ORIGIN: Confederate States
SHIPS-IN-CLASS (1): CSS Georgia
OPERATORS: Confederate States
LENGTH: 250 feet (76.20 meters)
BEAM: 60 feet (18.29 meters)
DRAUGHT: 9.6 feet (2.93 meters)
DISPLACEMENT (SURFACE): 700 tons
PROPULSION: 1 x Steam engine.
SPEED (SURFACE): 5 knots (6 miles-per-hour)
Detailing the development and operational history of the CSS Georgia Ironclad Gunboat.
Entry last updated on 7/12/2018.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
Lacking the resources and finances of the Union North, the Confederate South was forced to look down other avenues when addressing shortages of all war-making goods. Public funding support emerged in several states including Georgia and South Carolina and ultimately joined by Virginia in time. The "Ladies Gunboat Association" was formed to help raise money for the construction of ironclad warships for the defense of South and the CSS Georgia gunboat was just one by-product of these endeavors - tens of thousands of dollars committed to her construction by this much-needed funding.
CSS Georgia was constructed at Savannah, Georgia in 1862 which granted the boat her namesake. She was launched sometime in 1863 and commissioned the same year. She featured a running length of 250 feet with a beam of 60 feet and her facilities were managed by some 200 personnel - from engines to controls, ammunition and armament. Her armament consisted of between four and nine cannons in all. Her basic shape followed established ironclad design principles which included an angular hull superstructure, a flat-topped walking deck and a low waterline which contributed to her low silhouette along the horizon. Armament was held within the hull superstructure (under the protection of armor) with firing access to the outside by way of rectangular ports along the sides, front and rear faces of the superstructure. As with most ironclads of the period, she was powered by steam and made slow headway even in ideal conditions.
With the Union advance and lacking adequate propulsion power to fulfill her given ironclad gunboat role, the CSS Georgia was anchored at the Savannah River and left for the protection of the city of Savannah herself and the defense of nearby Fort Jackson. In this way, the vessel could still serve a tactical purpose as a floating cannon battery.
Famous Union General William Sherman began his famous "March to the Sea" campaign back on November 15th, 1864 to which the campaign then ended at Savannah itself on December 21st, 1864 when the city was claimed by Union forces. CSS Georgia, now in peril of falling into enemy possession, was destroyed by Confederate personnel where she floated, ending her short operational service life in the bloody American conflict. Despite her position and armament, her guns were never fired in anger and her career spanned just 20 months in all. Her hulk came to rest along the bottom of the Savannah River and existed in that state for over a century.
CSS Georgia lay in this state until a dredging operation revealed her location in 1968. On November 12th, 2013, a section of the boat was raised under the direction of the US Army Corps of Engineers to study her current condition - in the hopes of bringing the rest of her to light.
In January of 2015, it was announced that a month's long campaign is in place to help raise CSS Georgia from her resting place.
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