Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America referred to as the Confederacy, was an unrecognized country in North America that existed from 1861 to 1865. The Confederacy was formed by seven secessionist slave-holding states—South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Texas—in the Lower South region of the United States, whose economy was dependent upon agriculture cotton, a plantation system that relied upon the labor of African-American slaves; each state declared its secession from the United States, which became known as the Union during the ensuing civil war, following the November 1860 election of Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln to the U. S. presidency on a platform which opposed the expansion of slavery into the western territories. Before Lincoln took office in March, a new Confederate government was established in February 1861, considered illegal by the government of the United States. States volunteered militia units and the new government hastened to form its own Confederate States Army from scratch overnight.
After the American Civil War began in April, four slave states of the Upper South—Virginia, Arkansas and North Carolina—also declared their secession and joined the Confederacy. The Confederacy accepted Missouri and Kentucky as members, although neither declared secession nor were they largely controlled by Confederate forces; the government of the United States rejected the claims of secession and considered the Confederacy illegally founded. The War began with the Confederate attack upon Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, a Union fort in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. No foreign government recognized the Confederacy as an independent country, although Great Britain and France granted it belligerent status, which allowed Confederate agents to contract with private concerns for arms and other supplies. In early 1865, after four years of heavy fighting which led to 620,000–850,000 military deaths, all the Confederate forces surrendered and the Confederacy vanished; the war lacked a formal end.
By 1865 Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States of America for the duration of the civil war, lamented that the Confederacy had "disappeared". On February 22, 1862, the Confederate Constitution of seven state signatories – Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia and Texas – replaced the Provisional Constitution of February 8, 1861, with one stating in its preamble a desire for a "permanent federal government". Four additional slave-holding states – Virginia, Arkansas and North Carolina – declared their secession and joined the Confederacy following a call by U. S. President Abraham Lincoln for troops from each state to recapture Sumter and other seized federal properties in the South. Missouri and Kentucky were represented by partisan factions adopting the forms of state governments without control of substantial territory or population in either case; the antebellum state governments in both maintained their representation in the Union. Fighting for the Confederacy were two of the "Five Civilized Tribes" – the Choctaw and the Chickasaw – in Indian Territory and a new, but uncontrolled, Confederate Territory of Arizona.
Efforts by certain factions in Maryland to secede were halted by federal imposition of martial law. A Unionist government was formed in opposition to the secessionist state government in Richmond and administered the western parts of Virginia, occupied by Federal troops; the Restored Government recognized the new state of West Virginia, admitted to the Union during the war on June 20, 1863, re-located to Alexandria for the rest of the war. Confederate control over its claimed territory and population in congressional districts shrank from 73% to 34% during the course of the American Civil War due to the Union's successful overland campaigns, its control of the inland waterways into the South, its blockade of the southern coast. With the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, the Union made abolition of slavery a war goal; as Union forces moved southward, large numbers of plantation slaves were freed. Many joined the Union lines, enrolling in service as soldiers and laborers; the most notable advance was Sherman's "March to the Sea" in late 1864.
Much of the Confederacy's infrastructure was destroyed, including telegraphs and bridges. Plantations in the path of Sherman's forces were damaged. Internal movement became difficult for Southerners, weakening the economy and limiting army mobility; these losses created an insurmountable disadvantage in men and finance. Public support for Confederate President Jefferson Davis's administration eroded over time due to repeated military reverses, economic hardships, allegations of autocratic government. After four years of campaigning, Richmond was captured by Union forces in April 1865. A few days General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant signalling the collapse of the Confederacy. President Davis was captured on May 10, 1865, jailed in preparation for a treason trial, never held; the initial Confederacy was established in the Montgomery Convention in February 1861 by seven states (South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana
The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river of the second-largest drainage system on the North American continent, second only to the Hudson Bay drainage system. Its source is Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and it flows south for 2,320 miles to the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains all or parts of 32 U. S. two Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. The main stem is within the United States; the Mississippi ranks as the fifteenth-largest river by discharge in the world. The river either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana. Native Americans have lived along its tributaries for thousands of years. Most were hunter-gatherers, but some, such as the Mound Builders, formed prolific agricultural societies; the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century changed the native way of life as first explorers settlers, ventured into the basin in increasing numbers.
