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Image by David Adams
Lt. Johnathan Carter
was the Confederate Navy officer in charge of naval activities in the vicinity
The belief that the
Order of Lieutenant-General Smith, C. S. Army, to Major-General Taylor, C. S.
Army, for the obstruction of the river with torpedoes.
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
GENERAL: I have directed an
officer of the
are placed in position the boat and crew will return to
I am sir, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant- General, Commanding.
Note that the
reference to obstructing the river with torpedoes mentions “an officer of the
Not to mention that
the water level in the river was insufficient to allow the
SIR: In obedience to your order of this date, we have held a careful
survey of the ironclad steamer Missouri, lately surrendered by the rebel naval
authorities to the
We found the
Length over all, 183 feet; breadth of beam, 53 feet 8 inches; depth of hold, 10 feet 3 inches; length of casemate at base, 130 feet 6 inches; length of casemate at top, 105 feet; width of casemate at base, 53 feet 8 inches; width of casemate at top, 29 feet; height of casemate from water’s edge, 11 feet 6 inches; draft of ship (reported), 8 feet 6 inches.
The armor consists of railroad iron of the pattern known as T rail, placed diagonally upon the sides of the casemate, with the crowns placed alternately in and out, and locked into each other, and spiked with common five-eighths-inch spikes, one in the center and one at each end of each alternate rail. Upon the bow and stern faces of the casemate the rails are laid vertically and are secured in the same manner as those upon the sides. We suppose that the rails upon the sides were laid diagonally, to prevent cutting.
iron armor on starboard bow quarter of USS
Photograph by David Adams
The thickness of the armor is 44 inches, though the rails do not lock
closely enough to make it solid. The
armor is backed by 23 inches of yellow pine; the casemate at its base
terminates in a knuckle, as in the case of the ironclads
The forecastle of the vessel and the fantail are protected like the sides of the casemate. We are unable to ascertain how far below the water’s edge the armor extends, but estimate it at about 6 feet. There are two gun ports in the bow face of the casemate and three in each side, opposite to each other, with corresponding gun circles upon the gun deck. The vessel is propelled by a single wheel contained in a recess in the after end of the casemate, but extending 8 feet 4 inches above its top and entirely exposed. The dimensions of the wheel are as follows: Diameter, 22 feet 6 inches; buckets, 17 feet long, 22-inch face. The armament consists of three guns.
No. 1, a Dahlgren XI-inch gun (F. P. 115), said to have been Captured on board the Indianola. It is mounted upon an ingeniously contrived pivot carriage, the side of which is composed of T rails. This gun is placed to fire from the starboard port of the bow of the casemate or to pivot to the starboard forward broadside port.
No. 2 is an old-fashioned 32-pounder siege gun, mounted on a carriage similar to that of No. 1, and placed to fire from the port bow port or to pivot to the port forward broadside port.
Photograph by David Adams
No. 3 is a Dahlgren IX-inch gun (F. P. 572), also said to have been captured on board the Indianola. It is mounted like the other two guns and placed to pivot to either broadside from the after ports.
IX inch Dahlgren, downtown Vicksburg, MS.
Photograph by David Adams
There are gun circles for the center broadside ports, but no gun. The woodwork appears to be generally sound, though the vessel leaks quite badly. The interior arrangements generally are poor. The officers’ quarters consist of a sort of cabin in the after part of the casemate and of a few berths for the wardroom and steerage officers on the orlop, abreast the engines and wheel. There are two magazines and two shell rooms forward, one on either side and abreast the boilers. We did not deem it prudent to open them until the vessel is more to rights. There is quite a large amount of ammunition on board.
The machinery consists of two poppet-valve engines, connected to the shaft at right angles, and of the following dimensions: Length of stroke, 7 feet 6 inches; diameter of cylinder, 24 inches. Four double-flued boilers, 40 inches in diameter and 26 feet long; the flues are 15 inches in diameter. The boilers are placed fore and aft in the hull with the fire doors forward and furnished with a single smokestack. There is one doctor engine for supplying the boilers. One small donkey boiler, 8 feet long and 26 inches in diameter. Two small donkey engines, one for running the capstan the other for running a fan blower of 3 feet in diameter and 14-inch breadth of blade. Also one small steam pump. The machinery and boilers are in a very bad condition, and a large amount of repairs would be required to render them fit for service. The steering gear consists of three balanced rudders, placed under the fantail. The steering wheel is exactly under the pilot house, upon the gun deck. We estimate the value of the hull, armor, and machinery of the vessel in their present condition, the ordnance and other stores on board, at about $100,000.
We have the honor to be, your obedient servants,
Edward P. LULL Lieutenant- Commander
ROBERT TATE Acting Chief Engineer
JNO. SWANEY Acting Volunteer Lieutenant.
Lieutenant-Commander JAMES P. FOSTER Commanding Third Division