Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Is That An 11-inch Dahlgren in Your Pocket. . ?

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on August 21, 2011

I’ll write up more about these later, but my recent post on Monitor‘s turret sent me off on an effort to sort out more of the structural detail of that unique feature. That, in turn, got me interested in the 11-inch (or XI-inch, as they were designated at the time) Dahlgren guns that served as Monitor‘s main armament. (Craig Swain has a great article on Dahlgrens here.) For now, eye aye candy:

Here’s one of Monitor‘s guns compared with a contemporary field piece (commercial model, not mine):

The turret with a first pass at the armor:

And finally, the guns in situ:

More here.
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8 Responses

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  1. Craig Swain said, on August 21, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    I could get nit-picky with the particulars of the carriage. But it is a damn sight better than I can draw!

    • Andy Hall said, on August 21, 2011 at 6:36 pm

      Feel free to be nit-picky. It’s based on (1) Ericsson’s drawing in Miller’s book, (2) the reconstruction at Mariners, and the conservation photos from their blog — some of which sources seem contradictory. One thing I’m not clear about entirely is the breaking system, which seems to have used blades or vanes on the underside of the carriage, which ran in grooves. So enlightenment there would be appreciated.

      • Craig Swain said, on August 21, 2011 at 10:57 pm

        I’d go with the BurOrd diagrams for scale. However many of the dependencies may be due to the differences in the particulars as fitted out and as later changed in the ships brief service.

        You might need to thicken the gun’s diameter just behind the trunnions to make that “soda bottle” shape more distinct. That would reduce the height of the front sight base (about 1.75 inches if my notes are correct) and restore the near cylindrical appearance behind the trunnions. Should be a noticeable muzzle swell in this caliber Dahlgren. The straight muzzles didn’t arrive until the guns got too big for the firing ports.

        But again this is nit-picking over small stuff that only someone with a ruler and plumb line would be concerned with.

  2. Nora Carrington said, on August 22, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Andy, I’m sure you’ve provided the answer already but a quick scan isn’t turning it up and I’m intrigued: what software are you using to make/draw/build (?? don’t even know the right language) the models? A link will do; don’t want you to have to duplicate work.

    • Andy Hall said, on August 22, 2011 at 8:13 pm

      The basic modeling is done in Rhino, with rendering in its companion software, Flamingo. I’m using very old versions of both. Other software contributes as well, including Poser and Photoshop — the more tools in the bin, the more flexibility one has.

      Rhino is not widely used either by hobbyists like me or folks who do CGI work professionally. It’s more commonly found in industrial applications, particularly in naval architecture, because it has a number of features that adapt it well to that business.

  3. Craig L. said, on September 4, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    I’m curious to know if you’re familiar with a science fiction novel called Dhalgren written by Samuel Delaney and published in 1975. It’s post-modern aesthetic is often compared to Finnegan’s Wake. The title of the book is one of its many mysteries. The novel’s protagonist suffers from amnesia and some have supposed that Dhalgren may refer to the protagonist’s actual name. Delany is African-American, the son of a Harlem undertaker, with family ties to the Harlem Renaissance. I had the no idea that the novel’s title alludes to a piece of Civil War artillery, though it does seem curiously apt.

    • Andy Hall said, on September 4, 2011 at 9:03 pm

      Thanks for commenting. I’m not familiar with it, but I’ll look for it.

      • Craig L. said, on September 6, 2011 at 10:05 am

        The novel is set in a city called Bellona which I had assumed was mythical. According to the list provided in the article linked to in your post, Bellona was one of about ten towns or cities with foundries that produced the Dhalgrens used in the Civil War.


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