I really thought this would a straightforward job to do but I can tell you, it has given me pause for thought! The C.S.S. Georgia was a casemate ironclad built in Savannah but fitted with engines that were barely sufficient for the vessel to make two knots against the planned eight. This meant that she was deemed to be incapable of offensive action - the currents around Savannah are apparently quite brisk - so instead she was used a floating battery. That was her career until she was scuttled to avoid falling in to the hands of the advancing Union army under Sherman in 1864. She was built after having been funded by the marvellously named Savannah Ladies Gunboat Association to the tune of some US$ 115,000.00.
What remains of the wreck is currently being salvaged but aside from a number of period lithographs what she actually looked like remains a mystery. What we know for definite is that she was designed to what became the easy template for an ironclad given the Confederate shortage of properly skilled labour die to wartime shortages. This hull template was similar to that of the C.S.S. Louisiana. What we also know is that the ship was designed so that at speed the fore and aft deck would in fact be submerged - which was also the plan for the C.S.S. Virginia. At a speed of two knots I really could not see this happening somehow!
I have seen a number of illustration of her which show her with fore or aft decking - just the casemate - but whilst I could understand this from the point of view of a static floating battery surely what was designed as a casemate ironclad ram (although how that would work at two knots is anyone’s guess!) would have some hull form or another?
I have checked a variety of sources and reckon that what I have settled on is probably as good a guess as anybodies. However, to cover both options I have made two models to represent her - one with a ‘proper’ hull and one that is in effect an armoured box. I have also made the two models different sizes so that the floating battery option looks more imposing than the fully formed hull version. This is merely to make it stand out more.
Floating battery at the top and mobile floating battery at the bottom!
The basic models are pretty much done although I need to add the gun ports and hatch covers. In my set up I am allowing the C.S.S. Georgia to be able to move, albeit very slowly, meaning she will be at the mercy of the tide and current.
Originally I did not want to model specific ships for the project but this particular vessel piqued my curiosity and so adding her to the Confederate strength as ‘low speed or static floating battery’ would certainly have a degree of historical accuracy. The Confederates suffered from a shortage of suitable power plants and this was also the Achilles heel of the Louisiana and Mississippi - both of which were much larger than the C.S.S. Georgia. The hull shape also has a degree of historical accuracy as it was felt that it would be easier for un or semi-skilled labourers to construct.
As a ship she will certainly look the part but sadly the reality will be a little different as whilst she can fight she certainly cannot flee!