Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

“Never before was anything like it dreamed of”

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Hall on September 6, 2010

A work-in-progress. I’d forgotten what a subtly complex shape Virginia‘s sloped casemate really was. Flat, orthagonal drawings don’t do it justice; there’s not a straight edge in the entire thing. That, and how big the ship actually was. Little wonder they thought it was nigh-on invincible.


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  1. Dick Stanley said, on September 6, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    It does have a strange, stealth appearance, almost as if someone was worried about its radar signature. What the Monitor had, however, was that revovling turret which let it turn on a dime and continue firing at the Virginia as it went in another direction.

    See this Union version of the Hunley? Apparently it was tied up in court. Also very modern.

    • Andy Hall said, on September 6, 2010 at 9:21 pm

      As I understand, Virginia‘s iron armor plate was four inches think, forged in eight-inch-wide strips. (This was on top of a couple of feet of timber.) How they managed to bend and fit those to the compound curves of the ship’s casemate, I have no idea — difficult enough with simple half-inch plating. Little wonder that every other Confederate ironclad was built with flat plating.

    • Andy Hall said, on September 8, 2010 at 3:03 am

      Correction — the four inches of iron was in two, 2-inch thicknesses, bolted one atop the other at right angles. Still not easy to shape, but much more workable than a four-inch thickness. I should’a remembered that. My bad.

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