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Confederate States Navy (CSN) Department Seal

This is a list of ships of the Confederate States Navy (CSN), used by the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War between 1861 and 1865. Included are some types of civilian vessels, such as blockade runners, steamboats, and privateers which contributed to the war efforts by the CSN. Also included are special types of floating batteries and harbor defense craft.

CSN Warships[edit]

The Secretary of the CS Navy, Stephen Mallory, was very aggressive on a limited budget in a land-focused war, and developed a two-pronged warship strategy of building ironclad warships for coastal and national defense, and commerce raiding cruisers, supplemented with exploratory use of special weapons such as torpedo boats and torpedoes.


Based upon the successful employment of ironclad warships, particularly batteries, at the Battle of Kinburn, Britain and France decided to focus on armor plated warships, starting with coastal battery designs. Initial ocean-going ironclad cruisers, such as the French Gloire and the British HMS Warrior were only just emerging in 1859 and 1860, and were beyond the budget and timeline necessary for rapid force deployment that the CS Navy needed for immediate coastal defenses in 1861.

Therefore, the Confederate Congress voted $2 million in May 1861 to buy ironclads from overseas, and in July and August started work on construction and converting wooden ships locally. On 12 October 1861, the Manassas became the first ironclad to enter battle when she fought Union warships on the Mississippi. In February 1862, the even larger Virginia joined the Confederate Navy, having been built at Norfolk. The Confederacy built a number of ships designed as versions of the Virginia, of which several saw action. In the failed attack on Charleston on April 7, 1863 two small ironclads, Palmetto State and Chicora participated in the successful defense of the harbor. For the later attack at Mobile Bay, the Union faced the Tennessee, the Confederacy's most powerful ironclad.

Ironclad steam-powered batteries[edit]

CSS Albemarle
Ex-CSS USS Atlanta on the James River; photo by Mathew Brady
CSS Chicora
Ex-CSS USS Tennessee
Ex-USS Merrimac/CSS Virginia

The CS Navy ironclad steamer batteries were all designed for national coastal defense.

Ironclad floating batteries[edit]

CS Navy ironclad floating batteries lacked steam engines for propulsion and were towed into firing positions.

  • CSS Arctic, ironclad floating battery, scuttled: 24 December 1864[1]
  • CSS Phoenix, ironclad floating battery, destroyed: 1865
  • CSS Georgia, ironclad floating battery, scuttled: December 21, 1864

Wooden floating batteries[edit]

The Floating Battery of Charleston Harbor

CS Navy wooden floating batteries were towed into firing positions, and as in the case at Charleston Harbor, used for makeshift defense.


CS Navy cruisers were ocean-going ships designed primarily for the Confederate Navy's strategy of guerre de course. Confederate States Navy cruisers were typically lightly armed, with a couple of large guns or a pivot gun, and often very fast. The Navy planned to add ironclad cruisers to their fleet, successfully procuring one, but too late to be of benefit for the war.

Wooden Cruisers[edit]

  • CSS Alabama, screw steamer, sloop-of-war, built in Birkenhead, England by John Laird Sons and Company, sunk: June 19, 1864
  • CSS Alexandra, screw steamer, bark-rigged, built in Liverpool, England, seized before delivery: April 5, 1863
  • CSS America, racing yacht, scuttled: 1862
  • CSS Archer, schooner, captured: June 28, 1863
  • CSS Caleb Cushing, revenue cutter, burned: June 28, 1863
  • CSS Chickamauga, screw steamer, burned
  • CSS Clarence, brig, burned: June 12, 1863
  • CSS Florida, screw steamer, sloop, captured: October 7, 1864
  • CSS Georgia, screw steamer, iron, sold: June 1, 1864
  • CSS Georgiana, steamer, destroyed: After leaving port on March 20, 1863 the steamer is destroyed on March 22, 1863
  • CSS Lapwing, bark, burned: June 20, 1863
  • CSS Nashville, side-wheel steamer, brig rigged, sold and used as privateer Rattlesnake and sunk, February 28, 1862
  • CSS Rappahannock, screw steamer, sloop-of-war, turned over at war's end
  • CSS Shenandoah, screw steamer, full rigged, iron-framed, turned over to British Government
  • CSS Sumter, screw steamer, sloop, sold: December 19, 1862
  • CSS Tacony, bark, burned: June 25, 1863
  • CSS Tallahassee, twin-screw steamer, sloop, seized: April 9, 1865 by British Government
  • CSS Tuscaloosa, bark, seized: December 29, 1863
  • CSS United States, frigate, sail, harbor defense use only, scuttled

Ironclad cruisers[edit]

But the CS Navy attempts to procure ironclad cruisers from overseas were frustrated as European nations confiscated ships being built for the Confederacy. Only the Stonewall was completed and successfully delivered, and she arrived in American waters just in time for the end of the war.

  • CSS North Carolina I, seized October 1863 and commissioned as HMS Scorpion
  • CSS Mississippi II, seized October 1863 and commissioned as HMS Wivern
  • CSS Stonewall, twin-screw steamer, brig rigged, ironclad, surrendered in Cuba at end of war, returned to US, sold to Japan and renamed Kotetsu
  • CSS Cheops, sister to Stonewall, built in France and sold to Prussia, October 29, 1865, and named SMS Prinz Adalbert
  • "Ironclad Frigate No. 61", arranged by Captain James H. North, CSN, sold to Denmark, commissioned as Danmark
  • CSS Georgia screw corvette 2017 tons [1,150 tons BOM].[2] Sold to Peru after the French government stopped its sale to the Confederacy. Taken into service as BAP Unión 1864. Scuttled January 1881 to avoid capture.[3][4]
  • CSS Texas, screw corvette and sister-ship of BAP Union. Sold to Peru after the French government stopped its sale to the Confederacy. Taken into service as BAP America.
    Lost during the Arica tsunami on 13 August 1868.


