Today in History:

Little Rebel (1862)

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CSS Little Rebel, a 161-ton screw steamer, was built in 1859 at Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania, as the civilian vessel R. & J. Watson. In early 1862, she was converted at New Orleans into a ram for the Confederacy's Mississippi River Defense Fleet. Little Rebel went up the river to Fort Pillow, Tennessee, in April 1862. There, on 10 May, she joined in an attack on Federal gunboats and continued to assist in the defense of Fort Pillow until it was evacuated on 1 June. In the naval action off Memphis on 6 June, Little Rebel was run aground and captured. She was taken into Federal service and served for the rest of the Civil War as USS Little Rebel. Sold in 1865, she was employed as the merchant ship Spy until about 1874.

This page features our only views of CSS Little Rebel.

Photo #: NH 2049

"Battle of Fort Pillow, First position"


Engraving published in Rear Admiral Henry Walke's "Naval Scenes and Reminiscences of the Civil War in the United States ..." (1877), depicting the action between the Confederate River Defense Fleet and Federal ironclads near Fort Pillow, Tennessee, 10 May 1862.
Confederate ships, seen at right, include (from left to right): General Earl Van Dorn, General Sterling Price, General Bragg, General Sumter and Little Rebel.
The Federal ironclads, in the center and left, are (from left to right): Mound City, Carondelet and Cincinnati. A Federal mortar boat is by the river bank in the lower right.



Photo #: NH 42755

"Battle of Fort Pillow, 3rd Position"


Engraving published in Rear Admiral Henry Walke's "Naval Scenes and Reminiscences of the Civil War in the United States ..." (1877), depicting the action between the Confederate River Defense Fleet and Federal ironclads near Fort Pillow, Tennessee, 10 May 1862.
Confederate ships, seen at left, include: Colonel Lovell, General Beauregard, General M. Jeff Thompson, General Bragg, General Sumter, Little Rebel and General Earl van Dorn.
The Federal ironclads, in the center and right, are: Carondelet, Cincinnati, Mound City, Benton, Saint Louis, Cairo and Pittsburg. A tug is seen in the right foreground.



Photo #: NH 58891

"The Great Naval Battle before Memphis, June 6, 1862"


Engraving after a sketch by Alexander Simplot, published in "Harper's Weekly", depicting the action between the Confederate River Defense Fleet and Federal warships off Memphis, Tennessee.
In the center foreground the CSS General Beauregard is being rammed by the Federal ram Monarch. At left are the disabled Federal ram Queen of the West and the Confederate ships General Sterling Price and Little Rebel. Other Federal ships are in the center and left distance, with other Confederate ships in the center and right middle distance.



Photo #: NH 42367

"The Total Annihilation of the Rebel Fleet by the Federal Fleet under Commodore Davis."

"On the Morning of June 6th 1862, off Memphis, Ten."

Lithograph by Middleton, Strobridge & Co.
In the foreground, the print depicts the Confederate ships (from left to right): General M. Jeff Thompson (shown sinking); Little Rebel (shown burning); General Sterling Price; General Beauregard (shown being rammed by the Ellet Ram Monarch); General Bragg (shown aground) and Colonel Lovell (shown sinking).
In the background are the Federal warships (from left to right): Queen of the West; Cairo; Carondelet; Louisville; Saint Louis; a tug; and Benton.
The city of Memphis is in the right distance, with a wharf boat by the shore.

Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation.



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