CSS Britannia

CSS Britannia


Laid down: 1862 in Scotland
Fate: Captured in the Bahama Islands 25 June 1863

General Characteristics
Area of Operation: South Carolina; Bahamas
Displacement: 495 tons
Length: 189 feet (58 m)
Beam: 26 feet (7.9 m)
Draft: 9 feet (2.7 m)
Propulsion: Side-wheel steamer
Speed: 12.5 knots
Complement: 75 officers and sailors
one 30-pounder Parrott rifle
twelve 12-pounder rifles
two 24-pounder howitzers

Armor: Iron Hull

In 1862, speculators in the British Isles constructed the iron-hulled, side-wheel steamer Britannia at Leith, Scotland, to run through the Union Navy’s blockade of the Confederate coast during the American Civil War.

After three successful voyages carrying munitions and supplies to the beleaguered South, Britannia departed Charleston, South Carolina, on 21 June 1863 and headed for Nassau, New Providence, with a cargo of cotton.

About dawn on the 25th, Santiago de Cuba sighted the blockade runner some 90 miles east northeast of Eleuthera Island. Britannia attempted to escape; but, at the end of a day-long chase “against a strong wind and sea” in which the Union sidewheel steamer slowly gained on the fleeing ship, Santiago de Cuba, about 7:00 p.m., finally was close enough to open fire. Her shells fell close around their target and quickly brought Britannia to. Commander Robert H. Wyman, the captain of Santiago de Cuba, placed a prize crew under Acting Master Edgar C. Merriman on board Britannia and sent her to Boston, Massachusetts.

She was condemned by the admiralty court there and sold to the United States Navy on 29 September 1863. However, almost a fortnight before, the Navy—anticipating the completion of this transaction—had placed Britannia in commission on 16 September 1865 at the Boston Navy Yard, Acting Master Hugh H. Savage in command.

2.List of Commanders/Crew

3.Photo (just provide a link to the photo and we will get it)

4.Painting Information

5.Books/Articles and other resources

Back to Confederate Blockade Runners


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