Saturday, November 19, 2011

The "Turtle" Goes to War-- Part 1

As in the CSS Manassas.

From the October 27th News Star "Oct. 1861: 'The Turtle'" bu Dr. Terry L. Jones.

By October, 1861, five union vessels were in position at the Head of Passes where the Mississippi River splits into several different channels before reaching the Gulf of Mexico. Being here effectively blockades New Orleans, the largest port in the new Confederacy.

A small Confederate fleet under 62-year-old navy veteran George N. Hollins, referred to as "The Mosquito Fleet" set out to force these Union ships away.

The main warship was a rather odd looking one named the CSS Manassas after the earlier Confederate victory in Virginia. It had been a Massachusetts-made icebreaker which had been modified with heavy oak timbers and overlaid with 1.5 inch railroad iron. It carried just one cannon mounted near the bow, but its most formidable weapon was its ram, very capable of penetrating the hull of any Federal vessel. It's humped back appearance gained it its nickname of "The Turtle."

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

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