Concept/Program: Was the first US Navy broadside ironclad ship, and the first seagoing US ironclad. In general appearance this ship was similar to the European ironclad frigates of the same era, and was in sharp contrast to the contemporary US monitors. Ships of this type were considered as possible alternative to monitors; although monitors were produced in much greater numbers, each type had unique advantages. Ultimately ships of this type, combined with the turrets introduced in the monitors, developed into the modern battleships.
Design: General arrangement was similar to conventional steam frigates, but with the sides of the ship armored and sloped inwards at 17 degrees. The bow and stern were unarmored. The ship was flat-bottomed and of relatively shallow draft, but was found to be too deep for attacks in shoal coastal waters. The sailing rig was carried only for her initial transit to the combat area, and was removed once she reached that area. Contract speed was 9.5 knots; this was not reached. The 8" and 11" guns were located in conventional broadside batteries, protected by the belt armor; the light guns were in exposed positions on the spar deck. There was a small armored pilothouse. The 5.1 inch Dahlgren MLRs were replaced by 5.3 inch Parrot MLRs in 1864.
Saw extensive service during attacks on Charleston; extensive shore bombardment duties. Hit by a spar torpedo 5 October 1863, but damage was minimal. Decommissioned for repairs (and probably overhaul) at Philadelphia 30 June 1864; completed and recommissioned 27 August 1864. Participated in shore bombardment support for the assaults on Fort Fisher.
Decommissioned to reserve 6 April 1865. Destroyed by fire at Philadelphia 16 December 1865.
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Concept/Program: A second, and much larger, broadside ironclad. The design of this ship was considerably different from New Ironsides, and she was far less successful, mainly because she was completed too late to see Civil War service.
Design: A low hull with ironclad sides sloped outwards at 35 degrees; ram bow. There was a large armored casemate, generally similar to that of CSS Virginia, located amidships. She had a iron double bottom and collision bulkheads. Design speed was 15 knots, but on trials only 3,778 ihp was produced, giving 11.7 knots. There were six guns on each broadside: two 15" forward, with 4 11" abaft them. The bow and stern each had five gunports (one axial, two angled to each side) and two 11" guns; each pair of guns was arranged to traverse between the five ports.
Departure from Service/Disposal: Never commissioned in the US Navy.
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