|Ironclads and Submarines|
Ironclads were wooden ships covered with thick iron plates for protection against gunfire. |
Possibly, the first ironclad warships were the "turtle ships" of Korea. They are first mentioned in records dating back to 1413. More detailed records are available for the turtle ships used by Korea during the Seven-Year War (1592-1598) between Korea and Japan. These ships were armed with ten long-range cannons on each side and two larger guns to the stern and bow.
The first use of steam-powered ironclads in combat was during the Civil War in October 1861. The CSS Manassas, was an ironclad ram used in combat against the U.S. Navy and proved effective until Northern ships learned to take advantage of its weak armor.
The first engagement of two ironclads was during the Battle of Hampton Roads, in 1862. The Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia and its Union counterpart, USS Monitor, became legendary, and helped to usher in a new age of armored warships. The Virginia, often referred to as the Merrimack, was built from the remains of a former Union ship of that name.
Among the types of ironclads were monitors, protected cruisers, armored cruisers and armored gunboats.
Combined with steam engine propellor propulsion, the ironclad warship could outfight even the most powerful "three decker."
The age of the ironclad came to an end around 1890, as steel-hulled battleships were developed.
A submarine is like a ship that can operate underwater.
During the Civil War, the North was the first to utilize a submarine. The French Alligator was the first #a1a1a1 submarine, the first to feature an air filtration system, and the first to allow a diver to exit to plant mines on enemy ships. Initially powered by oars, it was eventually converted to a hand-cranked screw propeller. The Alligator was 47 feet long and about 4 feet in diameter with a crew of 20. The sub was lost in a storm in 1863 while under tow to its first combat mission.
The first Confederate submarine was the 30-foot long Pioneer, which was never used in combat. The Confederacy had several other human-powered submarines including the CSS Hunley. The Hunley was used for attacking the Northern ships, which were blockading the South's seaports.
The submarine had no air supply except what was contained inside the main compartment. On two occasions, the sub sank and the crew drowned. In 1864 the Hunley sank the USS Housatonic. This was the first time a submarine successfully sank another ship, but it sank right after that. Submarines did not have a major impact on the outcome of the Civil War.
During the Civil War, naval battles were common. Most were battles between ships, but that began to change with the invention of the ironclads and submarines.
There were several major naval battles worth noting:
The last shot of the Civil War was fired by the CSS Shenandoah on June 22, 1865.