Campbell, Peter B.
The Development of Confederate Ship Construction: An Archaeological and Historical Investigation of Confederate Ironclads Neuse and Jackson
(Under the direction of Dr. Lawrence Babits) Department of History, December 2009
Southern shipbuilding in 1861 was comparable to construction throughout the United States. Confederate ships early in the war show continuity of these traditions, but beginning in 1862, wartime stimuli created a distinct Confederate shipbuilding style. This thesis examines changes in the Confederacy's conceptual approach to construction by tracing pre-war shipbuilding traditions and popular trends in naval architecture. As a consequence of shipbuilders' conservative nature, ships' structural systems and assembly order change gradually, allowing traditions to be traced. A decentralized shipbuilding program led to high levels of variability between Confederate ships, even among vessels of the same class. Local shipbuilders used vernacular methods to expedite construction. Historical and archaeological examination of the CSS Neuse and Jackson, two diamond hull ironclads today housed in museums, identified the progression of Confederate shipbuilding and the non-traditional features in their construction.