Civil War Today, 150 Years Ago

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Civil War Today, 150 Years Ago

Postby Patrick Degan » 2012-05-11 06:33pm

Only two months after her historic fight with the USS Monitor, the Confederacy's first ironclad ram CSS Virginia —the vessel that once terrorised the Lincoln cabinet with the prospect of steaming along the coast and up the Potomoc to shell Washington itself— was pulled back up the James River in the face of a Federal advance. Robert E. Lee had recommended that the ship be placed as a floating battery to block McClellan's movement, but her guns had already been removed in an attempt to lighten the deep-draught vessel and float her over the sandbars; it was not enough and the ship had been rendered completely defenceless in the bargain. With the fall of Norfolk and recapture of the Gosport Navy Yard by the Federals, and rather than allow her to be retaken and placed back into Union service, Flag Officer Josiah Tattnall gave the order to run the ironclad aground at Craney Island, evacuated the crew, and had the engineers set fire to her. The hulk burned for an hour until the flames reached the boilers, touching off a consuming explosion, and the mighty Virginia was no more.

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Re: Civil War Today, 150 Years Ago — CSS Virginia Scuttled

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2012-05-12 01:20am

Damn rebels, vandalizing a valuable sunken hulk; pity nothing more could be towed away to help strangle them.
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Civil War Today, 150 Years Ago — CSS Planter Hijacked!

Postby Patrick Degan » 2012-05-13 09:24pm

One of the most singular and daring incidents of the Civil War occurred this date, when Robert Smalls, a slave who had been hired out as a stevedore by his master and was assigned to the Confederate steamer CSS Planter —and who had learned the arts of sea navigation well enough to be made the pilot— carried forth a plan he had conceived and enlisted the slave crew to carry out: to hijack the Planter, run her past the batteries in Charleston Harbour, and make for the Federal blockade fleet outside the harbour mouth. It was certain death if the plot was tumbled, but Smalls and his band decided it was worth the chance for freedom.

Having observed the routines of the captain and crew in signaling the Confederate shore batteries and watch stations, Smalls and the crew seized their opportunity when the captain and officers —in violation of orders— left the ship for the night to seek more comfortable quarters; slipped their moorings, retrieved their families where they were secreted near the North Atlantic Wharf, and successfully steamed right through the harbour, giving the appropriate signals at every point, and made it past Morris Island and to the open sea, to come alongside the USS Onward. Passed along to Flag Officer Samuel F. DuPont, Smalls and his crew were given refuge, commended for their feat, and awarded half the prize money for the Planter —which was subsequently recommissioned into Union service. Smalls, who had garnered the particular notice of Flag Officer DuPont, would remain with the ship as her pilot and eventually receive a commission into the United States Navy and be appointed captain of the USS Planter.

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Re: Civil War Today, 150 Years Ago

Postby Thanas » 2012-05-13 09:28pm

Topics merged, because I am not going to have 300 "civil war today" new topics in this forum. Please continue to use this thread for updates.
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Re: Civil War Today, 150 Years Ago

Postby MKSheppard » 2012-05-13 10:07pm

Hey Degan, you forgot what ultimately became of Robert Smalls -- he ultimately became a very prominent South Carolinian politician during the reconstruction era and slightly past it -- the US Army's LSV-8 MG ROBERT SMALLS is named that because he became a Major General in the South Carolina Milita.

But his most enduring legacy is that he pushed the legislation that led to the creation of Parris Island Marine Base.
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Re: Civil War Today, 150 Years Ago

Postby MKSheppard » 2012-05-13 10:18pm

Patrick Degan wrote:The hulk burned for an hour until the flames reached the boilers, touching off a consuming explosion, and the mighty Virginia was no more.


