Question of the Week: 8/31-9/6/20

What’s your favorite Union ship? Any craft that steams or sails, blue or brown water, qualifies in the loose designation of “ship” for the question.

(Save your Confederate answers for next week!)

17 Responses to Question of the Week: 8/31-9/6/20

    1. The most impressive action by a single gunboat on the Western Rivers was accomplished by Commander Henry Walke and ironclad USS Carondelet in running the gauntlet at Madrid Bend in April 1862.
      However, another important vessel was CSS Alfred Robb. While General U.S. Grant was assembling an army at Pittsburg Landing, preparatory to assaulting Corinth Mississippi, and making use of a fleet of riverboats to ferry men and materiel from St. Louis and Cairo, his biggest headache involved two Rebel gunboats that had been secreted away, up some tributary of the Tennessee River, awaiting an opportunity to emerge and run amok among Grant’s transports. Attempts to find and neutralize these vessels were made prior to Battle of Shiloh, without success.
      After Shiloh, the Confederate gunboats remained as a threat; Navy Lieutenant Shirk took advantage of the build-up preparatory for Corinth to redouble his efforts to find those gunboats… and on April 21st had success. One (CSS Dunbar) was discovered several miles up Cypress Creek, scuttled; the other (CSS Alfred Robb) was encountered while operating as a ferry near Florence Alabama, and captured. The crew was replaced with southern Unionists; and the light-draft, stern-wheel vessel of 86 tons had one (sometimes two) Parrott rifles installed, was lightly armored, and was renamed USS Alfred Robb, becoming the first of 76 vessels of a new class: the Tinclad.

      1. John:

        I agree. And another advantage of the city-class gunboats. They were launched relatively quickly, early in the war.

        Talking about early warships, how about the Union’s three so-called timberclads – USS Tyler, Conestoga and Lexington . They were vulnerable to cannon fire, but they were among the first battleships launched by the Union in the Western Theater.

  1. USS Kearsarge. 17 crew members received the Medal of Honor for its famous battle with the CSS Alabama. The Kearsarge lasted until 1894.

  2. USS Monitor. Hands down. Besides the obvious historical reasons, like being one of the participants in the first ironclad duel, and its role in ushering in literally a new phase as far as naval warfare goes in being a progenitor of what was to come as far as technical innovations like “revolving turrets”, armored protection, and STEALTH, it just looks COOL. To this day, it still comes across as ‘futuristic’, to me anyways. No other ship from that conflict comes close, though I do view both the “Kearsarge” and the “Alabama” as ‘beautiful’.

  3. Favorite: USS Hartford (Damn the Torpedoes!!); Honorable Mention goes to the three ship wrecking crew of the USS Tyler, Lexington, and Conestoga and their Feb. 1862 raid up the Tennessee River

  4. Favorite: Robert Smalls who sailed the CSS Planter out of Charleston and delivered it to the Union navy.

  5. The Monitor USS Weehawken. It had one 11 inch gun and one 15 inch gun. It also had a 50 foot long raft designed to clear mines. This allowed it to lead other ships into the area of battle. Rear Admiral John Dahlgren led the Weehawken during the Ft. Sumter battle in 1863.

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