Friday, October 4, 2013

The Ships of Rebel Raiders – and their “Yankee Guns”

 Rebel Raiders on the High Seas is a strategic game of the Civil War which focuses on the role of the navies on the rivers, along the coasts and on the oceans.  Those ships carried a wide variety of weaponry, but among the most popular, at least on the Union side, were the storied Dahlgren smoothbores.  These mighty weapons which could hurl a 130-pound shot almost a mile were the mainstay of the fleet, and along with Parrot Rifles and other big cannons are represented in the game by the “Yankee Guns” of USN Card Number 3.

The inventor of the Dahlgren gun is also in the game: Captain (later Admiral) John Dahlgren,  (USN Card 31, which bears his name), as are many of the ships he armed and later commanded.  Dahlgren chaffed at the bit for years, being told he was too valuable in Washington and was a desk not blue water sailor – a jibe he proved wrong after taking over the South Atlantic Squadron from Samuel Francis DuPont (USN Card 54) off Charleston in 1863.   Although known as the “father of naval ordnance” he showed himself every bit the sea salt of his contemporaries, becoming one of the first five admirals of the U.S. Navy.  (David Glasgow Farragut – who appears on the “Damn The Torpedoes” card (USN Card 1) was the first, and DuPont, as well as David Dixon Porter – who appears on USN Card 2 were among the others in the first crop of those elevated to flag officer status).   Each of these admirals, by the way, owed their successes at least in part to Dahlgren the guns he invented, produced and saw installed on their ships.

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