The river served first as a barrier, forming borders for New Spain, New France, the early United States, as a vital transportation artery and communications link. In the 19th century, during the height of the ideology of manifest destiny, the Mississippi and several western tributaries, most notably the Missouri, formed pathways for the western expansion of the United States. Formed from thick layers of the river's silt deposits, the Mississippi embayment is one of the most fertile regions of the United States. During the American Civil War, the Mississippi's capture by Union forces marked a turning point towards victory, due to the river's strategic importance to the Confederate war effort; because of substantial growth of cities and the larger ships and barges that replaced steamboats, the first decades of the 20th century saw the construction of massive engineering works such as levees and dams built in combination. A major focus of this work has been to prevent the lower Mississippi from shifting into the channel of the Atchafalaya River and bypassing New Orleans.
Since the 20th century, the Mississippi River has experienced major pollution and environmental problems – most notably elevated nutrient and chemical levels from agricultural runoff, the primary contributor to the Gulf of Mexico dead zone. The word Mississippi itself comes from Misi zipi, the French rendering of the Anishinaabe name for the river, Misi-ziibi. In the 18th century, the river was the primary western boundary of the young United States, since the country's expansion westward, the Mississippi River has been considered a convenient if approximate dividing line between the Eastern and Midwestern United States, the Western United States; this is exemplified by the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and the phrase "Trans-Mississippi" as used in the name of the Trans-Mississippi Exposition, it is common to qualify a regionally superlative landmark in relation to it, such as "the highest peak east of the Mississippi" or "the oldest city west of the Mississippi". The FCC uses it as the dividing line for broadcast call-signs, which begin with W to the east and K to the west, mixing together in media markets along the river.
The Mississippi River can be divided into three sections: the Upper Mississippi, the river from its headwaters to the confluence with the Missouri River. The Upper Mississippi runs from its headwaters to its confluence with the Missouri River at St. Louis, Missouri, it is divided into two sections: The headwaters, 493 miles from the source to Saint Anthony Falls in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The source of the Upper Mississippi branch is traditionally accepted as Lake Itasca, 1,475 feet above sea level in Itasca State Park in Clearwater County, Minnesota; the name "Itasca" was chosen to designate the "true head" of the Mississippi River as a combination of the last four letters of the Latin word for truth and the first two letters of the Latin word for head. However, the lake is in turn fed by a number of smaller streams. From its origin at Lake Itasca to St. Louis, the waterway's flow is moderated by 43 dams. Fourteen of these dams are located above Minneapolis in the headwaters region and serve multiple purposes, including power generation and recreation.
The remaining 29 dams, beginning in downtown Minneapolis, all contain locks and were constructed to improve commercial navigation of the upper river. Taken as a whole, these 43 dams shape the geography and influence the ecology of the upper river. Beginning just below Saint Paul and continuing throughout the upper and lower river, the Mississippi is further controlled by thousands of wing dikes that moderate the river's flow in order to maintain an open navigation channel and prevent the river from eroding its banks; the head of navigation on the Mississippi is the Coon Rapids Dam in Minnesota. Before it was built in 1913, steamboats could go upstream as far as Saint Cloud, depending on river conditions; the uppermost lock and dam on the Upper Mississippi River is the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock an
The public domain consists of all the creative works to which no exclusive intellectual property rights apply. Those rights may have been forfeited, expressly waived, or may be inapplicable; the works of William Shakespeare and Beethoven, most early silent films, are in the public domain either by virtue of their having been created before copyright existed, or by their copyright term having expired. Some works are not covered by copyright, are therefore in the public domain—among them the formulae of Newtonian physics, cooking recipes, all computer software created prior to 1974. Other works are dedicated by their authors to the public domain; the term public domain is not applied to situations where the creator of a work retains residual rights, in which case use of the work is referred to as "under license" or "with permission". As rights vary by country and jurisdiction, a work may be subject to rights in one country and be in the public domain in another; some rights depend on registrations on a country-by-country basis, the absence of registration in a particular country, if required, gives rise to public-domain status for a work in that country.
The term public domain may be interchangeably used with other imprecise or undefined terms such as the "public sphere" or "commons", including concepts such as the "commons of the mind", the "intellectual commons", the "information commons". Although the term "domain" did not come into use until the mid-18th century, the concept "can be traced back to the ancient Roman Law, as a preset system included in the property right system." The Romans had a large proprietary rights system where they defined "many things that cannot be owned" as res nullius, res communes, res publicae and res universitatis. The term res nullius was defined as things not yet appropriated; the term res communes was defined as "things that could be enjoyed by mankind, such as air and ocean." The term res publicae referred to things that were shared by all citizens, the term res universitatis meant things that were owned by the municipalities of Rome. When looking at it from a historical perspective, one could say the construction of the idea of "public domain" sprouted from the concepts of res communes, res publicae, res universitatis in early Roman law.
When the first early copyright law was first established in Britain with the Statute of Anne in 1710, public domain did not appear. However, similar concepts were developed by French jurists in the 18th century. Instead of "public domain", they used terms such as publici juris or propriété publique to describe works that were not covered by copyright law; the phrase "fall in the public domain" can be traced to mid-19th century France to describe the end of copyright term. The French poet Alfred de Vigny equated the expiration of copyright with a work falling "into the sink hole of public domain" and if the public domain receives any attention from intellectual property lawyers it is still treated as little more than that, left when intellectual property rights, such as copyright and trademarks, expire or are abandoned. In this historical context Paul Torremans describes copyright as a, "little coral reef of private right jutting up from the ocean of the public domain." Copyright law differs by country, the American legal scholar Pamela Samuelson has described the public domain as being "different sizes at different times in different countries".
Definitions of the boundaries of the public domain in relation to copyright, or intellectual property more regard the public domain as a negative space. According to James Boyle this definition underlines common usage of the term public domain and equates the public domain to public property and works in copyright to private property. However, the usage of the term public domain can be more granular, including for example uses of works in copyright permitted by copyright exceptions; such a definition regards work in copyright as private property subject to fair-use rights and limitation on ownership. A conceptual definition comes from Lange, who focused on what the public domain should be: "it should be a place of sanctuary for individual creative expression, a sanctuary conferring affirmative protection against the forces of private appropriation that threatened such expression". Patterson and Lindberg described the public domain not as a "territory", but rather as a concept: "here are certain materials – the air we breathe, rain, life, thoughts, ideas, numbers – not subject to private ownership.
The materials that compose our cultural heritage must be free for all living to use no less than matter necessary for biological survival." The term public domain may be interchangeably used with other imprecise or undefined terms such as the "public sphere" or "commons", including concepts such as the "commons of the mind", the "intellectual commons", the "information commons". A public-domain book is a book with no copyright, a book, created without a license, or a book where its copyrights expired or have been forfeited. In most countries the term of protection of copyright lasts until January first, 70 years after the death of the latest living author; the longest copyright term is in Mexico, which has life plus 100 years for all deaths since July 1928. A notable exception is the United States, where every book and tale published prior to 1924 is in the public domain.
Naval History and Heritage Command
The Naval History and Heritage Command the Naval Historical Center, is an Echelon II command responsible for the preservation and dissemination of U. S. naval history and heritage located at the historic Washington Navy Yard. The NHHC is composed of 42 facilities in 13 geographic locations including the Navy Department Library, 10 museums and 1 heritage center, USS Constitution repair facility and detachment, historic ship ex-USS Nautilus; the Naval History and Heritage Command traces its lineage to 1800, when President John Adams requested Benjamin Stoddert, the first Secretary of the Navy, prepare a catalog of professional books for use in the Secretary's office. When the British invaded Washington in 1814 this collection, containing the finest works on naval history from America and abroad, was rushed to safety outside the Federal City. Thereafter the library had many locations, including a specially designed space in the State and Navy Building next to the White House; when the library was placed under the Bureau of Navigation in 1882, the director, noted international lawyer and U.
S. Naval Academy professor James R. Soley, gathered the rare books scattered throughout Navy Department offices, collected naval prints and photographs, subscribed to professional periodicals, he began to collect and preserve naval records those of the American Civil War. Congress recognized his efforts by authorizing funds for office staff and combining the library and records sections into the Office of Library and Naval War Records. Six years the United States Congress appropriated the funds to print the first volume in a monumental documentary series, Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. Completed in 1927 with the publication of volume 31, the series marked the beginning of a commitment to collect and publish historical naval documents, a mission that the History Command continues to carry out in its American Revolution and War of 1812 documentary projects. In 1915 the appropriations for publications, the library, naval war records were combined and the office received a new title—Office of Naval Records and Library.
Once America entered World War I, emphasis shifted to gathering documents on current naval operations. Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels directed Admiral William S. Sims, Commander U. S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to collect war diaries, operational reports, other historic war materials of naval commands in his London headquarters. To handle World War I records in Washington, a Historical Section was established in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and housed in the new Navy Department Building on Constitution Avenue; when the war ended, Admiral Sims' London collection, as well as photographs and new motion pictures from the various Navy bureaus, were transferred to the Historical Section. The library, by now holding more than 50,000 volumes, remained in the State and Navy Building. In 1921, a former member of Admiral Sims' wartime staff, Captain Dudley W. Knox, was named head of the Office of Naval Records and Library and the Historical Section. For the next twenty-five years he was the driving force behind the Navy's historical program, earning for the office an international reputation in the field of naval archives and history.
The Historical Section was absorbed into Naval Records and Library in 1927. Knox's additional appointment as the Curator for the Navy envisioned a display of the nation's sea heritage in a naval museum in Washington. In 1961, Admiral Arleigh Burke, Chief of Naval Operations, established the U. S. Naval Historical Display Center. At President Franklin D. Roosevelt's suggestion, Knox began several documentary series. Seven volumes pertaining to the Quasi War with France and seven volumes relating to the war with the Barbary Powers were published. World War II halted plans for similar publications on the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican–American War, World War I. During World War II, Knox turned his attention to collecting documents generated by naval operations in the global conflict, he began a campaign to gather and arrange operation plans, action reports, war diaries into a well-controlled archives staffed by professional historians who came on board as naval reservists. To complement the developing World War II operational archives, the Knox group pioneered an oral history program whereby participants in the significant Atlantic and Pacific operations and battles were interviewed as soon as possible after their wartime engagements.
When Pulitzer Prize winner and Harvard history professor Samuel Eliot Morison was commissioned by President Roosevelt to prepare the fifteen-volume History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, he relied not only on his own combat experience, but on those records assembled in Knox's archives. In 1944, Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal established the Office of Naval History to coordinate the Morison project, as well as the wartime administrative histories being written by Navy commands, under the direction of Princeton professor Robert G. Albion. Knox served as Deputy Director of Naval History under the Director, Admiral Edward C. Kalbfus, but the Office of Naval Records and Library at first remained separate until March 1949 when it merged with the Office of Naval History to form the Naval Records and History Division of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. In 1952 it was renamed the Naval History Division; the eventual home for the Navy's historians was the Washington Navy Yard in Southeast Washington, which in 1961 was converted from an industrial facility to an administ
USS Carondelet (1861)
USS Carondelet was a City-class ironclad gunboat constructed for the War Department by James B. Eads during the American Civil War, it was named for the town where it was built, Missouri. Carondelet was designed for service on the western rivers, with a combination of shallow draft and variety of heavy guns, she was suited for riverside bombardment and ship-to-ship combat against Confederate gunboats. USS Carondelet, an ironclad river gunboat, was built in 1861 by James Co.. St. Louis, Missouri, at the Union Iron Works, in Carondelet, Missouri under contract to the United States Department of War. Carondelet was commissioned 15 January 1862, at Cairo, Illinois, U. S. Navy Commander Henry A. Walke in command, reported to Army's Western Gunboat Flotilla, commanded by U. S. Navy Flag Officer Andrew Hull Foote. Between January and October 1862, Carondelet operated constantly on river patrol and in the capture of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson in February. Transferred to Navy control with the other ships of her flotilla on 1 October 1862, Carondelet continued the rapid pace of her operations, taking part in the unsuccessful Steele's Bayou Expedition in March 1863.
One of those to pass the Vicksburg and Warrenton, Mississippi batteries in April 1863, Carondelet took part on 29 April in the five-and-a-half hour engagement with the batteries at Grand Gulf. She remained on duty off Vicksburg. Without her and her sisters and other naval forces, the great operations on the rivers would not have been possible and the Federal victory might not have been won. From 7 March to 15 May 1864, she sailed with the Red River Expedition, during operations in support of Union Army movements ashore, took part in the Bell's Mill engagement of December 1864. For the remainder of the war, Carondelet patrolled in the Cumberland River. Carondelet had several commanding officers over the duration of her service. During the Civil War four of Carondelet's crew members were awarded the Medal of Honor: Signal Quartermaster Matthew Arther for actions at the Battles of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, February 1862, she was decommissioned at Mound City, Illinois, on 20 June 1865, sold there on 29 November 1865.
In 1873, shortly before she was to be scrapped, a flood swept Carondelet from her moorings in Gallipolis, Ohio. She drifted 130 miles down the Ohio River, where she grounded near Manchester, Ohio, her ultimate fate remained unknown until a May 1982 search operation by Clive Cussler's National Underwater and Marine Agency pinpointed the location of the wreckage, just two days after a dredge passed directly over the wreckage, demolishing most of the wrecked vessel. Like many of the Mississippi theatre ironclads, USS Carondelet had its armament changed multiple times over life of the vessel. To expedite the entrance of Carondelet into service and the other City-class gunboats were fitted with whatever weapons were available. Though the 8 in Dahlgren smoothbore cannons were modern most of the other original armaments were antiquated; these 42-pounder weapons were of particular concern to military commanders because they were structurally weaker and more prone to exploding than purpose-built rifled cannons.
Additionally, the close confines of riverine combat increased the threat of boarding parties. The 12-pounder howitzer was not used in regular combat. Bibliography of early U. S. naval history American Civil War Union Navy Anaconda Plan Mississippi Squadron United States Navy List of United States Navy ships This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here. Coombe, Thunder Along the Mississippi: The River Battles That Split The Confederacy Cussler and Craig Dirgo, The Sea Hunters Smith, Myron J.. The USS Carondelet: A Civil War Ironclad on Western Waters. McFarland. Smith, Myron J. Tinclads in the Civil War: Union light-Draught Gunboat Operations on Western Waters, 1862-1865 Pictures of USS Carondelet Bombardment of Fort Henry Building the City Class Ironclads Documentary
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U. S. allies or partner nations. With the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches, it has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force. The U. S. Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, established during the American Revolutionary War and was disbanded as a separate entity shortly thereafter.
The U. S. Navy played a major role in the American Civil War by blockading the Confederacy and seizing control of its rivers, it played the central role in the World War II defeat of Imperial Japan. The US Navy emerged from World War II as the most powerful navy in the world; the 21st century U. S. Navy maintains a sizable global presence, deploying in strength in such areas as the Western Pacific, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, it is a blue-water navy with the ability to project force onto the littoral regions of the world, engage in forward deployments during peacetime and respond to regional crises, making it a frequent actor in U. S. foreign and military policy. The Navy is administratively managed by the Department of the Navy, headed by the civilian Secretary of the Navy; the Department of the Navy is itself a division of the Department of Defense, headed by the Secretary of Defense. The Chief of Naval Operations is the most senior naval officer serving in the Department of the Navy.
The mission of the Navy is to maintain and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas. The U. S. Navy is a seaborne branch of the military of the United States; the Navy's three primary areas of responsibility: The preparation of naval forces necessary for the effective prosecution of war. The maintenance of naval aviation, including land-based naval aviation, air transport essential for naval operations, all air weapons and air techniques involved in the operations and activities of the Navy; the development of aircraft, tactics, technique and equipment of naval combat and service elements. U. S. Navy training manuals state that the mission of the U. S. Armed Forces is "to be prepared to conduct prompt and sustained combat operations in support of the national interest." As part of that establishment, the U. S. Navy's functions comprise sea control, power projection and nuclear deterrence, in addition to "sealift" duties, it follows as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, with it, everything honorable and glorious.
Naval power... is the natural defense of the United States The Navy was rooted in the colonial seafaring tradition, which produced a large community of sailors and shipbuilders. In the early stages of the American Revolutionary War, Massachusetts had its own Massachusetts Naval Militia; the rationale for establishing a national navy was debated in the Second Continental Congress. Supporters argued that a navy would protect shipping, defend the coast, make it easier to seek out support from foreign countries. Detractors countered that challenging the British Royal Navy the world's preeminent naval power, was a foolish undertaking. Commander in Chief George Washington resolved the debate when he commissioned the ocean-going schooner USS Hannah to interdict British merchant ships and reported the captures to the Congress. On 13 October 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the purchase of two vessels to be armed for a cruise against British merchant ships. S. Navy; the Continental Navy achieved mixed results.
In August 1785, after the Revolutionary War had drawn to a close, Congress had sold Alliance, the last ship remaining in the Continental Navy due to a lack of funds to maintain the ship or support a navy. In 1972, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, authorized the Navy to celebrate its birthday on 13 October to honor the establishment of the Continental Navy in 1775; the United States was without a navy for nearly a decade, a state of affairs that exposed U. S. maritime merchant ships to a series of attacks by the Barbary pirates. The sole armed maritime presence between 1790 and the launching of the U. S. Navy's first warships in 1797 was the U. S. Revenue-Marine, the primary predecessor of the U. S. Coast Guard. Although the USRCS conducted operations against the pirates, their depredations far outstripped its abilities and Congress passed the Naval Act of 1794 that established a permanent standing navy on 27 March 1794; the Naval Act ordered the construction and manning of six frigates and, by October 1797, the first three were brought into service: USS United States, USS Constellation, USS Constitution.
Due to his strong posture on having a strong standing Navy during this period, John Adams is "often called the father of the American Navy". In 1798–99 the Navy was involved in an undeclared Quasi-War with France. From 18
A ram was a weapon carried by varied types of ships, dating back to antiquity. The weapon comprised an underwater prolongation of the bow of the ship to form an armoured beak between six and 12 feet in length; this would be driven into the hull of an enemy ship in order to puncture it and thus sink, or at least disable, the ship. The ram was a naval weapon in the Greek/Roman antiquity and was used in such naval battles as Salamis and Actium. Naval warfare in the Mediterranean used sails, the use of rams required oarsmen over sails in order to maneuver with accuracy and speed, to reverse the movement of a ramming ship to disentangle it from its sinking victim, lest it be pulled down when its victim sank; the Athenians were known for their diekplus and periplus tactics that disabled enemy ships with speed and ramming techniques. Rams were first recorded in use at the battle of Alalia in 535 BC. There is evidence available to suggest that it existed much earlier even before the 8th century BC, they appear first on stylized images found on Greek pottery and jewelry and on Assyrian reliefs and paintings.
The ram most evolved from cutwaters, structures designed to support the keel-stem joint and allow for greater speed and dynamism in the water. Many other historical vessels were used as rams, such as the Korean Turtle ship; the Athlit ram, found in 1980 off the coast of Israel near Atlit, is an example of an ancient ram. Carbon 14 dating of timber remnants date it to between 530 BC and 270 BC. Rams were thought to be one of the main weapons of war galleys after c. 700 BC, the Athlit ram's construction implies advanced technology, developed over a long period of time. Heavy timbers were shaped and attached to the hull, the bronze ram was created to fit around the timbers for added strength; the evidence for this lies in the remnants of timbers found inside the Athlit ram when it was discovered. The blunt edge of the ram and the patterned protrusion were intended to break open the seams of the target ship while at the same time dispersing the force of impact on the attacking ship to prevent the ram from twisting off and damaging the attacking ship.
It was less to become stuck in the hull of its target. The Athlit ram consists of a single bronze casting weighing 465 kilograms, it is 226 centimetres long with a maximum width of 76 centimetres and a maximum height of 96 centimetres. The bronze that makes up the shell is a high-quality alloy containing 9.78% tin with traces of lead and other elements. The shell was cast as a single piece to fit the timbers it protects; the casting of an object as large as the Athlit ram was a complicated operation at the time, would have been a considerable expense in the construction of a war galley. The ram comprises three sections – the driving centre, the bottom plate, the cowl; the driving centre is 76 centimetres wide. This is the area of the ram; the front wall of the head of the ram has the thickest layer of casting at 6.8 centimetres for extra protection during battle. The surface of the ram was decorated with several symbols. On each side, an eagle head, a helmet, an eight-point star; these symbols are similar in dimension, but contain many inconsistencies with each other, suggesting they were made from the same mold.
The ram has a handle depicting a tri-form thunderbolt. It is strengthened with 15-millimetre oak pegs; the wales and the ramming timber are designed to interlock for extra strength. The bottom of the ram features a mortise cut into the ramming timber to fit the most forward end of the keel, formed into a 4-centimetre thick and 10-centimetre long tenon. A key element in the design and construction of a ramming vessel is the ability to stop its forward progress and reverse course, the better to allow the rammed ship to sink without her crew boarding the ramming vessel; as navies became more dependent on sailing ships, which do neither well, rams were discarded as gunpowder increased the range at which ships could attack one another. Only a few instances of non-accidental ramming are recorded from the Age of Sail. With the development of steam propulsion, the speed and maneuverability it allowed again enabled the use of the ship's hull, which could be clad in iron, as an offensive weapon; as early as 1840, the French admiral Nicolas Hippolyte Labrousse proposed building a ram steamship, by 1860, Dupuy de Lôme had designed an ironclad with a ram.
The quick success of CSS Virginia's ramming attack on USS Cumberland at the Battle of Hampton Roads in 1862, attracted much attention and caused many navies to re-think the ram. The first coastal battleship, France's Taureau, was built in 1863, for the purpose of attacking warships at anchor or in narrow straits, was armed with a ram. Many ironclad ships were designed to ram opponents. Several wooden steamships were purpose-built as rams, or converted from existing commercial vessels, such as General Price, pictured to the right; the theory behind the revival of the weapon derived from the fact that, in the period around 1860, armour held superiority over the ship-mounted cannon. It was believed that an armoured warship could not be damaged by the naval artillery in existence at the time at close range. To achieve a decisive result in a naval engagement, alternative methods of action were believed to be necessary; as it followed, from the same b