Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Silly Ships of the Civil War

As one follower of my blog remarked upon seeing the picture of the USS Choctaw (see the posting for yesterday, May 20)  "it's hard to imagine that was an actual warship!"

Well, it was -- and Civil War ships are indeed a bizarre  and ungainly lot, as there are ironclads, cottonclads, timberclads, putt-putt steamboats, mortar-boats, fire-rafts, paddlewheelers, armed merchantmen, screw sloops, steam frigates, traditional sailing ships, ships that combined two or  three types of propulsion, gunboats, rams, raiders, submarines, dummy warships (like the "Black Terror") ocean-going tugs - and even an ocean-going ironclad raider -- the CSS Stonewall.....

Most of those bizarre ships appear in Rebel Raiders on the High Seas, as even a cursory look at the countermix or cards will show.   

One of the things i loved most about designing this game was researching and reading about the ships...and the men who served aboard them...

For a scholarly yet entertaining look at these ships and how they fought, I suggest James McPherson's War on the Waters, which came out last year.  You can hear him (and Craig Symonds, another great Civil War naval historian) talk about it on this link:  I was present at their session at the New York Historical Society last October -- and I am on camera at the 39 minute mark asking a question about Rebel Admiral Buchanan and Commander Montgomery, both of whom appear in the game.

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