Today in History:

Webb (1862-1865)

CSS Webb, a 655-ton side-wheel steam ram, was originally built at New York City in 1856 as the civilian steamship William H. Webb. She received a Confederate privateer's commission at New Orleans in May 1861, but was instead employed as a transport until January 1862. Converted to a "cottonclad" ram by the Confederate Army, Webb thereafter served on the Mississippi and Red rivers. On 24 February 1863, she participated in the sinking of the Federal ironclad USS Indianola. Webb was transferred to the Confederate Navy in early 1865. On 23-24 April 1865, she broke through the Federal blockade at the mouth of the Red River, Louisiana, and made a dramatic run down the Mississippi toward the Gulf of Mexico. After passing New Orleans, she was cornered by U.S. Navy ships, run ashore and destroyed by her crew.

This page features our only view of CSS Webb.

Photo #: NH 43135

"Burning of the Rebel Ram 'Webb' Below New Orleans, April 24, 1865"

Engraving after a sketch by R. Weir, published in "Harper's Weekly", 20 May 1865, page 317. It depicts CSS Webb afire on shore some twenty-five miles below New Orleans, Louisiana, after she was trapped by USS Richmond (seen in the right background) while attempting to escape down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico during the night of 24 April 1865.