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"CSS Tennessee Smokestack" Topic

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American Civil War
19th Century

535 hits since 27 May 2019
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Sturmdivision27 May 2019 2:53 p.m. PST

During the Battle of Mobile Bay, CSS Tennessee's smokestack was hit and carried away and had to be replaced following her capture by Union naval forces.

I know of only three published photos taken of her after this occurred and all show her with a very tall and narrow stack (around 30 feet tall by my admittedly rough calculation, based on comparing it with the height of personnel standing on her deck at the time the photos were taken).

What I'm wondering is, do we know with any certainty how tall her original stack was? And was the replacement stack specifically fabricated for her or was a stack from some other derelict ship simply grafted onto her as a matter of expediency?

EJNashIII13 Sep 2019 4:55 p.m. PST

Maybe I will be proven wrong, but I suspect you will not find the answer to your question. This is just not the kind of information that gets saved. She was hastily repaired after the battle, but most of the work was done in New Orleans. I would suspect a new stack was made there. I have never seen a reliable image from before the battle. Then, I think all the paintings of the battle were guesses or based on the 1865 photos.

EJNashIII13 Sep 2019 5:50 p.m. PST

Captain TA Jenkin, Captain James Alden, Commander WM Leroy, and Chief engineer Williamson were assigned to survey Tennessee the day after the battle, Sept 6. They noted the smokestack was gone and needed to be replaced. Interestingly, they thought the multiple times the ship was rammed tore it off rather than it being shot away. The report was submitted on August 13th. It listed all damage and all the various bits of supplies on board with an estimated value. Tennesse was ordered to be towed to New Orleans on August 28 by USS Bienville. The ship was ordered to be formally appraised in New Orleans before any repair work was done. It also seems Farragut wanted the people of New Orleans to see her captured and shot up as a deterrent. The formal appraisal was submitted in early October. So, repair work was not until after then. A bit of the armor was replaced and the steering was redone. So, I would imagine the stack was replaced with a new one. USS Tennesse entered US service on or about Nov 30. link

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