Thursday, May 19, 2011

USS Cairo

The City class Ironclads were American Civil War-era ironclad warships, designed by Samuel M. Pook and built by James B. Eads in 1861-1862 for the United States Navy. The City class Ironclads supported the Union Army in campaigns in the western theater of operations, operating on bodies of water in the Mississippi River system. Seven wooden hulled, armored gunboats were built in Carondelet, Missouri and Mound City, Illinois including the USS Cairo (1861) The USS Cairo was sunk by a naval mine on the Yazoo River in 1862 after participating in engagements that, incidentally, furthered the success of an unheralded Ulysses S. Grant (Eads used this connection ten years later when Grant was in the White House to overcome political obstacles to a bridge he was building). Over the years the gunboat was forgotten and a shroud of silt and sand slowly covered her resting site. Interest in finding the vessel began in 1956 and when armored port covers were found three years later more interest grew in saving the wreck. The USS Cairo was raised in 1964 (sawn into three parts), and went through various restoration efforts until1977 when the vessel was finally located at the Vicksburg National Military Park, fully restored, and protected by a roof.

Images and copy from John Taylor Ships.

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