Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vicksburg: Gunboat Cairo

Tucked into the Vicksburg National Military Park driving tour is the resurrected Union ironclad gunboat, Cairo. In 1862 it steamed up the Yazoo River, north of Vicksburg to destroy Confederate batteries. Two quick explosions tore holes in the boat's bottom and minutes later it sank in the river. This was the first vessel ever sunk by an electrically detonated torpedo. Today the reconstituted remains rest in Vicksburg - giving a fascinating look into naval construction and history.

The Cairo was salvaged in the 1960s. The boat was huge and in theory "bulletproof". Artifacts, armament, and naval stores were well preserved. The U.S.S. Cairo museum displays the process of reconstruction and protects other goodies under glass.

Tourists are able to walk around the displayed gunboat and view it from all angles. Amazing insight into Civil War naval life. It's always worthwhile to read brochures, follow maps, and peer into nooks & crannies. Our Cairo stop proved educational and captivating.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you packed in oodles of sightseeing during your trip.