Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Vicksburg, Mississippi - U.S.S. Cairo
One of the most fascinating exhibits at the Vicksburg National Military Park is the wreck of the Cairo, an actual Civil War ironclad gunboat raised from the bottom of Mississippi's Yazoo River.
The Cairo had taken part in the Battles of Plum Bayou and Memphis. On December 12, 1862, she was sent up the Yazoo River as part of an effort to clear the waterway of Confederate opposition. Seven miles north of Vicksburg, the gunboats came under fire from Confederate artillery. As the Cairo turned to respond, she was suddenly rocked by massive explosions. The gunboat had steamed over a submerged Confederate mine (then called at "torpedo").
The Cairo sank to the bottom of the Yazoo River in just twelve minutes, becoming the first warship in history to be sunk by an electronic mine.
The ironclad was raised during the 1960s and taken in sections to Pascagoula, Mississippi, where she was cleaned and preserved by workers at Ingalls Shipyard. Today the Cairo is the centerpiece of a fascinating museum and exhibit at Vicksburg National Military Park.
To learn more and see additional photos, please go to www.exploresouthernhistory.com/Vicksburg.