Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Confederate ironclad ram Nashville

When I was very young, I had seen John O'Hara Cosgrave's drawing of the Confederate ironclad Atlanta in Fletcher Pratt's book about the Monitor and Merrimac (CSS Virginia). Cosgrave's illustrations were well done and imaginative, but did not resemble the actual ships very closely. The Atlanta was a conversion of the blockade runner Finlay into an ironclad ram. The armoured superstructure followed the standard pattern used in the later Confederate ironclads, and was very angular. The Atlanta had 4in iron armour and carried 2-6.4in rifles on each side and a 7in rifle firing along the axis. The displacement was about 1006 tons. The Atlanta apparently could make 7 knots, which was adequate in restricted waters. The Atlanta suffered the usual problem of being outgunned by Union monitors armed with large 11 and 15 inch smooth bore guns.