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Comparative Analysis of Confederate Ironclad Steam Engines, Boilers, and Propulsion Systems: A Thesis Made Possible by the Port Columbus Civil War Naval Museum

Author(s): Saxon Bisbee

Year: 2014

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Summary

The development of steam propulsion machinery in warships during the 1800s in conjunction with iron armor and shell guns resulted in a technological revolution in the world’s navies, but it was during the American Civil War that armored warships powered solely by steam proved themselves in large numbers. The ironclads built by the Confederate States of America represented a style adapted to scarce industrial resources and facilities. The development and/or procurement of propulsion machinery for these vessels have received only peripheral study. Through historical and archaeological investigation, the scattered existing information on Confederate ironclad steam engines, boilers, and propulsion systems has been consolidated and augmented. The steam plants of 27 ironclads are assessed by source, type, and performance, among other factors. The result is an analysis of steam machinery development during the Civil War which also adds to the relatively small knowledge base relating to Confederate ironclads. This work would not have been possible without access to the large collection of primary source material of the Port Columbus Civil War Naval Museum and the generosity of its staff.


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Comparative Analysis of Confederate Ironclad Steam Engines, Boilers, and Propulsion Systems: A Thesis Made Possible by the Port Columbus Civil War Naval Museum. Saxon Bisbee. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436984)


Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-44,07

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America