EDITORS NOTE: In commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, Waxahachie resident and amateur historian David Hudgins has written a series of columns of historical facts relating to the War Between the States.
Fourth in a Series
In 1861 Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed Stephen R. Mallory of Key West, Florida as Secretary of the new Confederate Navy.
Mallory did not have one ship or a single naval officer. However he had remarkable success, given the lack of industrial resources and ship yards in the South, building a very respectful navy in such a short time.
Many Union Naval officers resigned their commissions and followed their hearts back to their native Southern states as states seceded from the Union. This gave the South the naval officers it needed.
Listed below are the accomplishments of Mallorys new enclosed ironclad battleships.
CSS Virginia - Converted from USS Merrimack in June 1861. Provided protection for the James River and to break up the blockade near Norfolk, Va. Destroyed May 11, 1862 to avoid capture. Crew 320.
CSS Atlanta Converted in spring 1861 from a Scottish built blockade runner. Provided protection for the bay around Savannah. Surrendered June 1863 after a battle with two Union monitor ships. Crew 145.
CSS Baltic Converted from a Philadelphia built river towboat. Provided protection for Mobile Bay and the Mobile, Ala., and Tombigbee Rivers areas. Crew 150.
CSS Arkansas Laid down (construction began) in Memphis, Tenn., in October 1861. Provided protection on the Yazoo and Mississippi Rivers from Baton Rouge to Vicksburg. After several battles destroyed by crew. Crew 200.
CSS Huntsville and CSS Tuscaloosa Launched at Selma, Ala., in February 1862. Provided protection of Mobile Bay. Crew 140 each.
CSS Georgia Laid down March 1862. Commissioned July 1863. Provided protection for Savannah. Destroyed when the city fell in 1864. Crew 200.
CSS Fredericksburg Constructed in Richmond, Va., in 1862. Provided protection for the James River and the city of Richmond. Destroyed by crew at the fall of Richmond in 1865. Crew 125.
CSS Richmond Laid down at the Norfolk, Virginia Navy Yard in 1862. Provided protection for the James River and city of Richmond. Destroyed April 1865. Crew 180.
CSS Chicora Built at Charleston, S.C. in 1862. Provided protection for Charleston, S.C. Destroyed to prevent capture in 1865. Crew 180.
CSS Palmetto State Laid down January 1862 at Charleston. Provided protection for Charleston. Burned by Confederates upon evacuation in 1865. Crew 180.
CSS North Carolina Constructed in Wilmington in 1862. Provided protection for Wilmington. Developed leak and sank from destruction by teredos, a wood eating worm. Crew 180.
CSS Raleigh Laid down 1863. Provided protection for Wilmington. Crew 180.
CSS Savannah Built at Savannah, Ga., in 1862. Provided protection for Savannah until the fall of the city in 1864. Destroyed by crew. Crew 180.
CSS Missouri Launched at Shreveport, La., in 1863. Provided protection for Shreveport and helped Confederate troops and supplies cross the Red River from Texas to Louisiana. Crew 145. Surrendered to U. S. Naval forces in June 1865.
CSS Manassas Converted from the Massachusetts built Enoch Train in summer 1861. Provided protection for New Orleans and lower Mississippi River. Destroyed during battle in 1862. Crew 104.
CSS Nashville Laid down in February 1863 at Montgomery, Ala. rovided protection for Mobile Bay. Crew 130. Surrendered to Federal forces in May 1865.
CSS Virginia II Completed in 1864 in Richmond, Va. Provided protection for the James River and city of Richmond. Destroyed by crew at the fall of Richmond in 1865. Crew 160.
CSS Albermarle Built at Edwards Ferry, N.C. in 1864. Provided protection on the Roanoke River. Crew 50. Sunk by a Union spar torpedo in October 1864.
CSS Neuse Laid down in April 1863 on the Neuse River in North Carolina. Guarded the inland waters of North Carolina. Crew 50. Destroyed by Confederates in 1865 to avoid capture by General Sherman.
CSS Charleston Laid down December 1862 in Charleston, S.C. Commission delayed until July 1864 . Provided protection for Charleston. Set on fire and abandoned in 1865 when the city fell. Crew 150.
CSS Tennessee Laid down October 1862 at Selma, Ala. Commissioned February 1864. Provided protection for Mobile Bay. Crew 133. Surrendered to Admiral David Farragut, USN in August 1864 after severely damaged in battle.
Secretary of the Confederate Navy, Stephen Mallory, had laid out a plan to build 50 ironclad battleships, but only 22 were completed.
All 50 were laid down, but were delayed waiting on steam engines, which was a problem for the South.
Other ships were started late into 1864 and were never finished, such as the CSS Texas.
Mallory was able to purchase only one ironclad from Europe due to pressure exerted by the Union, causing them to refuse to sell to the Confederacy.
The CSS Stonewall was built by France, sold to the Danish Navy who in turn sold it to the Confederacy. It was the only ocean-going ironclad in the fleet. However the war ended before its journey home.
Mallory also converted other boats using cotton bales and land cannons to help provide protection to river and sea ports. Some would say Stephen Mallory performed a miracle building a Navy from nothing to a force that protected Confederate ports for almost five years.
David Hudgins is a member of the Ellis County Museum Board of Directors and co-founder of the Ellis County Veterans Appreciation Committee. He also serves as Chaplin of the O. M. Roberts Camp #178, Sons of Confederate Veterans. For more information, visit www.omroberts.com.