The American Civil War At Sea Wiki


CSS Richmond leads the attack at Trent's Reach.

Built: Norfolk, Virginia

Commissioned: July, 1862

Service: 1862-1865, James River Squadron

Home Port: Richmond, Virginia

Dimensions: 172' 6" Length, 32' Beam, 12' Draft

Armor: 4" iron with wood backing

Armament: 4 x 7" Brooke Rifles

Engines: Single Screw

Speed: 6 Knots.

Crew: 180

Fate: Burned to prevent capture, 1865.


Richmond was the first in the series of casemate ironclads built to similar specifications laid down by David Porter. During her service, she was flagship of the James River Squadron, charged principally with defense of the Confederate capital for which she was named, during which time she served in a number of small engagements.

The most significant action for CSS Richmond was the Battle of Trent's Reach from January 23rd-24th, 1865, where she lead the James River Squadron in a desperate attack on the Union positions, protected principally by the formidable double turreted ironclad, USS Onondaga . During the engagement, she ran aground and was stuck helplessly until finally freed late in the battle. After the engagement, Richmond remained within cover of the city's defenses until the decision was taken to abandon the capital, at which point she was burned to prevent falling into Union hands in early April, 1865.