By Rob Morgan
In Tony Gibbons’ excellent “Warships and Naval Battles of the American Civil War,” there’s a small illustration, an “artist’s impression,” on page 61. The ship is CSS Wilmington, a Porter-designed, double-casemate ironclad which, if the impression is anything like authentic, bore some resemblance to the ill-fated USS Keokuk.
Gibbons gives dimensions for the vessel – 224’ long by 42½’ and with 9½’ draught. She was intended to carry just two guns. Sadly I’ve not been able to discover any more about the warship, which was destroyed on the stocks when the Yankees took the city. Gibbons says she would have been armed with two guns, one in each casemate. But if the hull shape was known, and whether the casemates were spherical or elongated (the illustration suggests they were a little more oval than rounded), then that would, I think, be enough to scratch-build one.
Can anyone help with the information? Of course, I do realize that having posed this question, someone is going to turn around and say, “Ah! Now the good ole Dixie Model Co. Inc. of New Orleans actually make one in 1/1200th scale.” Which would be nice to know.