Friday, August 12, 2011

Naval Affairs 150 Years Ago: Eads Ironclads, More River Help and Confederate Raiders

From the Civil War Naval Chronology.

August 7, 1861-- The War department contracted with J.B. Eads of St. Louis for construction of seven shallow-draft inronclads. The Eads ships, named after river cities: Cairo, Carondolet, Cincinnati, Louisville, Mound City, Pittsburg and St. Louis, were the core of Union Naval forces operating in western waters.

Constructor Samuel M. Pook, USN, assisted in their construction and the ships were sometimes referred to as "Pook's Turtles."

AUGUST 12, 1861-- Gunboats USS Tyler, Lexington and Conestoga, procured and fitted out by Commander J. Rodgers, arrived at Cairo, Illinois, to protect the strategic position at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.

AUGUST 13, 1861-- Commander Bulloch, CSN, wrote from London to Confederate Secretary of the Navy Mallory that he had inspected available vessels in England and had not come up with any that would be of service to the new country. Very few wooden ships in the British service "...and their iron ships, though fast, well-built, and staunch enough for voyages of traffic, are too thin in the plates and light in the deck frames and stanchions to carry guns of much weight. I therefore made arrangements to contract with two eminent builders for a gun vessel each...."

One of these would be the CSS Alabama.

Lots Going on Back Then. --Old B-Runner

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