Monday, February 23, 2009

The paddle frigate Mississippi

The American paddle frigate Mississippi was a historic ship that came to a bad end in 1863. The Mississippi had been Matthew Perry's flagship when he forced the Japanese to open their country to the west. He had personally supervised her completion and fitting out and used his as his flagship. The Mississippi had played a role in the war with Mexico and then had gone to the Far East. She was laid up when the Civil War started. She was obsolescent in 1861, but was used in the capture of New Orleans in 1862, where she disabled the Confederate ram Manassas. Because of her low speed and paddle wheels, she was relegated to the Mississippi river. She was scuttled in 1863 during the attempt to push past Port Hudson. The Mississippi had run aground, under heavy fire, and couldn't be freed. She was burnt after her guns were spiked to keep her from being captured. An interesting note is that George Dewey, the victor of Manilla Bay in 1898, was her executive officer at the time of her loss. This is my enhancement of the photograph from 1863, when she was painted wartime gray.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Chinese belted cruiser Lai Yuan

The Lai Yuan was sunk at Wei-Hai-Wei on 5 February 1895 after being torpedoed by a Japanese torpedo boat Kotaka. The Lai Yuan was a steel cruiser with compound armour. The Lai Yuan was nominally 2,850 tons with dimensions of 270ft x 40ft x 16ft-6in. The compound belt was 9.5in thick with a 3in deck. The armament consisted of 2-8.2in 10 ton BLR, 2-6in 4 ton BLR, and 7 MG.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The CSS Sumter

The Confederate raider Sumter had a short but successful career as a cruiser. The Sumter was purchased in New Orleans in April 1861 and was modified to carry an armament. She was originally armed with 1-8in shell gun and 4-32pdr MLSB guns. She had been built in 1869 in Philidelphia as the Havana. She was capable of between 9 and 10 knots. She was sold in 1862 after being chased by the USS Iroquois into Spanish waters.