Gunboats that fought in The Battle of Nashville:
These are some of the United States “Brown Water Navy” vessels that fought on the Cumberland River in December 1864, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Le Roy Fitch. There were six separate engagements from December 2 to the 15th of that year.
City Class U.S.S. Carondelet Ironclad Gunboat
Seven city class gunboats were built by James B. Eads at a cost of $89,000 each. With 13 guns, from 30-pdr. Parrotts, up to 100-pdr., they were powerfully armed. Their 2.5 inch plating, plus wood backing, was not impenetrable, however. The sister ship Cairo was sunk by torpedo in December 1862. She was raised in 1964 and is on display at the Vicksburg National Military Park. The Carondelet was also involved in many other river battles including Forts Donelson and Henry, Island #10, and the siege of Vicksburg.
U.S.S. Neosho Ironclad Gunboat
December 6, 1864 aboard the U.S.S. Neosho, Quartermaster John Ditzenback, and Pilot John H. Ferrell received the Medal of Honor for retrieving the United States flag which had been shot away. Under heavy enemy fire, they left the safety of the armored pilot-house, and tied it to the main signal staff. This drawing was featured in Harpers Weekly.
The river monitor Neosho was hit more than one hundred times in one of the, many engagements at this site, severely damaging her stern house and chimney. It narrowly escaped destruction when an unexploded shell lodged near her powder magazine. 78 years latter, her namesake would not be so lucky. She was sunk by the Japanese in the Battle of Coral Sea, May 11, 1942.
U.S.S. Silverlake Tinclad Gunboat
This tinclad sternwheeler gunboat fought here. She had a crew complement of 150 men. The boat carried eight 24 -pdr. brass guns. She also participated in action at Florence, Alabama, Palmyra, Tennessee, and the pursuit of Morgan’s raiders on the Ohio River
U.S.S. Fairplay Tinclad Gunboat
This tinclad was a Confederate transport captured by the Union Navy at Milliken’s Bend, Louisanna on 18 August 1862. It was the initial command vessel in the battle of Bell’s Bend for the Navy flotilla. After the second engagement with the Confederates the tinclad was severely damaged. Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Le Roy Fitch then decided to transfer his flag to the more heavily armored U.S.S. Neosho.
The U.S.S. Moose and U.S.S. Brilliant tin clad was also part of this flotilla, but no know photo exists of her.
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