• Warships Of History
  • 2 mins

By Crusader1307

The ''Timberclad''-Class of Vessel was a Military Warship used by The Union Navy, during The American Civil War of 1861 to 1865. Like the previously discussed ''Ironclads'' made of iron plating and wood, The Timberclads were completely made of wood, but with heavily reinforced sides (Barbettes), of several feet of wood planking. The first such Timberclad design in America was dated to 1857 and displaced roughly 1,000-tons. The massive Ship was in essence a Gunboat with medium sidings that extended from the Ship Hull, forming a type of ''Super-structure''. The sidings were heavy oaken planking, overlaped (or stacked) – many feet thick (sometimes as much a 5-feet. The theory was that the wooding plating needed to absorb the force of a moderate poundage of Cannon shot (6 to 12-pounder Guns). At the start of The Civil War in America, many rivers cut through The Southern Confederacy. Low draughted, it was altogether impossible for a conventional Warship (even the smallest) to traverse. The Timberclad, as well as several other Classes designed, were seen as ideal. On average, a Timberclad-Class River Vessel ranged from 250 to 500-tons. These Ships were often heavily armed with various Cannons (in some cases even 32-pounder Columbiad and Armstrong Guns). They were used along The Mississippi River and Red River, both of which were critical to the supply line of The Western Region of The Confederacy. Timberclads were used at The Siege of Vicksburg (1862-63), as well. At their height of deployment, The Timberclad-Class was counted at (20) such vessels of reinforced wood. Several did fall prey to Confederate submerged Mines. All in all, The Timberclads fared well and served the needs of The Union Navy. After 1865, the development of Ironclad warships and the eventual all-steel Warships of the late 1890s, would find Timberclad Warships a thing of the past.