Today in History:

Nashville (1861-1862)

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CSS Nashville, a 1221-ton side-wheel steamer, was originally a passenger steamer built at Greenpoint, New York, in 1853. She was seized by the Confederacy at Charleston, South Carolina, in 1861 and converted to a lightly-armed cruiser. Nashville made one combat cruise under the Confederate Navy flag, starting in October 1861. She captured and burned the sailing merchantman Harvey Birch in the English Channel on 19 November, and spent some time at Southampton, England. Returning to American waters early in 1862, she captured and burned the schooner Robert Gilfillan on 26 February. Two days later, she ran the blockade into Beaufort, North Carolina, remaining there until mid-March, when she went to Georgetown, South Carolina.

Sold to private interests and renamed Thomas L. Wragg, she operated as a blockade runner, but was hindered in this employment by her deep draft. After arrival near Savannah, Georgia, she was sold again in November 1862, to become a privateer under the name Rattlesnake. On 28 February 1863, while still in the Savannah area, she was destroyed by the monitor USS Montauk.

This page features our only views of the Confederate cruiser Nashville, including images of her as the privateer Rattlesnake.

Photo #: NH 57824

CSS Nashville (1861-1862)


Wash drawing by R.G. Skerrett, 1901, depicting her steaming away after burning a captured schooner.

Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC.



Photo #: NH 59366

"Merchant Steamers Converted into Gun-boats."


Engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", July-December 1861 volume.
It depicts thirteen merchant steamships acquired by the U.S. Navy between April and August 1861 and subsequently converted into warships, plus the steamer Nashville (far left), which became a Confederate cruiser.
U.S. Navy ships, as identified below the image bottom, are (from left to right: Alabama, Quaker City, Santiago de Cuba (listed as "St. Jago de Cuba", Mount Vernon, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Florida, De Soto, Augusta, James Adger, Monticello, Bienville and R.R. Cuyler.



Photo #: NH 59350

CSS Nashville (1861-1862)


Line engraving published in "The Soldier in Our Civil War", volume I, page 215, depicting the Nashville capturing and burning the U.S. merchantman Harvey Birch in the English Channel, 19 November 1861.



Photo #: NH 59348

"The 'Nashville' and 'Tuscarora' at Southampton"


Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", January-June 1862, page 96, depicting CSS Nashville (1861-1862) in dock at Southampton, England, circa January 1862, with USS Tuscarora (1861-1883) keeping watch in the right distance.
Other identified ships in the distance are Dauntless and Moulton, which may be British warships present to protect English neutrality.



Photo #: NH 59291

"The Rebel Steamer 'Nashville' Running the Blockade at Beaufort, North Carolina."


Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", January-June 1862, page 209, depicting CSS Nashville (1861-1862) running into Beaufort on 28 February 1862, after her raiding cruise in the Atlantic and European waters.



The following images depict Nashville after she was sold and had been renamed Rattlesnake:

Photo #: NH 58765

Confederate Privateer Rattlesnake

(ex-CSS Nashville, 1861-1862)

Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 1863, showing her lying by the railway bridge on the Ogeechee River, Georgia, in about February 1863.



Photo #: NH 59285

Confederate Privateer Rattlesnake

(ex-CSS Nashville, 1861-1862)

Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", January-June 1863, page 193, showing the monitor USS Montauk shelling the Rattlesnake in the Ogeechee River, Georgia, 28 February 1863. Fort McAllister is in the right-center distance.



Photo #: NH 59286

Confederate Privateer Rattlesnake

(ex-CSS Nashville, 1861-1862)

Line engraving published in "The Soldier in Our Civil War", Volume II, page 41, showing Rattlesnake burning after being shelled by the monitor USS Montauk, commanded by Captain John L. Worden, USN, in the Ogeechee River, Georgia on 28 February 1863. Fort McAllister is in the right-center background, and the U.S. Navy gunboats Wissahickon, Seneca and Dawn are providing supporting fire in the left distance.



Photo #: NH 58766

Confederate Privateer Rattlesnake

(ex-CSS Nashville, 1861-1862)

Line engraving published in "The Soldier in Our Civil War", Volume II, page 39, showing her remains in the Ogeechee River, near Fort McAllister, Georgia. She had been destroyed by gunfire from USS Montauk on 28 February 1863.



Photo #: NH 59278

"Map of the Environs of Savannah, on the South ..."


Engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", Volume 7, January-June 1863, page 164.
The map shows the position of the Confederate Privateer Rattlesnake (ex-CSS Nashville, 1861-1862), the Ogeechee River, Beulah Battery and "the present Field of Operations of the 'Passaic' and other Ironclads under Commodore Dupont".



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