Another great blog about American History by Virginiaplantation of the Belle Grove Plantation. (The birthplace of James Madison)
During the Civil War, one of the biggest threats for plantations along the Rappahannock River was the Union Gunboats that patrolled the waterway.
According to Wikipedia:
“A gunboat was usually a small undecked vessel caring single smoothbore cannon in the bow, or just two or three such cannons. A gunboat could carry one or two masts or be oar-powered only, but the single-masted version of about 15m (49ft) length was most typical. Some types of gunboats carried tow cannons, or else mounted a number of swivel guns on the railings.
The advantage of this type of gunboat were that since it only carried a single cannon, that cannon could be quite heavy- for instance, a 32-pounder- and that the boat could be maneuvered in shallow or restricted waters, where sailing was difficult for larger ships. A single hit from a frigate would demolish a gunboat, but a frigate facing six…
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