After some issues with posting, and revisions in the initial image, I am re-posting the first Confederate ship and history, as well as the US counterpart built two years later.
Reader's Digest version: After winning Antietam and Gettysburg, the Confederates gain recognition from Europe (primarily the UK and France). These countries oversee a negotiated settlement allowing the CSA to retain its independence from the United States.
Following the enacting of the Secession Treaty of 1864; the two America's continue to push toward the West Coast along their mutual border and starting in the 1880's, become involved in a continuously escalating naval arms race. Tensions between the two nations continue to build after the conclusion of the Continental War (OTL's WWI), and a second civil war (known as the War of the Americas) begins in 1922.
The first posting is of the class that started it all:
Originating from a mid 1875 proposal to build a modernized version of the North Carolina
class (the so-called "Laird Rams", built for the CSA in Britain), the design was modified several times until it was decided to base the new ships on the British Cyclops
class turreted breastwork monitors. A total of five of this class; Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana
, and Alabama
were built in British yards - commissioning between 1881 and 1882.
The Confederate ships differed from their British cousins by being a little larger and of greater displacement as necessitated by their heavier guns; 11" muzzle-loaders in place of the 10" guns of the British ships, and more powerful engines capable of a top speed of 12.5 knots. They had an 8” belt, 1.5” deck, and 10” turret armor.
Originally intended to counter the US's sea-going monitors, the Virginia's
quickly became obsolete. However, all five served in the Caribbean during the Spanish-Confederate War (1895-1897), and one, Louisiana
, was sunk by Spanish torpedo boats. The four surviving ships were decommissioned between 1902 and 1903 and later scrapped.
Knowing that the new Confederate monitors would outclass the Illinois
) class which formed the backbone of the US Navy in both speed and seaworthiness, the recommendation was made that the US build a class of heavy sea-going monitors of the type pioneered by the UK with their revolutionary Devastation
class (commissioned 1873-77).
The new Wisconsin
class of three ships; Wisconsin, Nevada
, and Delaware
, was laid down between 1880 and 1881 and commissioned in 1883-1884. They displaced 10,801 tons fully loaded and carried four 15” Dahlgren-type guns in twin turrets fore and aft becoming the last major US warships to carry muzzle-loaders (these were replaced by 13” breach-loading rifles in the 1890’s). They were propelled by two vertical compound steam engines driving twin screws and had a top speed of 15 knots. The new ships were protected by 14” belt, 3” deck, and 14” turret armor.
Serving their active careers in the Atlantic, the Wisconsin’s
were also rendered obsolete by the rapid advance in warship design during the late 1880’s and early 1890’s, and other than the replacement of their original guns with 13”/35 Mk.1’s in 1895, they changed very little. Decommissioned in 1901-1902, they were scrapped between 1904 and 1905.
More to come.