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CSS Chicora, a Richmond class ironclad ram, was built at Charleston, South Carolina. Commissioned in November 1862 under the command of Confederate Navy Commander John Randolph Tucker, she was employed in the defense of Charleston for most of the rest of the Civil War.

In her first major action, on 31 January 1863, Chicora and her sister ship Palmetto State attacked the U.S. Navy blockading force off Charleston. They disabled the gunboats Keystone State and Mercedita, forcing the latter to briefly surrender, and engaged other Union warships before returning safely to port. On 7 April 1863, when U.S. Navy ironclads attacked Fort Sumter, and later in the year when other fortifications were assaulted, Chicora operated in defense of the Confederate positions. She also furnished the initial crewmen for the submarine torpedo boat H.L. Hunley, five of whom were drowned when the submarine accidently sank on 29 August 1863. CSS Chicora remained active until 18 February 1865, when she was destroyed to prevent capture when Charleston was evacuated.

This page features all our views of CSS Chicora.

Photo #: NH 55237

Confederate ironclads Chicora and Palmetto State

Nineteenth-Century photograph of a painting by Conrad Wise Chapman, depicting the ships in Charleston harbor, South Carolina, during the Civil War.
Note the spar torpedo fitted to the ironclad in the right center.

The original painting is in the Confederate Museum, Richmond, Virginia.

Photo #: NH 59303

"The Charleston Iron-Clad Fleet"

Line engraving, based on a sketch by A.P. Palmer, 21st South Carolina Volunteers, published in "Harper's Weekly", January-June 1863, page 76, depicting (rather inaccurately) CSS Chicora and CSS Palmetto State in Charleston harbor, South Carolina.

Photo #: NH 59304

"The Rebel Rams engaging our Blockading Fleet off Charleston, South Carolina, January 31, 1863"

Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", January-June 1863, page 117, depicting CSS Chicora and CSS Palmetto State attacking USS Mercedita, with USS Keystone State at right.