Learning Lincoln On-line

FROM-- SET FIVE, CIVIL WAR STUDIES

(Topic Sixty-four:  The Navy and Ironclads in the Civil War)


 
TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THE IRONCLAD RESOURCE AND ACTIVITY SITE HOME PAGE

U.S. Civil War Naval Ships, Men and Battles--Confederate and Union
A Part of My Civil War Weapons & Warfare Activity Page
Click Here to Return or Visit Civil War Weapons Homepage

The turning point of the Civil War Naval War
PART ONE--INTRODUCTION AND CONTENT PAGE OF LINKS

National Ensign

Union Navy Jack

Confederate States National Ensign

Confederate Navy Jack

INTRODUCTION TO CIVIL WAR NAVAL TECHNOLOGY

. . . James Buchanan Eads and Commander John Rodgers drew up a set of requirements for a fleet of armored gunboats that would operate on the Mississippi.

USS Neosho

       To assist in the design of a vessel that would satisfy all of these requirements, Rodgers called for help on John Lenthall, the head of the Navy Department's Bureau of Construction, Equipment, and Repair. Lenthall provided some preliminary plans, but he had to devote most of his attention to ocean-going ships, so he withdrew. Fortunately, he was able to provide a substitute. The Navy Department already had under contract a man who had experience in designing river craft, one Samuel M. Pook, working at the time in Cairo, Illinois.

       Pook designed a vessel, or rather a set of vessels, that drew only six feet while carrying 13 guns. Capable of eight knots, each bore 2.5 inches of armor on the casemates and half that on the pilot house. In order to carry the machinery that would drive the great weight forward at speed while maintaining the light draft, the boats had to be made quite broad in relation to their length. Pook's solution was to give the hull three keels, the outboard pair somewhat longer than the one on the centerline. Propulsion was provided by a single paddle wheel at the after end of the center keel; the casemate armor that was carried back along the longer outboard keels provided the paddles a measure of protection from enemy gunfire from forward and abeam but not from astern. Each vessel as completed had a length overall of 175 feet and a beam of 51 feet 2 inches. The length to beam ratio thus was a very small 3:4.  The casemates had sloping sides, somewhat suggestive of the general shape of the best-known Confederate ship of the war, CSS Virginia (ex-USS Merrimack). When they were finally in the water, their awkward appearance struck the fancy of the farm boys who saw them, and they christened them "Pook's Turtles." The unofficial name stuck.

 IRONCLAD LEARNING ACTIVITY DESCRIPTION

This activity will center on research and information gathering of facts from Internet sources, especially the Learning On-Line Resource Pages.

Answers can be presented in graphic or short-answer format.  Civil War naval battles and officers will also be included in the questions. 


The questions will be written in the form of "orders" from a naval commander to the sailors. 

PART ONE:  THE U.S. NAVY BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR

In order to understand the invention and use of ironclad naval vessels, the learner will study the sail ships, and condition of the U.S. Navy before the Civil War. 

PART TWO: THE IRONCLAD GUNBOATS

In this study, the learner will answer a series of questions about the invention, building and use of the ironclad gunboat, called "Turtlebacks," during the American Civil War.  The Ironclad Resources can be used to find the answers. 

The questions will be written in the form of "orders" from a naval commander to the sailors. 

PART THREE:  THE NAVY OF THE CONFEDERACY

At the start of the Civil War, the states seceding had no navy or army.  The Confederate government would organize after the Fort Sumter battle and take-over.  That government would take possession of U.S. military sites, equipment and supplies as were located in the rebel states.  Some naval vessels would be taken, and others would be purchased from Britain or private owners.  The most important ship to be taken was the U.S.S. Merrimack, which was actually abandoned by a Union Commander and partially destroyed.  The Merrimack would become the C.S.S. Virginia ironclad, and naval history was changed.

PART FOUR: CIVIL WAR MILITARY "FIRSTS"

The Industrial Revolution was at full steam.  The steam engine was being used in railroad engines and ships.  New weapons were developed including the Spencer Repeater rifle, the first submarines, use of air balloons for surveillance, torpedoes and mines in water, the first hospital ships, new Dahlgren cannons, and the biggest one of all, the ironclad ships.  Wooden ships were instantly made obsolete.  In this Naval activity, you will read about the naval inventions and the inventors and builders.

PART FIVE:  "PRIZES":  THE CAPTURE OF SHIPS BY BOTH SIDES, AND PUTTING THEM IN-SERVICE FOR THE OPPOSING SIDE

Prize is a term used in admiralty law to refer to equipment, vehicles, vessels, and cargo captured during armed conflict. The most common use of prize in this sense is the capture of an enemy ship and its cargo as a prize of war.  There was a U.S. prize law.  It had to be followed closely to allow the capture and dealing with a prize ship.

