Re: C.S.S. Virginia: Mistress of Hampton Roads - John V. Quarstein


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Posted by Mabry Tyson on August 28, 2003 at 10:01:35:

In Reply to: C.S.S. Virginia: Mistress of Hampton Roads - John V. Quarstein posted by Mabry Tyson on February 28, 2003 at 22:08:17:

Page 115: "...Dana Greene fired both Dahlgrens almost simultaneously".

I believe this can't be right in the sense that only a couple of seconds or less was between shots. It was the (mis)design of the Monitor that both guns could not be deployed at once (because of the port shutters). (Jeffers indicated this shortcoming in his July message). At best one gun would be fired, then the other gun would be run out and fired. The Monitor's shutters were cumbersome and this would have taken some time. I would guess this to be on the order of 20-30 seconds.

At this point in the battle, the Monitor was rotating its turret and firing on the fly in order not to expose the vulnerable turret openings to the Virginia's guns. It was not a trivial task to stop and restart the turret.

I suspect that in actuality, the second of the two rounds was fired after the turret had made a full rotation. The turret could rotate at 2.5 rpm maximum or 24 seconds per rotation. The turret might not have been rotating at full speed.

I wouldn't call that simultaneously.

In that same paragraph, Woods is mentioned. In his Century Magazine article, he states that after the ram fails, "Again she came up on our quarter, her bow against our side, and at this distance fired twice." I suspect this was misread to assume that the firing was simultaneous.



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