"Governor Moore"
"CSS Teaser" at the right

Torpedo boats[edit]

CSN Support ships[edit]

Government blockade runners[edit]

CSS Robert E Lee

Government steamers[edit]

Government Transports[edit]



Hospital ships[edit]

Tenders and tugs[edit]

Civilian Auxiliary[edit]


  • A. C. Gunnison, privateer steam tug
  • Beauregard, privateer cutter, schooner rigged, captured: November 12, 1861
  • Dixie, privateer schooner, captured on April 15, 1862, but had itself captured the USA Schooner Mary Alice on July 25, 1861, the USA Barque Glenn on July 31st of 1861.
  • Gibralter, privateer schooner
  • Gordon, privateer, which captured the USA Brigandine William McGilvery on July 25, 1861, the USA Schooner Protector on July 28, 1861.
  • Governor A. Mouton, privateer steamer, captured: May 11, 1862
  • Isabella, privateer screw steamer
  • J. C. Calhoun, privateer side-wheel steamer, which captured the Barque Ocean Eagle on May 16, 1861, the ship Milan in May, 1861, the Schooner Etta in May, 1861, the Brigandine Panama on May 29, 1861, the Schooner Mermaid on May 24, 1861 and the Schooner John Adams on May 24, 1861, all within its first month of operation in 1861, and which was burned: 1862
  • J. M. Chapman, privateer schooner, captured: March 15, 1863
  • J. O. Nixon, privateer schooner
  • Jefferson Davis, privateer brig, ran aground: mid-August, 1861
  • 'Judah, privateer schooner, destroyed: September 14, 1861
  • Lorton, privateer schooner
  • Mariner, privateer screw steamer, which captured the USA Schooner Nathaniel Chase on July 25, 1861.
  • Music, privateer steamer
  • Petrel, privateer, goes to sea on July 1, 1861 but sunk on July 28, 1861 by the Union U.S. Navy's USS St. Lawrence (1848).
  • Sallie, privateer schooner
  • Savannah, privateer schooner, captured: June 3, 1861
  • Sealine, privateer brig
  • Theodora, privateer side-wheel steamer
  • V. H. Ivy, privateer steamer
  • York, privateer pilot boat, schooner rigged, which was burned on August 9, 1861, after capturing the USA Brigandine B.T. Martin about July 28, 1861 and the Schooner George G. Baker on August 9, 1861, on the day of its demise, and then the Union quickly recaptured the George G. Baker.

Privateer Submersible Torpedo Boats[edit]

Civilian Steamers[edit]

Civilian Transports[edit]

  • Berwick Bay, steamer, captured February 3, 1863
  • O.W. Baker, steamer, captured February 3, 1863
  • Moro, steamer, captured February 3, 1863
  • Era No. 5, shallow-draft steamer, captured: February 14, 1863

Civilian Blockade Runners[edit]

Foreign Blockade Runners[edit]

  • Denbigh side-wheel steamer, schooner rigged

CS Army[edit]

CSA cotton-clads[edit]

Ex-CSS USS General Bragg
Ex-CSS General Price
CSS Governor Moore
CSS Stonewall Jackson
USS {later CSS} Queen of the West
CSS Webb burned April 1865

Used for river defense, CS Army cottonclads were typically more lightly armored and reinforced than a regular ironclad, such as the General Sterling Price, which was converted by placing a 4-inch oak sheath with a 1-inch iron covering on her bow, and by installing double pine bulkheads filled with compressed cotton bales. Many of the cottonclads were outfitted with rams.

River Defense Fleet cotton-clads:

Other CS Army cotton-clads:

Other CSA Boats[edit]



  • Alvarado - prize bark, captured: by privateer Jefferson Davis, July 21, 1861
  • Enchantress - prize schooner, captured: by privateer Jefferson Davis July 6, 1861


  • CSS Segar
  • CSS Smith
  • CSS W. R. Miles

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Naval History and Heritage Command: Ship Histories: Confederate Ships: Arctic
  2. ^ Page 77, Clowes, William Laird, Four Modern Naval Campaigns, pub Unit Library, 1902, reprinted Cormarket Press, ISBN 0-7191-2020-9
  3. ^ More old Peruvian ships, page 1, American and French made ships
    See also Spanish Wikipedia article on BAP Union.
  4. ^ Cite error: The named reference Conways1860 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).


  • Coski, John M. Capital Navy: The Men, Ships and Operations of the James River Squadron, Campbell, CA: Savas Woodbury Publishers, 1996, ISBN 1-882810-03-1
  • Gardiner Steam, Steel and Shellfire
  • Lambert A., Iron Hulls and Armour Plate
  • Scharf, J. Thomas. History of the Confederate States Navy: From its Organization to the Surrender of its Last Vessel. New York: Rogers and Sherwood, 1887; repr. The Fairfax Press, 1977.

External links[edit]


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