Has anyone been to the USS Monitor Museum in Norfolk? They have some nice detailed exhibits on the CSS Virginia, including a partial full scale model of her moored next to... CSS United States. Yes, the Confederate Navy commissioned a ship named United States into their navy, without even bothering to change the name. :lol:

But the one thing I absolutely love about the name Virginia in the US Navy were comments given in 2005 when SSN-774 was leaving on her first deployment ahead of schedule:

"Rear Adm. Mark W. Kenny, commander of Submarine Group Two in Groton, noted that Virginia's early deployment upholds the tradition of the ship's namesake, the ironclad CSS Virginia, which was commissioned in February 1862 and went to war just a few weeks later."
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Re: Civil War Today, 150 Years Ago

Postby Spoonist » 2012-05-14 04:47am

Patrick Degan wrote:Only two months after her historic fight with the USS Monitor, the Confederacy's first ironclad ram CSS Virginia —the vessel that once terrorised the Lincoln cabinet with the prospect of steaming along the coast and up the Potomoc to shell Washington itself— was pulled back up the James River in the face of a Federal advance. Robert E. Lee had recommended that the ship be placed as a floating battery to block McClellan's movement, but her guns had already been removed in an attempt to lighten the deep-draught vessel and float her over the sandbars; it was not enough and the ship had been rendered completely defenceless in the bargain. With the fall of Norfolk and recapture of the Gosport Navy Yard by the Federals, and rather than allow her to be retaken and placed back into Union service, Flag Officer Josiah Tattnall gave the order to run the ironclad aground at Craney Island, evacuated the crew, and had the engineers set fire to her. The hulk burned for an hour until the flames reached the boilers, touching off a consuming explosion, and the mighty Virginia was no more.



Aaaand if YOU want to step on board to a REAL live Monitor sub, then welcome to the lovely city of Gothenburg on the Bestcoast of Sweden.
http://maritiman.se/fartygsflottan/monitoren-solve
Click the images for a better look.
It is the only one in existance, so take no substitutes.

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Re: Civil War Today, 150 Years Ago

Postby CJvR » 2012-05-14 12:04pm

Spoonist wrote:Aaaand if YOU want to step on board to a REAL live Monitor sub, then welcome to the lovely city of Gothenburg on the Bestcoast of Sweden.
http://maritiman.se/fartygsflottan/monitoren-solve
Click the images for a better look.
It is the only one in existance, so take no substitutes.
Unfortunately it was demoted to a barge and disarmed a long time ago - not sure how much of anything, other then the hull itself, remains.

HMS Sölve in her better days...
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A model of Sölve, shows the ship nicely...
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Re: Civil War Today, 150 Years Ago

Postby Spoonist » 2012-05-14 01:12pm

Well, between a demoted monitor and no monitor I know what I'd pick anyday.
Plus you get all the other ships in the same entry fee so it's still worth it =)

But IIRC there was some crew quarters etc so while you wouldn't see any armament you'd still get a feel for the monitor class as was used in the US civil war.

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Re: Civil War Today, 150 Years Ago

Postby Deathstalker » 2012-05-14 05:29pm

Has anyone been to the USS Monitor Museum in Norfolk? They have some nice detailed exhibits on the CSS Virginia, including a partial full scale model of her moored next to... CSS United States. Yes, the Confederate Navy commissioned a ship named United States into their navy, without even bothering to change the name.


The USS Monitor center at the Mariner's Museum in Newport News is awesome. I was able to get there on a day when they had the water drained from the tank that contains the Monitor's turret and got a good look at it. There is full scale model of the deck and turret of the Monitor outside. There are numerous exhibits such as how the turret was recovered and recreations of officer cabins.
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Re: Civil War Today, 150 Years Ago

Postby Patrick Degan » 2012-05-16 07:05pm

MKSheppard wrote:Hey Degan, you forgot what ultimately became of Robert Smalls -- he ultimately became a very prominent South Carolinian politician during the reconstruction era and slightly past it -- the US Army's LSV-8 MG ROBERT SMALLS is named that because he became a Major General in the South Carolina Milita.

But his most enduring legacy is that he pushed the legislation that led to the creation of Parris Island Marine Base.


I did know of Capt. Smalls' post-Civil War political career, but I chose to keep the focus of my post upon the Planter Incident.
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Oil an emergency?! It's about time, Brigadier, that the leaders of this planet of yours realised that to remain dependent upon a mineral slime simply doesn't make sense.
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Re: Civil War Today, 150 Years Ago

Postby The Duchess of Zeon » 2012-06-03 01:39am

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Actually there's a second, in Hungary, the last surviving ship of the K.u.K. Kriegsmarine, a Danube Monitor.
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Re: Civil War Today, 150 Years Ago

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2012-06-03 01:56am

Depending on what you want to count as a monitor, HMS M33 also still exists, though her two single six inch guns are not in fully enclosed mountings and she was not flush decked. Certainly designed in the monitor spirit though.
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