Military Factory logo

USS Roanoke (1857) Steam-Powered Sailing Frigate / Converted Ironclad Warship


The USS Roanoke began life as a wood-hulled, Merrimack-class sailing frigate of 1857 before her 1863 conversion to an ironclad during the American Civil War.

 Updated: 7/12/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com


USS Roanoke began life as a steam-powered frigate with a three-masted profile and ended her days as a fighting ironclad, seeing action during the whole of the American Civil War (1861-1865). She was laid down in May of 1854 by the Norfolk Navy Yard and launched on December 13th, 1855 while formally commissioned on May 4th, 1857. She held a short service life prior to the war where her most notable action during the period was bringing the former President of Nicaragua William Walker and his entourage back stateside from his failed filibuster (an unauthorized military expedition).

As built, USS Roanoke displaced 4,545 tons and held a length of 263.7 feet with a beam measuring 51 feet and a draught down to 23.8 feet. Power included 4 x Martin boilers feeding 1 x Trunk steam engine developing 996 horsepower to 1 x shaft astern. She could make headway at 8.8 knots, held a crew of 674 personnel and was armed through 1 x 10" Dahlgren smoothbore main gun, 28 x 9" Dahlgren smoothbore secondary guns and 14 x 8" Dahlgren smoothbore tertiary guns.


USS Roanoke (1857) Technical Specifications



Service Year: 1857
Type: Steam-Powered Sailing Frigate / Converted Ironclad Warship
National Origin: United States
Ship Class: Merrimack-class




Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)



Complement (Crew): 347
Length: 263.7 feet (80.38 meters)
Beam (Width): 51 feet (15.54 meters)
Draught (Height): 23.8 feet (7.25 meters)

Surface Displacement: 6,400 tons

Installed Power and Base Performance



Engine(s): 4 x Martin boilers with 1 x Trunk steam engine driving 1 x shaft at 996 horsepower; 1 x Auxiliary boiler for systems power.

Surface Speed: 8.5 knots (10 mph)

Armament / Air Wing



As Built:
1 x 10" (254mm) Dahlgren smoothbore main gun.
28 x 9" (229mm) Dahlgren smoothbore secondary guns.
14 x 8" (203mm) Dahlgren smoothbore tertiary guns.

Post-Ironclad Converson (1863):
2 x 15" (381mm) Dahlgren guns
2 x 150-pounder Parrott rifled guns
2 x 11" (279mm) Dahlgren guns

Aircraft: None.

Global Operators



United States

Ships-in-Class (1)



USS Merrimack; USS Roanoke

Images Gallery



VIEW
VIEW