiss Notice
Join and Become a Patron at CivilWarTalk!
Support this site with a monthly or yearly subscription! Active Patrons get to browse the site Ad free!
START BY JOINING NOW!

What was John Hughes doing at Richmond?

Discussion in 'Civil War History - The Naval War' started by georgew, May 15, 2018.

  1. georgew

    georgew Sergeant

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2010
    Messages:
    620
    Location:
    southern california
    A number of the experienced ship builders from New Orleans moved to Alabama and were active in the CSN's shipbuilding programs in that state. But a very prominent shipbuilder, John Hughes, of Algiers was reported to have escaped from Gen. Butler's net and moved on to Richmond where they allegedly participated in ship construction. Has anyone seen any documentation of their activities in Virginia or elsewhere during the war?
     
    USS ALASKA, WJC and Tut11 like this.

  2. (Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
  3. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 1st Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2013
    Messages:
    3,645
    Location:
    Kent ,England.
    Goergew, no I haven't unfortunately. I have looked at the vessels being produced for any clues in the changing designs, but got no where with that either unless I'm missing something.

    This subject might just have a bearing on a some mysteries.

    1) CSS Montgomery - has the outline appearance of a large sidewheel Arkansas. As far as I'm aware John T Shirley was no where near, but did he assist in some way?

    2) Why were two of the Bigbee boats side wheelers, why not all four as screw ships?

    3) CSS Jackson, a rebuild of a Muscogee type centre wheeler, but where did the Jackson plan spring from, it has no discernible development path unlike every other late war vessels. Charlie Robbins and I quite independently concluded that there was a European influence on this plan. So far we haven't been able to prove it.

    4) William Grave's single citadel and John Porter's double citadel "Wilmington" come into the same category. They just appear fully fledged, apparently. The received explanation is that they were from the Board of Construction "Shazam - just like that" . It doesn't happen .
     
    USS ALASKA and WJC like this.
  4. georgew

    georgew Sergeant

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2010
    Messages:
    620
    Location:
    southern california
    Hi Rebel. In the case of the Montgomery I think the time frame would be important. Shirley's builder for Arkansas/Tennessee and a side-wheel ram was Primus Emerson. By Christmas of 1863, Emerson shows up in the Federal Provost Marshall's file from St. Louis as having returned to St. Louis. I have some correspondence regarding James Martin trying to get paid for work on the stern-wheel gunboats begun at New Orleans and he was in Alabama also. Another possibility is"Anderson" of the Montgomery and Anderson side-wheel ram contract in Alabama. I ran into another source indicating that Anderson (singular) was involved in another unspecified contract. I have yet to find any documentation with Anderson's first name. The owner of the Eclipse Towboat Company of New Orleans was also in Alabama during this period. Based upon your data a good argument can be made that the most active and largest CSN building program was in Alabama waters. As for screw versus paddle propulsion, it may just be a question of availability. Especially late in the war when runners with powerful engines were bottled up at Mobile. Warner did a very respectable job of conversion machinery from side-wheel to screw propulsion, but always had a backlog of work and the boats nearest completion should have had priority. You keep wondering just where they thought they would find the crews for all these boats. To the best of my knowledge, the "million dollar ironclad" was the only scratch-built ironclad building by the Hughes docks at Algiers. Just who designed her is a good question. Hughes' oldest son was listed as the draftsman for the vessel and it seems unknown whether he stayed at Algiers to manage the family's assets or also moved on to a Confederate controlled area. If Warner was sharp enough to design a turret ship from scratch, he might have been the one making the on-site changes at Columbus. I presume that JLP would have discussed the changes with him and the Jackson was Warner's take on those changes.
     
    USS ALASKA and WJC like this.
  5. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 1st Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2013
    Messages:
    3,645
    Location:
    Kent ,England.
    Thanks Georgew.
    Not clear who did what with what and where is it !
    Your thoughts on Warner's contribution are interesting as Bob Holcombe said the turret ship's hull was based on the Jackson. her machinery was certainly designed by him and constructed at the Naval ironworks.

    The only direct reference to JLP and the ship I have, was him arriving in Columbus and telling Augustus Mclaughlin " your ship is called Jackson", after the great and good at Columbus had long decided she was to be "Muscogee."

    The latter name has of course been used ever since to describe JLP's big centre wheel design.
     
    georgew and USS ALASKA like this.
  6. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 1st Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2013
    Messages:
    3,645
    Location:
    Kent ,England.
    The million dollar ironclad is one true mystery I really wish we knew more about.
     
    georgew likes this.
  7. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 1st Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2013
    Messages:
    3,645
    Location:
    Kent ,England.
    CSS Montgomery was begun in late 1862 and launched in march 1863. She was sent, or steamed to Mobile where her presence was reported in 1864. She therefore overlaps the construction of CSS Nashville.
     
    georgew and USS ALASKA like this.
  8. georgew

    georgew Sergeant

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2010
    Messages:
    620
    Location:
    southern california
    If Holcomb is right you almost wonder why they didn't use the hull and machinery of the Jackson and convert her to a turret ship. They don't seem to have allocated armament for her yet and there should have been enough iron on the unfinished casemate for heavily ironed turret.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
    DaveBrt likes this.
  9. georgew

    georgew Sergeant

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2010
    Messages:
    620
    Location:
    southern california
    Do we know who the contractor and builder of Montgomery was?
     
  10. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 1st Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2013
    Messages:
    3,645
    Location:
    Kent ,England.
    No, unfortunately.
     
  11. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 1st Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2013
    Messages:
    3,645
    Location:
    Kent ,England.
    Talk about being too close to your subject - I never thought of that ( and neither did they ). When you think about it now ,it is rather odd that Warner obviously had the plans of his ship to hand and again if Bob is right, based it on Jackson hull, why they just didn't do the conversion, as no one in Richmond seemed to be interested after the Jackson plans were sent until JLP arrived. I wonder what his reaction would have been - interesting to say the least !
     
    DaveBrt likes this.

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)

Share This Page


(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)