Today in History:

Atlanta (1862-1863)

CSS Atlanta, an 1006-ton ironclad ram, was originally built in Scotland in 1861 as the merchant steamship Fingal. In November 1861 she ran the blockade into Savannah, Georgia, with a large cargo of weapons and military supplies. After Union forces closed the exits from Savannah, preventing her further use as a blockade runner, Fingal was converted to an casemate ironclad and renamed Atlanta. She made her first appearance as a Confederate warship in mid-1862.

Atlanta made two efforts to attack Federal warships blockading the coast and rivers leading to Savannah. The first, in early 1863, was thwarted by obstructions blocking the route to the sea. In June 1863 Atlanta made her second attempt, targeting blockaders in Wassau Sound. There, on the 17th, she encountered the U.S. Navy monitors Nahant and Weehawken. In a brief battle, Atlanta went aground and was overwhelmed by Weehawken's superior firepower, forcing her to surrender.

The captured ironclad was taken into the Union Navy as USS Atlanta, commissioning for service in February 1864. She was stationed on the James River, Virginia, to support the operations of the army under General Grant. On 21 May 1864, she fired on Confederate cavalry that were attacking Fort Powhatan. A year later, with the Civil War over, Atlanta went north and decommissioned at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in June 1865. After several years "in ordinary", she was sold in May 1869. Reportedly, she subsequently became the Haitian warship Triumph and disappeared at sea off Cape Hatteras in December 1869.

This page features all our views of Atlanta, showing her as both a Confederate and a U.S. Navy ship.

Photo #: NH 57819

CSS Atlanta (1862-1863)

Sepia wash drawing by R.G. Skerrett, 1901.

Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC.

Photo #: NH 58896

"U.S. Monitor 'Weehawken' and Confederate Ram 'Atlanta'."

Phototype by F. Gutekunst, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, circa the later 19th Century.
This print depicts the capture of CSS Atlanta (at left) by USS Weehawken, in Wassaw Sound, Georgia, 17 June 1863.

Photo #: NH 52793

Confederate Navy and Army Officers

Photographed at Fort Warren, Boston Harbor, Massachusetts, while they were prisoners of war, circa 1863-1864.
All, or nearly all, of the Navy officers had been captured with CSS Atlanta and CSS Tacony in June 1863, were paroled in September 1864 and exchanged in October 1864.
Those present are identified in Photo # NH 52793 (complete caption).

The following images show Atlanta after she became part of the United States Navy:

Photo #: NH 61902

USS Atlanta (1864-1869)

On the James River, Virginia, circa 1864-65.
She was the former Confederate ironclad Atlanta, captured in June 1863.
Note signal tower on the hill beyond the ship's bow.

Courtesy of the National Archives.

Photo #: NH 57275

USS Atlanta (1864-1869)

Photographed on the James River, Virginia, circa 1864-65.

Photo #: 111-B-80

Federal ironclads in Trent's Reach, James River, Virginia

Photographed circa early 1865.
Nearest ship is USS Saugus, with a mine sweeping "torpedo rake" attached to her bow. Next monitor astern is probably USS Sangamon. Visible just to the right of her is either USS Mahopac or USS Canonicus. Last two ships are USS Atlanta and USS Onondaga.
Photographed by the Matthew Brady organization.
Note the log boom across the river in the foreground and the signal tower atop the hill in the right distance.

Photograph from the Collections of the U.S. National Archives.

Photo #: 111-B-1961

Federal ironclads in the James River, Virginia

Photographed circa early 1865, probably in Trent's Reach.
Ships are (from left to right): USS Saugus, USS Sangamon (probably), USS Atlanta and USS Onondaga.
Photographed by the Matthew Brady organization.

Photograph from the Collections of the U.S. National Archives.

Photo #: NH 51956

USS Atlanta (1864-1869)

Ship's officers on the foredeck, while she was serving on the James River, Virginia, in 1864-65.
Atlanta's armored casemate, forward rifled gun, and pilothouse are visible behind the officers.

Photo #: NH 61429

USS Atlanta (1864-1869)

Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 1866, depicting the former Confederate ironclad Atlanta, which was taken into U.S. Navy service following her capture in 1863.

Photo #: NH 73986

"The Iron-clad Navy of the United States"

Two-page spread of line engravings, published in "Harper's Weekly", 3 February 1866.
U.S. ships depicted include (at left, top to bottom): Dictator, Manayunk, Ozark, Onondaga, and Roanoke;
(in center, top to bottom): Stonewall (ex CSS Stonewall), New Ironsides with Monadnock, and the interior of a monitor's Ericsson turret with two XV-inch Dahlgren guns;
(at right, top to bottom): Weehawken, Atlanta (ex CSS Atlanta), Yazoo, Tennessee (ex CSS Tennessee), and Dunderberg.

Photo #: NH 76385

USS Atlanta (1864-1869)
originally the CSS Atlanta (1862-63)

General plan, apparently drawn at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, where Atlanta was laid up following the Civil War.

The original is plan # 81-12-20 in Record Group 19 at the U.S. National Archives.