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USS CAIRO | US Civil War Ironclad

Updated on March 26, 2014

USS Cairo Ironclad River Gunboat

USS Cairo was an ironclad river gunboat in the Union Navy built in 1861 by James Eads and Company. She was part of the Union Army's Western Gunboat Flotilla. She was a capital ship of the City calss ironclad gunboats, also known as the Cairo class. Her first commander was James M. Prichett, Lieutenant of the US Navy. She served on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers and their tributaries. The USS Cairo was involved in the occupation of Clarksville, Tennessee on February 17, 1862 and Nashville, Tennessee, February 25 escorting mortar boats in the action against Fort Pillow. On 12 December 1862, while clearing mines from the Yazoo River preparatory to the attack on Haines Bluff, Mississippi, Cairo struck a torpedo detonated by volunteers hidden behind the river bank and sank in 12 minutes; there were no casualties. Cairo became the first armored warship sunk by an electrically detonated mine.

The USS Cairo: History And Artifacts of a Civil War Gunboat

While patrolling the Yazoo River, on December 12, 1862, the USS Cairo struck a Confederate torpedo and sank within twelve minutes. The ironclad went down about eight miles north of the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi. The gunboat stayed there for exactly 102 years, when it was finally raised from the mud in 1964. Many of the rooms and berths were perfectly intact, even most of the artifacts remained. It was almost as if the crew of the USS Cairo meant for their ship to become a time capsule. This is the first book to be to show all of the Cairo's artifact collection. There are over 160 photographs that show many of the ship's most interesting historical pieces, with descriptions, measurements and other pertinent information for each piece. Included in this book is the background information on the USS Cairo and the everyday life of a sailor and a short description of the Cairo's sinking and raising.

Tour of the USS Cairo

USS Cairo

USS Cairo
USS Cairo

Interior Tour of USS Cairo

USS Cairo - Vicksburg National Military Park

USS Monitor Limited Edition 21" Long

USS Monitor, Limited Edition

This is a full assembled ready for display museum quality replica of the USS Monitor. This model is 21" long by 5" wide and 7" high, 1/96 scale. Built of high quality wood and brass detail parts.

The Timberclads in the Civil War

USS Cairo Videos

What Happened to the Civil War Ironclads

Final Resting Place of a Civil War Ironclad

Survived war. Stuck a mine and sank in Yazoo River December 12, 1862 (0 killed). Wreck located in 1956 and raised in 1965; from 1980 on display at Vicksburg, Mississippi.

USS Cairo Gunboat and Museum - Vicksburg National Military Park

Mr. Lincoln's Brown Water Navy: The Mississippi Squadron

Lincoln's Navy: The Ships, Man and Organization, 1861-65


Iron Afloat: The Story of the Confederate Armorclads

by William N. Still

Everyone knows the story of the battle of the Monitor and the Merrimack. But how many people know the story behind the Confederacy's attempt to build a fleet of armorclad vessels of war? Built from converted steam ships, built on riverbeds and cornfields. Learn how the Confederacy built a fleet of ironclads that were more than a match for anything from the Northern invaders.

Ironclad Down: USS Merrimack-CSS Virginia from Design to Destruction

Ironclad Down by Carl Park is the result of over fifteen years of research, This book is filled with detailed information about one of history's most famous vessels, the CSS Virginia. Carl Park spends time describing the incredibly interesting characters of the time, like John Mercer Brooke and John Porter, the designers of the CSS Virginia and Stephen Russell Mallory, Confederate Secretary of the Navy. Park describes the ship, how it was built and every detail you can think of.

Carl Park, a modeler with articles in Fine Scale Modeler originally intented to build an accurate model of the ship. He found out quickly that trying to reconciling the conflicting and incomplete information about the CSS Virginia stopped his plans. He never built the model. In its place he wrote Ironclad Down, a valuable addition to naval history.

USS Monitor Ironclad of the Civil War
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The battle between the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia, (formerly the USS Merrimack) two of the Civil War Ironclads, started one of the biggest changes in N...

CSS Arkansas Civil War Ironclad
The CSS Arkansas was a Confederate Ironclad warship during the American Civil War. Serving in the Western Theater, the vessel helped repulse a U.S. Navy flee...

CSS ALBEMARLE, Ironclad of The Roanoke, Civil War Armorclad
CSS Albemarle was an ironclad ram of the Confederate Navy named for a town and a sound in North Carolina and a county in Virginia. All three locations were n...

CSS TEXAS | US Civil War Ironclad
The keel for the CSS Texas was laid down at Richmond, Virginia. She was launched in January 1865. At the time of Robert E. Lee's evacuation of Richmond on ...

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Have You Ever Heard of the USS Cairo? - Civil War Ironclads

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    • profile image

      milky-way-35977 5 years ago

      never seen something like this before, is it truly there

    • Paperquest5 profile image

      Paperquest5 5 years ago

      Thanks for visiting my lens.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I was fortunate to tour this when we visited Vicksburg. Very impressive, how it was built and to see the structure that goes into one of these.