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CSS SAVANNAH | US Civil War Ironclad

Updated on November 12, 2012

CSS Savannah

CSS Savannah was a Richmond-class ironclad steam sloop in the Confederate States Navy during the U.S. Civil War.

Savannah was built by H. F. Willink for the Confederacy at Savannah, Georgia in 1863. On June 30, 1863 she was transferred to naval forces in the Savannah River under the command of Flag Officer William W. Hunter, CSN. Under Commander Robert F. Pinkney, CSN, she maintained her reputation as the most efficient vessel of the squadron and was kept ready for service.

CSS Savannah
CSS Savannah

CSS Savannah

Civil War Ironclad

The Savannah 's armament included two 7-inch rifled cannons and two 6.4-inch Brooks guns. The engines, built in Columbus, were significantly underpowered. Although considered among the best ships built by the Confederacy, the Savannah boasted an estimated top speed of only six knots. It took almost thirty minutes to make a 180-degree turn. The crew consisted of 180 officers and men.

Launched on February 4, 1863, the ironclad Savannah was transferred in June to naval forces under Flag Officer William Hunter on the Savannah River. The ship remained on the river and did not engage in battle until Union general William T. Sherman approached the city of Savannah in December 1864, at the end of his march to the sea. Unable to prevent the city's capture, the Savannah remained on the river for two days to protect William J. Hardee's withdrawal across an improvised pontoon bridge, built with the help of the Savannah's crew.

On December 20, 1864, the ironclad engaged in a spirited daylong artillery duel with Union guns, becoming the last ship of the Confederacy to fight in Georgia waters. When the Savannah attempted to escape, the ship was trapped by the South's own torpedo mines, leaving it a "trapped lion," in the words of General Sherman. On December 21 Tattnall ordered the Savannah to be burned to prevent capture. The ironclad was run aground on the South Carolina shore and set afire. The ensuing explosion was reported to have lit up the night sky for miles.

Iron Afloat: The Story of the Confederate Armorclads

by William N. Still

Everyone knows the story of the battle of the Monitor and the Merrimack. But how many people know the story behind the Confederacy's attempt to build a fleet of armorclad vessels of war? Built from converted steam ships, built on riverbeds and cornfields. Learn how the Confederacy built a fleet of ironclads that were more than a match for anything from the Northern invaders.

CSS Savannah

CSS Savannah
CSS Savannah

The CSS Virginia: Sink Before Surrender

The CSS Virginia: Sink Before Surrender Published by The History Press

by John V. Quarstein

The morning the CSS Virginia (formerly the USS Merrimack) slowly steamed down the Elizabeth River toward Hampton Roads on March 8, 1862, naval warfare changed forever. Wooden sailing ships became obsolete, armored, steam-powered vessels where the new dreadnaughts. Little did the ironclad's crew realize that their makeshift warship would achieve the greatest Confederate naval victory. The trip was thought by most of the crew to be a trial cruise. Instead, the Virginia's aggressive commander, Franklin Buchanan, transformed the voyage into a test by fire that forever proved the supreme power of iron over wood.

The Virginia's ability to beat the odds to become the first ironclad to enter Hampton Roads stands as a testament to her designers, builders, officers and crew. Virtually everything about the Virginia s design was an improvisation or an adaptation, characteristic of the Confederacy's efforts to wage a modern war with limited industrial resources. Noted historian John V. Quarstein recounts the compelling story of this ironclad underdog, providing detailed appendices, including crew member biographies and a complete chronology of the ship and crew.

CSS Virginia Limited Edition

CSS Virginia, Limited Edition

This is a full assembled ready for display museum quality replica of the CSS Virginia, formerly the USS Merrimack. This model is 34" long by 7" wide and 9" high, 1/96 scale. Built of high quality wood and brass detail parts. These museum-quality scale Civil War replicas of one of history's most famous warships produced as Limited Edition ironclad models of the famous CSS Virginia, are certain to enthrall even the most discriminating naval historian or Civil War buff.

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Have You Ever Heard of the CSS Savannah? - Civil War Ironclads

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