USS Cairo

This ship is intimidating. Even out of the water and out of commission! Imagine seeing it during a time when river gunboats made of iron were few and far between. This is the USS Cairo, one of seven City Class Ironclads built for the Union Navy.

USS Cairo Museum, gunboat, Vicksburg, MS, Mississippi, Civil War, siege, Military Park
This particular one did not see much action though. You can see in this photo what a disaster the right side of the boat is.

The USS Cairo was brought down by detonated torpedoes. It sunk to the bottom of the Mississippi in 12 minutes, where it stayed until it was discovered in 1956. It was not until 9 years later in 1965 that the remains of the ironclad were lifted out of the river. Now it sits in the Vicksburg Military Park.

USS Cairo Museum, gunboat, Vicksburg, MS, Mississippi, Civil War, siege, Military Park

diagram, USS Cairo Museum, gunboat, Vicksburg, MS, Mississippi, Civil War, siege, Military Park

cannons, USS Cairo Museum, gunboat, Vicksburg, MS, Mississippi, Civil War, siege, Military Park
It's likely a cannon on an ironclad like this is the culprit behind the cannonball lodged in the wall of the Cedar Grove Mansion.

engine, USS Cairo Museum, gunboat, Vicksburg, MS, Mississippi, Civil War, siege, Military Park
Oscillating arm and paddle wheels.

engine pipes, USS Cairo Museum, gunboat, Vicksburg, MS, Mississippi, Civil War, siege, Military Park
Boilers and a steam drum.

USS Cairo Museum, gunboat, Vicksburg, MS, Mississippi, Civil War, siege, Military Park
Capstan --this winch helped the crew haul heavy lines, move guns, and pull in the anchor.

armor, cannons, USS Cairo Museum, gunboat, Vicksburg, MS, Mississippi, Civil War, siege, Military Park

USS Cairo Museum, gunboat, Vicksburg, MS, Mississippi, Civil War, siege, Military Park

There is a small museum for the USS Cairo. It holds some of the artifacts salvaged from the vessel:

bell, USS Cairo Museum, gunboat, Vicksburg, MS, Mississippi, Civil War, siege, Military Park
USS Cairo Bell --as this 400 pound bronze bell was being recovered, a pocket of air which had been trapped beneath the gell when the Cairo sank - bubbled to the surface.

model, USS Cairo Museum, gunboat, Vicksburg, MS, Mississippi, Civil War, siege, Military Park
A model of what the USS Cairo looked like.

artifacts, USS Cairo Museum, gunboat, Vicksburg, MS, Mississippi, Civil War, siege, Military Park
Artifacts recovered from the ship.

Part 5 of our Arkansas-Mississippi road trip coming soon!

Arkansas-Mississippi Road Trip: View Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7

USS Cairo

Address: 3201 Clay Street, Vicksburg, MS 39183. Milepost 7.8 along park tour road.
Hours: Daily 8.30am – 5pm
Fees: Free
Websites: nps.gov/vick/index.htm

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