Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Secret Ship

The Confederacy secretly took ownership of the CSS Stonewall on January 10th 1865 from France.

The CSS Stonewall was built in Bordeaux, France for the Confederate Navy at the request of John Slidell the Confederate commissioner to France.  It was a 1390 ton ironclad ram.  Just before she was ready to launch in February 1864, the French government enacted an embargo, and sold the ship to Denmark.  When it was completed however the Danish government would not accept delivery.

The Confederate Navy secretly took possession of the ship January 10th 1865 and commissioned her the CSS Stonewall.  She was placed under the command of Captain T J Page.  She sailed for the Azores on her way to America, looking for Union Navy and commercial ships to attack.  A storm forced the Stonewall into Ferrol, Spain where she was confronted by the USS Niagara and USS Sacramento in March 1865.  Those two wooden ships declined to attack the heavily armed Stonewall.  She reached Havana, Cuba in May after the Civil War ended, and was turned over to Spanish authorities.

The Stonewall was turned over the United States government in July 1865.  After sitting for two years in the Washington, DC Navy Yard, she was sold to Japan.


Tim Kent said...

Great blog. A lot of people don't realize how many ironclads the Confederacy had either built or began building during the war. The number is over 40.

LivingInVermont said...

Wow! Thanks for the info. I knew there were quite a number of Confederate ironclads, but had never really looked at the number.