Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher
Fort Fisher, NE Bastion. Frank Vizetelly (National Geographic)

Monday, December 9, 2013

USS United States/CSS United States-- Part 2: Civil War Service

From 1849 to the Civil War, the United States lay in ordinary at Norfolk, rotting away. On April 20, 1861, Confederates seized the Navy Yard at Norfolk and the ship was not burned before sinking under the belief it was just a worthless hulk. However, Confederates were desperate for any kind of a ship and had it pumped out and raised by April 29th.

It was commissioned the CSS United States, but often referred to as the CSS Confederate States. In June, it was fitted out as a receiving ship with a 19-gun deck battery for harbor defense.

It was sunk in the Elizabeth River as an obstruction when the Confederates abandoned the Navy Yard in May 1862. The ship's timbers were still strong as evidenced by the loss of a whole box of axes in the attempt to scuttle. Eventually, holes had to be bored in the hull to accomplish it.

The Union raised the ship and towed it to Norfolk where it remained until March 1864 when the Bureau of Construction and Repair decided to break her up and sell the wood.

Quite the Ship. --Old B-Runner

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