Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Iron Clads - a Bit of Civil War History Today

Today I will work on un-raveling the lizard quilting -----AGAIN!  or STILL is a better descriptor.  I have unraveled about half of the quilting now, so I will be working hard to get that done.  I have so many to put on the frame.  And I need to complete my mystery quilt in there as well.

Last weekend when we went off for our anniversary trip, we went to Vicksburg first and spent Friday night.

Big Thing - we went to the Vicksburg Military History Museum and saw the USS Cairo (pronounced Caro, like the syrup) named for Cairo (prounounced Caro like the syrup), IL.  It was the first US military vessel sunk by an electronic torpedo.  Which was like a mine actually.  That was December 1862.

It sat in the Yazoo River until it was raised piece by piece in 1965 and finally in 1971 it was assembled put on display.  Now it is really nice with a museum area and cover.

Those round black things are the boilers.

The gunboats were dubbed "pook turtles" because they looked like odd turtles and had been designed by Samuel Pook.  There were 158 men on board, mostly immigrants.  The Union used to impress people who came to this country into service before they could be citizens.  Sounds like a good idea to me, but has shades of slavery, ya think?

The wooden boat was covered on it's most vulnerable areas by rolled railroad iron 2.5 inches thick and 13 inches wide and about 13 feet long.  The total armor weighed 118 tons.  It was powered by steam boilers.  The boat itself was only 170 ft long by 51 feet wide.  Not big.  And consider it carried 4.5 tons of coal at any given time to stoke those boilers.  The boilers powered a huge paddlewheel which pushed the gunboat at about 8 knots.

The 7 iron clads were built by James Eads at a cost of $89,600 per vessel.  Eads was famous for his work along the Mississippi River system as a civil engineer.  Point Eads at the tip of the river is named for him.  If you leave from New Orleans on a cruise ship you sail right past this point and get to see the marina and the tiny town there.

This is pretty interesting information.  And the gunboat was pretty interesting itself.  We could walk all over it and had a feel for how big it looked but how small it is when you think of 158 men in battle fighting for their lives, shoveling coal and trying to load those cannon.


1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. I've always found war stories from long ago very fascinating. Thinking of how the men back in those days actually waged war was so different from what we think of as 'WAR' now a days! Glad you enjoyed the museum, I have totally enjoyed the photos!


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