Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Builder’s Drawing of Wren and Lark

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on February 8, 2015

One item from the Merseyside Maritime Museum exhibition, Ships built in Liverpool for the American Civil War:


Original caption: Curve book, Laird’s Shipyard, Birkenhead showing keel drawings for the blockade runners Lark and Wren, both built by Lairds for the Confederacy. Laird’s built a number of ships for Fraser, Trenhom and the Confederate government, including Lark, Wren, Albatross and Penguin. The Lark and the Wren both left the Mersey in December 1865 1864 and worked in the Gulf of Mexico, running the blockade to ports in Florida and Galveston carrying supplies of clothing, shoes and small arms. On 25 May 1865 the Lark was the last steam blockade runner to enter and leave a Confederate port. (Reference: SAS/25G/1/7)


This cross-section is very similar to an earlier Laird-built paddle steamer, Denbigh. Around the outer edge of the hull are notations of plate thicknesses, and the column at right tallies up weights. The spacing of the frames at 21 inches is a bit more than the standard 18 inches, suggesting a willingness to trade structural strength for a saving of weight. We read recently about Wren‘s eventful arrival here in early February 1865; Lark‘s story will be told in due time.

The drawing above, rendered in three dimensions, would be something like this:



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3 Responses

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  1. woodrowfan said, on February 10, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Great illustration, thanks. The museum is very nice. I did some research there last spring and enjoyed looking at the exhibits….

  2. H. E. Parmer said, on February 12, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    The Lark and the Wren both left the Mersey in December 1865 and worked in the Gulf of Mexico, running the blockade …

    Think you might need to make a slight correction there. Time-travelling blockade runners would make for an entertaining bit of steampunk, though.

    With that narrow beam, shallow draft and flat bottom, I’ll bet they were lively rides in a heavy gale.

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