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CSS Rappahannock
CSS Rappahannock
Career (United Kingdom)
Name: HMS Victor
Ordered: 15 May 1855[1]
Builder: Money Wigram & Son, Blackwall
Cost: £45,450[1]
Laid down: 24 May 1855[1]
Launched: 2 November 1855[1]
Commissioned: 1 April 1856
Fate: Sold to R Gordon Coleman as Scylla in November 1863 and resold later the same month to the Confederacy
Name: CSS Rappahannock
Commissioned: November 1864
Decommissioned: April 1865
Fate: Turned over to United States
General characteristics
Class & type: Intrepid-class gunvessel
Displacement: 868 49/94 bm[1]
Length: 200 ft (61 m) pp[1]
Beam: 30 ft 4 in (9.25 m)[1]
Depth of hold: 14 ft 6 in (4.42 m)[1]
Installed power: 1,166 ihp (869 kW)[1]
  • 2-cylinder horizontal single-expansion steam engine[1]
  • Single screw
Sail plan: Barque
Speed: 11.6 knots (21.5 km/h)[1]
Complement: 100

As built (HMS Victor):

  • 1 × 68-pounder muzzle-loading rifle
  • 4 × 32-pounder (25cwt) muzzle-loading smoothbore guns


CSS Rappahannock, a steam sloop-of-war, was built on the River Thames in 1855 as an Intrepid-class gunvessel for the Royal Navy and named HMS Victor. Although a handsomely modeled vessel, numerous defects occasioned her sale in 1863. An agent of the Confederate States Government purchased her ostensibly for the China trade, but British authorities suspected she was destined to be a Confederate commerce raider and ordered her detention. Nevertheless, she succeeded in escaping from Sheerness, England, on November 24, with workmen still on board and only a token crew. Her Confederate Naval officers joined in the English Channel.

When he bought her from the Admiralty through his secret agent on November 14, Commander Matthew F. Maury had intended Rappahannock to replace the cruiser CSS Georgia and was about to transfer Georgia's guns to her. She was ideal for a cruiser — wooden-hulled and bark-rigged with two engines and a lifting screw propeller.

She was commissioned a Confederate man-of-war underway, but while passing out of the Thames Estuary her bearings burned out and she had to be taken across to Calais for repairs. There Lieutenant C. M. Fauntleroy, CSN, was placed in command. Detained on various pretexts by the French Government, Rappahannock never got to sea and was turned over to the United States at the close of the war.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Winfield, Rif; Lyon, David (2004). The Sail and Steam Navy List: All the Ships of the Royal Navy 1815–1889. London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-032-6. OCLC 52620555.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "RW" defined multiple times with different content

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

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