Today in History:

General M. Jeff Thompson (1862)

CSS General M. Jeff Thompson, a side-wheel river steamer, was converted at New Orleans to a "cottonclad" ram in early 1862. Commissioned in April and sent up the Mississippi to join the River Defense Fleet in Tennessee waters, she took part in the naval action off Fort Pillow on 10 May. In the Battle of Memphis on 6 June, General M. Jeff Thompson was set afire by the guns of the Union warships, ran aground and blew up.

This page features our only views of CSS General M. Jeff Thompson.

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 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.

Photo #: NH 59053

"Closing-Scene of the Naval Engagement Before Memphis, Tennessee.", 6 June 1862

Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 1862.
Ships shown are (from left to right): CSS General Earl Van Dorn (escaping, with the Federal fleet in pursuit); General Sumter (captured); General Beauregard (sinking) and General M. Jeff Thompson (blowing up).

Photo #: NH 59054

"Appearance of the Rebel Ram Beauregard and Jeff Thompson after the Fight.", off Memphis, Tennessee, 6 June 1862

Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 1862.
CSS General Beauregard is shown sunk to her superstructure deck in right center (with smoke still coming from her stack!), with a Federal tug standing by in the right center. CSS General M. Jeff Thompson is burning, with only smoke visible, in the far right background.