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The Late Confederate War-Steamer Tallahassee

The Illustrated London News, vol. 46, no. 1312, p. 411.

April 29, 1865


In our Journal of the 2nd of April, last year, was an Illustration of the race across the British Channel, from Dover to Calais, between one of the paddle-wheel steamers of that line and the Atalanta, a new steamer designed by Captain T. E. Symonds, R.N., on the twin-screw-propeller system, and built by Messrs. J. and W. Dudgeon, of Cubitt Town, Millwall, for the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway Company. The Atalanta, which easily got over the distance in seventy-seven minutes, leaving her competitor far behind, is the same vessel that was afterwards purchased by the Government of the Confederate States of America, and named the Tallahassee, from a place in Florida. Her extraordinary swiftness and her power of rapid evolution--being able, by reversing one screw, to turn quite round her own centre in a space little more than her own length--have made her a most efficient instrument of maritime warfare. In the autumn of last year she perpetrated a vast amount of damage to the commerce of the Northern States--hovering sometimes for weeks near the entrance of the harbours of New York and Philadelphia, thereby capturing, plundering, and burning a great number of American vessels, and even the pilot-boats of New York, while it was utterly hopeless for any of the Federal ships of war to attempt to catch her. This career of not inglorious mischief came to an end some two or three months ago, and the Tallahassee has been disarmed and disposed of once more to private owners. She was lately brought to Liverpool, and is now being refitted, under the name of the Amelia, for ordinary commercial purposes. We give an Illustration of the present appearance of this celebrated vessel. She is built of iron, 200 ft. in length, 24 ft. in breadth, and 14 ft. in depth, with a burden of 500 tons. There are two engines, independent of each other, and each of 100-horse power, making from 100 to 120 revolutions a minute. She is an admirable sea-boat, never rolling, and keeping entirely dry. The superior advantages of the twin-screw principle, which have been repeatedly proved by such examples as this, are clearly explained in a scientific essay read by Captain Symonds at the Institution of Naval Architects last year, and which has been lately published.

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