The American Civil War Naval Project the land project [clicky], this project had it's origins a long (long) time ago when I first read "Naval War Games" by Donald Featherstone and was captivated by the chapter on the battle between the  Monitor and the Merrimac in Hampton Roads...

I can honestly say that throughout my 40 odd years in the hobby I have never really been a naval war gamer (or air gamer come to that - though after reading his "Air War Games" book I did build a LOT of Revell and Airfix HO/OO WWI fighters!) but something about that particular chapter really got me interested. I suspect it is because the ships bore an uncanny resemblance to floating tanks (!), but suffice to say I modelled a couple of ships in plasticine, used them as masters for a Plaster of Paris mould, and five fishing weights later I was playing the game on a small surface with my own ships...  it was what we did back then...

Step forward thirty odd years and while I was at Colours in 2011 I happened to spot the new ships Peter Pig had bought out in support their rule set "Hammerin' Iron" - and click, a synapse shuts/opens and a sub-project was born in an instant with the purchase of Monitor and Virginia

What's not to like??!


You can read up here [clicky] on my overview of the battle..


The original rules from the Featherstone book (on re-reading) were a little basic, and then I went through a whole succession of others that were either way too complex or way too simple, and I  just happened to be reading Edinburgh Wargames Society's blog [clicky] and they had a post on a most enjoyable (and fantastic) looking game featuring one of their own members scratch built 28mm models played to the guys own rules, and I thought "aha"..  fast forward and I had a copy of said rules from the inestimable Bill Gilchrist [clicky] who is a most helpful guy and provided me with everything I needed to actually play a game..  I've used them almost exclusively to this day

“Game Reports” – what it says on the tin…
“Models” – ships currently in the project…

  • CSS Virginia [clicky for more detail/pictures] Sometimes known  (incorrectly as it happens), as the "Merrimack", like the USS Monitor, the CSS Virginia was also a "first" as she was the first steam-powered ironclad warship of the Confederate States Navy.

Miami top left, then going clockwise, Sumter, Planter and Drewery

Governor Moore top right and then going clockwise, Fuschia, Commodore Morris and Tyler..

Books – fiction and non-fiction

"Mississippi River Gunboats of the American Civil War" - a review... Contains sections on the organisation of both sides (Union clearly ahead here), the design of the ships (torpedo, ram, cotton clad, tin clad, iron clad etc.) and how the nature of the war influenced the design, the ships (ditto the Union), operations, armament (bewildering range), and lists of the major/minor ships and potted history  of where and when they fought, and what the outcomes were...  a surprising number of the ships changed sides at one point in time or the other (even after sinking's) but the majority ended up beached, burned and destroyed...

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