CSS Texas (1865)

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CSS Texas cross-section
One of the few pictures of CSS Texas in existence; a cross-section drawing through the boiler area.
Career
Name: Texas
Namesake: State of Texas
Launched: January 1865
Captured: 4 April 1865
Fate: sold, 15 October 1867
General characteristics
Length: 217 ft (66.1 m)
Beam: 48.5 ft (14.8 m)
Draft: 13.5 ft (4.1 m)
Propulsion: steam
Complement: 50 officers and men
Armament: four pivots, two broadside guns

CSS Texas was a Columbia-class casemate ironclad built for the Confederate Navy during the American Civil War. Not begun until 1864, she saw no action before being captured by Union forces while still fitting out.

History[edit]

The keel for CSS Texas was laid down at Richmond, Virginia. She was launched in January 1865. At the time of Robert E. Lee's evacuation of Richmond on 3 April 1865, she was left unfinished but intact at the Richmond Navy Yard, one of only two vessels which escaped destruction by the retreating Confederate forces. Captured when the city fell the following day, the ironclad was taken into the United States Navy, but saw no active service. Texas was laid up at Norfolk until 15 October 1867 when she was sold at auction for scrapping to J. N. Leonard & Co. [1] of New Haven, Connecticut.

Design[edit]

The casemate of Texas was roughly octagonal, rather than being a sloped, rectangular, armored box, as on earlier Confederate ironclads; during construction, it was shortened due to critical war materials shortages. It fitted snugly around her eight gunport positions, six of which were to be used with two pivot cannons, each firing from three forward or aft positions.

Details of her armament are sketchy, but her sister ironclad, CSS Tennessee II, carried four 6.4 inch Brooke rifles, two 7.0 inch Brooke rifles, and a bolted-on spar torpedo fitted to her bow. Tennessee '​s armor was three layers of two-inch iron plate, and instead of being bolted to her deck, the pilot house formed a seamless extension of her sloped side-armor. Tennessee's top speed was about five knots, according to some sources, and her crew numbered about 133 sailors. However, it is unclear how closely Texas would have resembled her sister ironclad if she had been completed.

Other sources gave Texas a (projected) top speed of about 10 knots, and these note that both Tennessee II and Texas differed from each other in their final details due to a lack of available materials, notably the iron plate for her armor; her cannons and engines were also different. During her construction design improvements were incorporated from lessons learned in combat with the U. S. Navy.[2]

Cannon and pivot carriage mounting plan intended for CSS Texas installation.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Price & Lee Directory (1899)
  2. ^ Angus Constam: The Confederate Ironclad, Osprey Publishing, 2001

Bibliography[edit]

  • Canney, Donald L. (1993). The Old Steam Navy: The Ironclads, 1842–1885 2. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-586-8. 
  • Chesneau, Roger; Kolesnik, Eugene M., eds. (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905. Greenwich, UK: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-8317-0302-4. 
  • Silverstone, Paul H. (2006). Civil War Navies 1855–1883. The U.S. Navy Warship Series. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-97870-X. 
  • Still, William N., Jr. (1985). Iron Afloat: The Story of the Confederate Armorclads (Reprint of the 1971 ed.). Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 0-87249-454-3. 

External links[edit]