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"ACW Ship Questions" Topic

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Personal logo Dan Cyr Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 3:15 p.m. PST

Was there a common mast color for ships that made them?

Were all naval guns painted black to protect them against salt water?

Were naval gun carriages all made of steel and thus painted black also?

Pivot guns, where the carriages steel and painted black also?

Were deck guns on steel carriages (broadside gun types)?

Were gun carriages on ships built for and fought on rivers, as well as fortress and battery guns on wood carriages? If so, any particular color?

I'm assuming that both Union and Confederate guns and carriages would be the same?

Thanks in advance.

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 4:16 p.m. PST

Fortress guns were under the control and crewed by Army troops and so would be the colors used by the Army.

Personal logo Dan Cyr Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 8:25 p.m. PST

Yes, but were they all wood carriages, some, most, or same for iron/steel carriages?

If an army cannon was painted olive green (or a shade like that), one could not expect them to paint metal the same color, right?

Dn Jackson Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 9:01 p.m. PST

These answers are from memory, so take them for what they're worth…

1) US Navy masts were white generally. CS ships could be any color since some were built over seas and some were converted merchants.

2) I can't recall seeing any guns painted any color other than black.

3) Some naval carriages were wood and others iron. Black seems standard for iron. I've seen wooden ones in red.

4) Pivot gun carriages were iron and I use black on mine.

5) Usually larger guns were on iron carriages while smaller guns on wooden.

6) Fort guns were the same as ship guns, smaller on wooden carriages, larger on iron. Fortress guns on wooden carriages that I've seen were green.

This link leads to interior pictures of HMS Warrior. While a British ship she was from the same era and you can see the wooden carriages: link

This link is to Old Fort Jackson in Savannah, GA and includes some shots of the 32 pounder barbette gun and carriage: link

This link is to pictures of Fort Pulaski. The barbette guns have iron carriages while the casemate guns have wooden ones. link

This link includes a virtual tour of USS Constellation. While she was a sailing ship she is in her ACW configuration. All the gns on her have wooden carriages. link

Hope this helps

Sam Quee12 Oct 2021 3:55 a.m. PST

Google USS Morse. Guns appear to have been painted white.

Dave Woodchuck12 Oct 2021 6:16 a.m. PST

I'll agree with most of what's here – my only contribution would be to say that you can get away with leaving some of the brass guns as unpainted brass versus black.

HMS Exeter12 Oct 2021 8:59 a.m. PST

There are few realms of gaming where one would be safer from the scourge of rivet counting than ACW naval.

The "regular" USN at the start of the war, and non-ironclads built for it as regular procurement would look pretty much alike. Acquired ships, ironclads and "rush job" vessels would be more likely to vary in appearance. CSA ships are also likely to exhibit considerable variability.

You can drive yourself nuts trying to infer colors from B&W pictures, pour over accounts to try to find descriptions, or rely on books with color plates,…or just make your best guess and shrug if/when someone decides to try being a rivet counting tool/fool.

Personal logo Dan Cyr Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2021 9:01 p.m. PST

Thanks to all. I'm painting up 1/600 scale, so its not critical, but I'd like to at least make them look good. I did examine pictures, and while the large guns and such like pivot guns show steel/iron carriages, it is difficult to tell if broadside gun carriages were.

I'll go with the idea that broadside guns, unless of great size, would be on wood and I'll paint them that way.

Dn Jackson Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2021 3:29 a.m. PST

Years ago I read an account of a Federal naval attack on Fort McAllister outside of Savannah. It was from the ORs. There were multiple monitors in the attack and each was painted differently. One was green, one black with a white band around the turret, etc.

I know on the western rivers you could tell which Federal ship you were fighting because they all had various, unique, colored bands painted around their smoke stacks.

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