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I think a very interesting topic would be the history and construction of paddle steamers used during the Civil War here in the States. Who built them, sailed them, used them, and their purpose. The significance of this type of ship and their influence on the rapid development of the vessel, paddle wheels, and power plant construction during 1860-65. There are a lot of books out about Blockade Runners but none cover the construction in detail. Any one interested?



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Actually, there are a couple books that do discuss the construction of steamers: The Old Steam Navy: The Ironclads - 1842-1885 (Volume Two), by Donald L. Canney.I don't know how detailed you are talking about but this book goes into the design, construciton, and history of the various classes of U.S. Navy ironclad steamers from the monitors to paddlewheelers. Volume One deals with the Steam Sloops, Frigates, and Gunboats of that period.

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Also "BEAVER: Hudson's Bay Company 1835 Steamship" has loads of detail about the Beaver steamship - while it wasn't a blockade runner, it was the same basic ship as many others that were (like the Harriet Lane) and has loads of details about the inner bits.


That being said, I'd be interested anyway.

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John Fryant has model plans for various steamboats:



This one, perhaps, relating to your topic:

USS Choctaw, Union navy sidewheel ram gunboat



These books by Alan Bates are great resources for steamboat model builders, though geared to riverboats (sometimes used as transports in the War of Northern Agression, mis-named the Civil War):


The Western Rivers Steamboat Cyclopedium

The Western Rivers Engineroom Cyclopoedium


I believe these are out-of-print, but might be found used at Amazon or eBay.



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While all those are good books, none of them covers Blockade-runners and side paddle steamers used during the civil war. Some of the current material available is:


Clydebuilt by Eric Graham

Blockade Runners of the confederacy by Hamilton Cochran

Lifeline of the Confederacy by Stephen Wise

Blockade, The Civil War at Sea by Robert Carse

Confederate Blockade Runners 1861- 65


While they are all good reading, informative and give a lot of specific detail, none provides the specific construction detail that I am interested.


There are many plans, manuscripts and letters between constructors and buyers available but difficult to get to. The “Records of British Business and Industry 1760-1914” has provide me with some detail on the companies that constructed the ships as do several of the books listed above.


There are also a lot of books and manuals written around the turn of the century, that are now available thru Google books' Gotenburg project and College scans on line but none of them has scanned the large scale detail drawings that come with the book and if they were scanned they were not unfold.


In particular what I am looking for is how was the ships actually constructed ( this is an era where we are going from wood to Iron and  steel, sail to steam). also the engines/boilers who/how were they  constructed.


Now that I see there is some interest perhaps I can get past the hump! Yes I have been on the Paddle Ducks site.


Edited by the learner
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  • 2 weeks later...

Guy -


Not a bad topic at all!  there are a few of us here interested in these old sidewheelers - would be interested in working with you on this but not sure where to start research wise.  I am really nowhere close to a good natucial research library!

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The Modern Greece is a Screw steamer, not a paddle steamer. There is a listing about her in Hamilton Cockhran's book Blockade Runners of the Confederacy. They did manage to get all the Brandy off her before shells from Fort Fisher distroyed her along with all the gun powder that was aboard!




You might inquire at Fort Fisher, North Carolina about the blockade runner, MODERN GREECE. Built in England in 1859,this steamer was bought and converted into a blockade runner in 1862. On June 27, 1862, she ran aground near Fort Fisher, NC, while trying to evade two Union warships. Some of her cargo was salvaged, but the rest was forgotten, until a storm in 1962 uncovered her remains. Many of her muskets, pistols and other armaments were salvaged and are now on display at a museum.


Montani semper liberi. Happy modeling to all and every one of you.

     Crackers      :pirate41::10_1_10:

Edited by the learner
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I will look for the book, but chances are because the ships were built before 1860 all will be wooden ships. However there might be some good refrence material in the book. Thanks



O.K,  I dug through my library and found an excellent reference book called Paddle warships, the earliest steam powered fighting ships 1815 - 1850 by D.K.Brown on the Conway ship types series.   This may be what your after, cheers.

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