The Fight For Tennessee: July 1863 to January 1864

Gettysburg Address

What were the Laird Rams?

In 1862, the Confederacy entered agreements with British contractors to furnish two ironclad vessels equipped with steel spikes so strong that they would sink practically any wooden-hulled vessel. Built in the Laird shipyards at Liverpool, these rams had the capacity, or potential, to alter the course of the war at sea. Minister Adams held off as long as he could, but in September 1863 he bluntly informed the British foreign secretary that “this means war.” Adams did not know it, but the British ministry had already decided—just two days earlier—to prevent the Laird Rams from being delivered to Confederate agents.


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