Monday, February 24, 2014

February 24, 1864 – No CSS Stonewall for the South

This day 150 years ago in Rebel Raiders’ History

-Dedicated to Civil War episodes, battles, people and ships that also appear in my game, GMT’s Rebel Raiders on the High Seas.

February 24, 1864 – No CSS Stonewall for the South

Historical Event:  On this date 150 years ago the French government intervened to halt the transfer to the Confederacy of the ocean-going ironclad ram under construction at the port of Bordeaux.  The nearly 1,400-ton warship, which was to have been commissioned as CSS Stonewall, was instead ordered sold to the Danish government.  Confederate agents, however, convinced the Danish buyers to secretly sell the vessel back to the South, and the “Yankee Nightmare” as it was dubbed at the time was commissioned into the Confederate States Navy in January 1865.  Although the Union warships USS Niagara and USS Sacramento shadowed her as she slipped into a Spanish port in late March and then headed across the Atlantic to Havana, by the time she reached Cuba the war was over.   The CSS Stonewall never fired a shot on behalf of the South – although she went on to become the pride of the Japanese fleet, first as the Kotetsu, and finally as the Azuma.

Game Connection:  The mighty ocean-going ironclad ram CSS Stonewall is represented in Rebel Raiders by a unique counter and CSN Card 74.  The intervention by the French government that prevented her from getting into the war in time to fight is also represented in the game by USN Card 55 – Diplomatic Pressure.  The Confederate player normally builds his Raiders (of which the CSS Stonewall is one of the most powerful in the game) overseas.  They are placed there during the Build Phase, which gives the Union player time to either set up some warships to prepare to intercept them when they come out or, if USN Card 55 is available, to either have them seized or forced out of port into the waiting arms (and guns) of Yankee men-o-war.

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