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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

CSS David


Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal


Steam Torpedo Boat:
  • Built as a private venture by T. Stoney at Charleston, S.C., in 1863
  • Placed under the control of the Confederate States Navy, LT W. T. Glassell, CSN, in command
  • Designed to operate very low in the water, CSS David resembled a submarine, but was a surface vessel
  • Attacked USS New Ironsides, 5 October 1863, in Charleston harbor, detonating her torpedo under New Ironsides starboard quarter damaging the ship seriously
  • With boiler fires extinguished by the explosion David was dead in the water and in danger of sinking, all the crew abandoned ship with the exception of the Pilot, W. Cannon. Asst. Engineer J. H. Tomb swam back to David and relit boilers allowing her to escape to safety
  • On 6 March 1864, David unsuccessfully attacked USS Memphis in the North Edisto River, S.C. causing no damage
  • David's last confirmed action came, 18 April 1864, when she tried unsuccessfully to sink USS Wabash
  • The ultimate fate of David is uncertain. Several torpedo boats of this type fell into Union hands when Charleston was captured in February 1865. David may well have been among them.
  • The term "David" came to be the generic term for any torpedo boat resembling CSS David who was the prototype of others built in Charleston. The names, if any, that were given to these other boats are not known. Their existence caused some concern among Union naval officers but they were never a serious threat to the blockade. The exact number of "David's" built is not known.
    Specifications:
    Displacement unknown
    Length 50'
    Beam 6'
    Draft 5'
    Speed unknown
    Complement 4
    Armament
    one 60 to 70 lb.spar torpedo
    Propulsion steam

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    Size Image Description Contributed
    By
    David
    NH 54432
    123k Two images of the torpedo boat CSS David under repair at Charleston, S.C., 25 October3 1863. New plates are being placed in position where she had been struck with shells.
    Painting by Conrad Wise Chapman (1842-1910). Image painted 1 January 1864.
    US Navy History and Heritage Command photo # NH 54432.
    Robert Hurst
    David 218k
    David 115k A Confederate "David"-type Torpedo Boat abandoned at Charleston, S. C., after the city's capture by Federal forces in 1865
    US Navy History and Heritage Command photo # 165-C-752.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    David 100k A Confederate "David"-type Torpedo Boat abandoned at Charleston, S. C., after the city's capture by Federal forces in 1865. Note spar torpedo gear at the boat's bow (to the left) and damage to her hull side, amidships.
    US Navy History and Heritage Command photo # 165-C-752.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    David 65k A Confederate "David"-type Torpedo Boat at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD., during the later 1860s. Old Fort Severn is in the center background, with the Naval Academy gas house behind it. The Midshipmen's wash house is on the pier at right. The larger buildings in the right distance are the extremity of the wing known as "Old Quarters". Cannon on the extreme right are part of a gun park. Courtesy of Mr. Elmer Jackson, "Capital Gazette Press", Annapolis, Md.
    US Navy History and Heritage Command photo # NH 55617.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    David 37k Pen and ink drawing of a Confederate "David"-type Torpedo Boat internal arrangement. Courtesy of Dr. William J. Morgan.
    US Navy History and Heritage Command photo # NH 59420.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    David 40k Pen and ink drawing, prepared during the 1960s of a Confederate "David"-type Torpedo Boat outboard profile showing her spar torpedo deployed.
    US Navy History and Heritage Command photo # NH 59422.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    David 52k Pen and ink drawing of the weapon's side and front aspects of a spar torpedo warhead, as used on Confederate "David"-type torpedo boats.
    US Navy History and Heritage Command photo # NH 59421.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    David 165k The wreck of the torpedo boat CSS David at Charleston, S.C. Note picnickers in front of the wreck. Photographer unknown. "The Photographic History of The Civil War in Ten Volumes: Volume Six, The Navies". The Review of Reviews Co., New York. 1911. p. 267. Robert Hurst
    David 105k In 1864-65, an enlarged version of the torpedo boat CSS David was constructed at Charleston, S. C. About 160-feet long, some three times longer than David and the other torpedo boats of her type, this steamship was intended for use as a blockade runner, with a reported capacity of 250-300 cotton bales. She was captured incomplete when Charleston fell to Federal forces in February 1865 and was later taken to Washington, D.C., where she was photographed while tied up with several monitors during 1865-66.
    US Navy History and Heritage Command photo # 165-C-750.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Resaca 92k Washington Navy Yard, District of Columbia.
    View on board ships moored off the yard's western waterfront in 1865-66. Ships in the immediate foreground are monitors. The odd "cigar-shaped" steamer tied up to them appears to be the former Confederate "enlarged" CSS David built at Charleston, South Carolina, late in the Civil War. The Navy Yard's western shiphouse is visible in the right background, with USS Resaca fitting out at pierside. Photo mounted on a stereograph card.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 86237. Courtesy of the Steamship Historical Society of America, 1952. Collection of Rosmar S. Devereaux.
    Robert Hurst

    CSS David
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 2 September 2016