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Ships of the American Civil War

The American Civil War was a transformative time in warship design. During the conflict, the "wooden walls" of the past began giving way to steam-powered ironclads. Here we look at a variety of vessels from this dynamic time.

American Civil War: CSS Alabama
CSS Alabama was a Confederate warship that entered service in August 1862. A renowned commerce raider, CSS Alabama conducted cruises around the world during its career. CSS Alabama was sunk by USS Kearsarge in June 1864.

American Civil War: USS Constellation - The End of an Era
USS Constellation is the last all-sail warship built for the US Navy and the last naval vessel active during the Civil War still afloat. Best known for its work fighting the slave trade, USS Constellation is now preserved as a museum in Baltimore, MD.

American Civil War: USS Hartford
USS Hartford was a screw sloop of war that saw extensive service during the Civil War. Flagship of Adm. David Farragut, USS Hartford took part in the capture of New Orleans, operations on the Mississippi River, and the Battle of Mobile Bay. Retained after the war, USS Hartford remained in the US Navy until 1956.

American Civil War: USS Kearsarge
USS Kearsarge was a Mohican-class screw-sloop built during the American Civil War. Ordered to European waters, Kearsarge famously defeated the Confederate raider CSS Alabama on June 19, 1864. Kearsarge remained in service until 1894, when it ran aground on Roncador Cay.

American Civil War: USS Monitor
USS Monitor was the first ironclad built for the US Navy. Entering service in 1862, USS Monitor fought CSS Virginia in the first battle between ironclad warships on March 9, 1862. After serving in the Hampton Roads area, USS Monitor was lost at sea in late 1862, while under tow.

American Civil War: CSS Shenandoah
CSS Shenandoah was a former British transport which was purchased by the Confederate government in 1864, for use as a raider. Converted to a warship at Madeira, Shenandoah proceeded to attack US shipping in the South Atlantic before moving to the Bering Sea to destroy the American whaling fleet. On November 6, 1865, Shenandoah put into Liverpool and became the last surrender of the Civil War.

American Civil War: CSS Virginia
CSS Virginia was the first ironclad built by the Confederate States Navy and was constucted using timbers from USS Merrimack. Entering service in March 1862, CSS Virginia met USS Monitor in the historic Battle of Hampton Roads. Later that spring, CSS Virginia was burned to prevent capture.

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