List of ships of the Confederate States Navy

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Confederate States Navy (CSN) Department Seal

This is a list of ships of the Confederate States Navy (CSN), used by the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War between 1861 and 1865. Included are some types of civilian vessels, such as blockade runners, steamboats, and privateers which contributed to the war efforts by the CSN. Also included are special types of floating batteries and harbor defense craft.

CSN Warships

The Secretary of the CS Navy, Stephen Mallory, was very aggressive on a limited budget in a land-focused war, and developed a two-pronged warship strategy of building ironclad warships for coastal and national defense, and commerce raiding cruisers, supplemented with exploratory use of special weapons such as torpedo boats and torpedoes.


Based upon the successful employment of ironclad warships, particularly batteries, at the Battle of Kinburn, Britain and France decided to focus on armor plated warships, starting with coastal battery designs. Initial ocean-going ironclad cruisers, such as the French Gloire and the British HMS Warrior were only just emerging in 1859 and 1860, and were beyond the budget and timeline necessary for rapid force deployment that the CS Navy needed for immediate coastal defenses in 1861.

Therefore, the Confederate Congress voted $2 million in May 1861 to buy ironclads from overseas, and in July and August started work on construction and converting wooden ships locally. On 12 October 1861, the Manassas became the first ironclad to enter battle when she fought Union warships on the Mississippi. In February 1862, the even larger Virginia joined the Confederate Navy, having been built at Norfolk. The Confederacy built a number of ships designed as versions of the Virginia, of which several saw action. In the failed attack on Charleston on April 7, 1863 two small ironclads, Palmetto State and Chicora participated in the successful defense of the harbor. For the later attack at Mobile Bay, the Union faced the Tennessee, the Confederacy's most powerful ironclad.

Ironclad steam-powered batteries

The CS Navy ironclad steamer batteries were all designed for national coastal defense.

Ironclad floating batteries

CS Navy ironclad floating batteries lacked steam engines for propulsion and were towed into firing positions.

Wooden floating batteries

CS Navy wooden floating batteries were towed into firing positions, and as in the case at Charleston Harbor, used for makeshift defense.


CS Navy cruisers were ocean-going ships designed primarily for the Confederate Navy's strategy of guerre de course. Confederate States Navy cruisers were typically lightly armed, with a couple of large guns or a pivot gun, and often very fast. The Navy planned to add ironclad cruisers to their fleet, successfully procuring one, but too late to be of benefit for the war.

Wooden cruisers

Ironclad cruisers

But the CS Navy attempts to procure ironclad cruisers from overseas were frustrated as European nations confiscated ships being built for the Confederacy. Only the Stonewall was completed and successfully delivered, and she arrived in American waters just in time for the end of the war.

  • CSS North Carolina I, seized October 1863 and commissioned as HMS Scorpion
  • CSS Mississippi II, seized October 1863 and commissioned as HMS Wivern
  • CSS Stonewall, twin-screw steamer, brig rigged, ironclad, sold to Japan after capture by Union and renamed Japanese ironclad Kotetsu
  • CSS Cheops, sister to Stonewall, built in France and sold to Prussia, October 29, 1865, and named SMS Prinz Adalbert
  • "Ironclad Frigate No. 61", arranged by Captain James H. North, CSN, sold to Denmark, commissioned as Danmark


Torpedo boats

CSN Support ships

Government blockade runners

Government steamers

Government transports


Hospital ships

Tenders and tugs

Civilian auxiliary


  • A.C. Gunnison, privateer steam tug
  • Beauregard, privateer cutter, schooner rigged, captured: November 12, 1861
  • Calhoun, privateer side-wheel steamer, burned: 1862
  • Dixie, privateer schooner, captured: April 15, 1862
  • Gibralter, privateer schooner
  • Governor A. Mouton, privateer steamer, captured: May 11, 1862
  • Isabella, privateer screw steamer
  • J. M. Chapman, privateer schooner, captured: March 15, 1863
  • J. O. Nixon, privateer schooner
  • Jefferson Davis, privateer brig, ran aground: mid-August, 1861
  • Judah, privateer schooner, destroyed: September 14, 1861
  • Lorton, privateer schooner
  • Mariner, privateer screw steamer
  • Music, privateer steamer
  • Sallie, privateer schooner
  • Savannah, privateer schooner, captured: June 3, 1861
  • Sealine, privateer brig
  • Theodora, privateer side-wheel steamer
  • V. H. Ivy, privateer steamer
  • York, privateer pilot boat, schooner rigged, burned: August 9, 1861

Privateer submersible torpedo boats

Civilian steamers

Civilian transports

Civilian blockade runners

Foreign blockade runners

  • Denbigh side-wheel steamer, schooner rigged

CS Army

CSA cotton-clads

CSS Governor Moore
CSS Stonewall Jackson

Used for river defense, CS Army cottonclads were typically more lightly armored and reinforced than a regular ironclad, such as the General Sterling Price, which was converted by placing a 4-inch oak sheath with a 1-inch iron covering on her bow, and by installing double pine bulkheads filled with compressed cotton bales. Many of the cottonclads were outfitted with rams.

River Defense Fleet cotton-clads:

Other CS Army cotton-clads:

Other CSA boats



  • Alvarado - prize bark, captured: by privateer Jefferson Davis, July 21, 1861
  • Enchantress - prize schooner, captured: by privateer Jefferson Davis July 6, 1861


  • CSS Segar
  • CSS Smith
  • CSS St. Nicholas
  • CSS W. R. Miles

See also



  • Coski, John M. Capital Navy: The Men, Ships and Operations of the James River Squadron, Campbell, CA: Savas Woodbury Publishers, 1996, ISBN 1-882810-03-1
  • Gardiner Steam, Steel and Shellfire
  • Lambert A., Iron Hulls and Armour Plate
  • Scharf, J. Thomas. History of the Confederate States Navy: From its Organization to the Surrender of its Last Vessel. New York: Rogers and Sherwood, 1887; repr. The Fairfax Press, 1977.

External links