At our dinner meeting on April 24th, Civil War Round Table member Hibberd Kline gave a very interesting program about the Confederate Navy. Some of the key points that Hibberd made are as follows:
- The Confederate States Secretary of the Navy, Stephen R. Mallory (1812-1873) served throughout the Civil War. Mallory favored steam-powered, iron-clad vessels and the latest in naval technologies, such as mines, submarines, and the Brooke rifle naval cannon.
- The 7-inch Brooke rifle was a muzzle-loaded cannon that was manufactured at the Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond VA and the Selma Naval Ordnance Works in Selma AL.
- The Confederate iron-clads utilized a bam roof shape design with sloping sides, because the Confederate iron works could not roll plate required to build turrets. Green lumber was used to support the iron plates on the sloping sides.
- The C.S.S. Virginia was the first iron-clad vessel to sink a wooden warship in battle. At the battle of Hampton Roads on March 8, 1862, the C.S.S. Virginia sank the U.S.S. Cumberland and destroyed the U.S.S. Congress. The next day, the C.S.S. Virginia battled the U.S.S Monitor to a draw in the first engagement of iron-clad vessels.
- The iron-clad C.S.S. Albemarle was commissioned on April 17, 1864 and went into action on the Roanoke River. The C.S.S. Albemarle was later sunk by a spar torpedo on October 27, 1864.
- The Confederate commerce raiders C.S.S. Alabama, C.S.S. Florida, and C.S.S. Shenandoah were built in Great Britain. However, in order for Great Britain to remain neutral during the Civil War, the commerce raiders had to be outfitted and armed elsewhere.
- The Confederate cabinet thought the Navy was too expensive and of minimal value to the success of the Confederacy.
- The Confederate Navy was not as important to the general population because not that many men served in the Confederate Navy.