CSS Florida


CSS Florida


Career
Name:
CSS Florida
CSS Selma

Area of Operation: Southern Coast
Launched: 1856
Commissioned: 1861
Renamed: Selma, July 1862
Fate: Captured at Battle of Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864

General Characteristics
Displacement: 590 tons
Length: 252 ft (77 m)
Beam: 30 ft (9.1 m)
Draft: 6 ft (1.8 m)
Propulsion: Steam engine
Speed: 9 knots (17 km/h)
Complement: 65 to 99 officers and men
Armament:
2 × 9 in (230 mm) smoothbore cannons
1 × 8 in (200 mm) smoothbore cannon
1 × 6.4 in (160 mm) rifled cannon

Armor:
0.375 in (9.5 mm) iron deck plating

CSS Selma was a steamship in the Confederate States Navy during the American Civil War.

Selma was a coastwise packet built at Mobile, Alabama for the Mobile Mail Line in 1856. Little doubt now remains that she was originally named Florida. As the latter, she was inspected and accepted by Captain Lawrence Rousseau, CSN, on April 22, 1861, acquired by the Confederacy in June, cut down and strengthened by hog frames and armed as a gunboat — all, apparently, in the Lake Pontchartrain area. Her upper deck was plated at this time with ⅜ inch iron, partially protecting her boilers, of the low pressure type preferred for fuel economy and greater safety in battle. CSS Florida is cited on November 12, 1861 as already in commission and serving Commodore G. N. Rollins’ New Orleans defense flotilla under command of Lieutenant Charles W. Hays, CSN.

The Mobile Evening News editorialized early in December on the startling change “from her former gay, first-class hotel appearance, having been relieved of her upper works and painted as black as the inside of her smokestack. She carries a jib forward and, we suppose, some steering sail aft, when requisite.”

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