CSS Rappahannock

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CSS Rappahannock
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svgUnited Kingdom
Ordered: 15 May 1855 [1]
Builder: Money Wigram & Son, Blackwall
Cost: £45,450 [1]
Laid down: 24 May 1855 [1]
Launched: 2 November 1855 [1]
Commissioned: 1 April 1856
Fate: Sold to R. Gordon Coleman as Scylla in November 1863 and resold later the same month to the Confederacy
Naval ensign of the Confederate States of America (1863-1865).svgConfederate States
Name: CSS Rappahannock
Commissioned: November 1864
Decommissioned: April 1865
Fate: Turned over to United States
General characteristics
Class and type: Intrepid-class gunvessel
Displacement: 868 49/94 bm [1]
Length: 200 ft (61 m) pp [1]
Beam: 30 ft 4 in (9.25 m) [1]
Depth of hold: 14 ft 6 in (4.42 m) [1]
Installed power: 1,166  ihp (869 kW) [1]
  • 2-cylinder horizontal single-expansion steam engine [1]
  • Single screw
Sail plan: Barque
Speed: 11.6 knots (21.5 km/h) [1]
Complement: 100

CSSRappahannock, a steam sloop-of-war, was built at the Blackwall Yard on the River Thames by Money Wigram & Son in 1855 as an Intrepid-class gunvessel for the Royal Navy and named HMS Victor. Although a handsomely modeled vessel, numerous defects occasioned her sale in 1863. An agent of the Confederate States Government purchased her ostensibly for the China trade, but British authorities suspected she was destined to be a Confederate commerce raider and ordered her detention. Nevertheless, she succeeded in escaping from Sheerness, England, on November 24, with workmen still on board and only a token crew. Her Confederate States Navy officers joined in the English Channel.

When he bought her from the Admiralty through his secret agent on November 14, Commander Matthew F. Maury had intended Rappahannock to replace the cruiser CSS Georgia and was about to transfer Georgia's guns to her. She was ideal for a cruiser wooden-hulled and bark-rigged with two engines and a lifting screw propeller.

The Confederate Screw-Steamer Rappahannock lying at Calais Pier, 1863 The Confederate Screw-Steamer Rappahannock lying at Calais Pier - ILN 1863.jpg
The Confederate Screw-Steamer Rappahannock lying at Calais Pier, 1863

She was commissioned a Confederate man-of-war underway, but while passing out of the Thames Estuary her bearings burned out and she had to be taken across to Calais for repairs. There Lieutenant C. M. Fauntleroy, CSN, was placed in command. Detained on various pretexts by the French Government, Rappahannock never got to sea and was turned over to the United States at the close of the war.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Winfield, R.; Lyon, D. (2004). The Sail and Steam Navy List: All the Ships of the Royal Navy 1815–1889 . London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN   978-1-86176-032-6.

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships .