Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Civil War: Original Plan for the Sander's Contract Ironclad by John Luke Porter, Confederate States Naval Constructor, Circa 1862. The detailed drawing, in pen, ink, pencil, and watercolor, shows a cross-section of a proposed ironclad ship based on a plan by George N. Sanders for the Confederate Navy. Along the top is the inscription, "Saunders' [sic] contract to be built of iron arranged here for wood / Scale 5 feet = One inch / by John L. Porter C.S.N.C.". The drawing, 17.5" x 11.5" (sight size), is attractively matted and framed, 24" x 18" (overall). There are several small tears at the bottom and one 2.25" tear at the top. Light foxing, else, fine.

    John Luke Porter was the Chief Naval Constructor of the Confederate States Navy. Born in Portsmouth, Virginia in 1813, Porter served in the United States Navy as a Naval Constructor working on the re-fitting of the USF Constellation, and the iron-hulled Allegheny. He was assigned to Gosport Navy Yard on April 20, 1861. His first major project for the Confederate Navy was the conversion of the USS Merrimack into the ironclad CSS Virginia. Reassigned to Richmond following the loss of Gosport Navy Yard, Porter completed the CSS Richmond and supervised the construction of two other ironclads, CSS Fredericksburg and CSS Virginia II at another navy yard. He also designed and completed plans for most of the ironclads constructed thereafter in the South, including the CSS Albemarle and CSS Tennessee. He was named Chief Naval Constructor on 7 January 1864.

    Porter created this cross section ironclad plan for the eccentric, visionary, and political schemer George N. Sanders of Kentucky. A lawyer and Democratic Party stalwart Sanders served the Navy Agent in New York City during President Franklin Pierce's administration and was named consul to Great Britain by President James Buchanan. When the Civil War ended, Sanders sought to secure contracts to build an ironclad steamer that would also operate as a commerce raider. The project never materialized. George Sanders was then sent by the Confederate government to Canada. There he operated as an agent with former Congressman C. C. Clay and former Secretary of the Interior Jacob Thompson in an effort to organize an expedition from Canada using liberated Confederate prisoners of war imprisoned at Camp Douglas and Johnston Island. He organized the Niagara Falls Peace Conference, which was a political maneuver designed to support the Copperhead Movement and the 1864 Democratic campaign. Sanders also organized a plot to capture the 18-gun iron-hulled steamer USS Michigan on Lake Erie. His accomplice, Acting Master John Yates Beall, was captured and hung as a pirate. At war's end, Sanders was implicated in the Lincoln assassination conspiracy.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2010
    26th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,401

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 March 3 Rare Books Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage has gone above and beyond my expectations in handling all of my transactions in a thoroughly professional manner. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone worldwide for the exemplary auction and valuation services they provide.
    Richard H.,
    Corsicana, TX
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search