PART SIX: INVINCIBLE BOATS AND CREWS WIN BATTLES

Their were many sea and inland river battles that the U.S. Navy was instrumental in helping to win.  In some cases the invincible "Ironclad River Gun Boats" won the battle.  Many sailors and officers won the Medal of Honor.  In this activity, you will learn the names of several battles, the officers and crews of the ships, and the results. 

PART SEVEN: GIDEON WELLES SEC. OF NAVY, U.S.

Abraham Lincoln appointed a Jacksonian Democrat to lead his Navy.  The Navy was going to be instrumental in defending the country, and Lincoln saw that Gideon Welles would be the man for the job.  In this activity you will read about the life of Gideon Welles and the relationship he would hold with President Lincoln.  Gideon Welles pretty much set up the "modern" United States Navy.  You will research the man and the politics he encountered when managing the Union Navy successfully.

PART EIGHT: THE BLOCKADE OF CONFEDERATE PORTS

General Scott had his Anaconda Plan.  What finally happened was a huge blockade of our Atlantic and Gulf ports, and as time went along the winning back of the Mississippi River.  This activity covers the men and ships involved in the Blockade.  Read the proclamation from President Lincoln declaring the blockade.  Read about General Winfield Scott's Anaconda Plan, and read about ships, blockade actions, and "prizes" won during the blockade.  How did the Blockade effect the Confederate war effort and the Southern people? Present your gathered information in a computer program or in a poster. 

PART NINE: REAR ADMIRAL JOHN DAHLGREN & HIS CANNONS

Both sides of the Civil War needed new armaments and cannons, that could better destroy the opposing side.  Siege cannons, rifles, smoothbores, and mortars were needed for inland, ocean and river battles.  John Dahlgren would invent his Dahlgren cannon.  This part will cover the old style armament and John Dahlgren invention.  You will see how the Dahlgren worked beautifully with the new ironclad gunboats. 

PART TEN:  ERICCSON, BROOKE AND PORTER DESIGN THE FIRST IRONCLAD GUNBOATS

The Industrial Revolution had come "full steam," by 1862.  The Union Navy was composed of wooden ships of old.  The Confederate states had no Navy.  Research and prototypes of Ironclads were constructed in Europe.  The Confederacy had taken Gosport Naval Yards and the USS Merrimack was sunk by the retreating Union Navy.  The ship would be raised and reconstructed as an ironclad.  Great fear was all over the north over this monster.  President Lincoln and Secretary Welles set up an Ironclad Committee.  Congress passed legislation to have an ironclad ship built.  The rest is history, based upon a design and small model made by John Ericcson.  Read the information provided on the pages and design your own presentation on the building of the Merrimack and the Monitor.

PART ELEVEN:  SAILORS RECRUITMENT PLAN- NORTH AND SOUTH

At the start of the war President Lincoln asked for 75,000 volunteers.  The Navy recruited and men had to pass a few standards.  The Confederate Navy had similar standards.  Read about the recruitment for both sides.  African Americans could serve in both Navies, and did.  The United States Navy did not discriminate and sailors got along, not thinking about racial things.  You are to read the articles online and then answer questions or conduct research to gather facts.  Presentations or posters would be good to report your results.

PART TWELVE:  MEDICAL CARE OF SAILORS AND SOLDIERS/ THE NAVY HOSPITAL SHIPS

The Civil War was the first "modern war," and the medical care and hospital ships were started and enlarged quickly as the war started, throughout it.  In this part, you will read about the medical corps, the nursing corps, the hospital ships (USS Red Rover, in particular).  In addition, you will read about the conditions and dangers of being on an ironclad type ship. 

Follow the links to get questions for each of the Parts:

PART ONE

U.S. Navy before the Civil War, Sail Ships and Steamers

 

PART TWO

The Ironclad Gunboats

 

 

PART THREE

The U.S. Navy Civil War Racial "Melting Pot"

 

 

PART FOUR

Civil War Inventions, "Firsts"

 

PART FIVE

Blockade "Prizes"

 

 

 

 

 

PART SIX

The Great Sea and River Battles & the Men Involved

 

 

 

 

PART SEVEN

Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART EIGHT

The Union Blockade Plan for Rivers and Coastal Ports

 

 

 

 

PART NINE

Civil War Armaments and the Dahlgren Cannon

 

 

 

PART TEN

The Pook Turtle and the Inventors of the American Ironclad Gunboat

 

 

 

PART ELEVEN

Recruitment of Naval Personnel: Requirements and Numbers

 

 

 

 

PART TWELVE

Hospital Ships of the Sanitary Commission

 

 

IRONCLADS ANSWER FORM

 

RESOURCES ON GUNBOATS AND IRONCLADS

IRONCLADS ANSWER FORM

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