Warship Wednesday June 6

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take out every Wednesday for a look at the old steampunk navies of the 1866-1938 time period and will profile a different ship each week.

– Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday,  June 6

Montauk taking the CSS Nashville/blockade runner Rattlesnake, a 1221-ton side-wheel steamer, was originally a passenger steamer built at Greenpoint, New York, in 1853. She was seized by the Confederacy at Charleston, South Carolina, in 1861 and converted to a lightly-armed cruiser. Nashville made one combat cruise under the Confederate Navy flag, starting in October 1861. She captured and burned the sailing merchantman Harvey Birch in the English Channel on 19 November, and spent some time at Southampton, England. Returning to American waters early in 1862, she captured and burned the schooner Robert Gilfillan on 26 February. Two days later, she ran the blockade into Beaufort, North Carolina, remaining there until mid-March, when she went to Georgetown, South Carolina.
Sold to private interests and renamed Thomas L. Wragg, she operated as a blockade runner, but was hindered in this employment by her deep draft. After arrival near Savannah, Georgia, she was sold again in November 1862, to become a privateer under the name Rattlesnake. On 28 February 1863, while still in the Savannah area, she was destroyed by the monitor USS Montauk.

Here we have the ironclad monitor USS Montauk pasting a rebel blockade runner.

Before 1861, an armored warship was a curiosity. After 1862, they were the only legitimate warship afloat. One of these was the USS Montauk. Built in Brooklyn and commissioned at New York on 14 December 1862, she went right into battle. Within a month she was battling it out with rebel seacoast defense positions at Fort McAllister, Georgia. Although hit 14 times, Montauk was undamaged. The ironclad made a second attack the next day, badly battering the fort; and Montauk was hit 48 times but still capable of fighting. She later sank the blockade runner Rattlesnake, bombarded Fort Sumter, and helped attack Fort Wagner.

Most famously she was at the Washington Naval Yard at the close of the war and Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Boothe was brought for autopsy aboard along with several of the  other captured conspirators.

One of the most surreal pictures ever, of caught Lincoln conspirator Louis Payne aboard USS Montauk, leaning against her turrent.

Her war finished, the ironclad was retained in ordinary commission for more than four decades. She was brought out of retirement at age 36 during the Spanish American War to serve as a coast defense ship when it was thought the Spanish fleet would attack the US east coast. Finally in 1904 she was scrapped.

USS Montauk at age 38 on far left of picture at League Island Navy Yard in Philadelphia, better known at the time as red-lead row, in 1900. The new gleaming white pre-dreadnought battleship USS Iowa is at the far right. Note the shacks and storage sheds on the monitors. In just a few years they would go to the scrappers.

Specifications:
Type:     Ironclad monitor
Displacement:     750 long tons (760 t)
Length:     200 ft (61 m) o/a
Beam:     46 ft (14 m)
Draft:     10 ft 6 in (3.20 m)
Installed power:     320 ihp (240 kW)
Propulsion:     1 × Ericsson vibrating lever engine
2 × Martin boilers
1 × shaft
Speed:     7 kn (8.1 mph; 13 km/h)
Complement:     75 officers and enlisted
Armament:     1 × 15 in (380 mm) smoothbore, 1 × 11 in (280 mm) smoothbore
Armor (all iron plate):

Side: 3–5 in (7.6–13 cm)
Turret: 11 in (28 cm)
Pilothouse: 8 in (20 cm)
Deck: 1 in (2.5 cm)

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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