CSS Palmetto State
CSS Palmetto State was an ironclad ram built in January 1862 by Cameron and Co., Charleston, South Carolina, under the supervision of Flag Officer D. N. Ingraham, CSN. She was readied for service by September 1862 when Lieutenant Commander John Rutledge, CSN, was placed in command. Her casemate armor was 4" thick, backed by 22" of wood, while 2" of iron was used elsewhere. Her pilothouse was not placed forward but was positioned abaft of the smokestack.
Before dawn on January 31, 1863, Palmetto State and her sister ram CSS Chicora crept through thick haze to surprise the Union blockading force off Charleston. Taking full advantage of her low silhouette, the ironclad stole in under the guns of USS Mercedita, ramming as well as firing shells into her. Completely disabled, with no guns that would depress enough to fire at Palmetto State, the Union ship was forced to surrender. The ram then turned her attention to USS Keystone State and put several shells into that blockader. Her steam chests punctured, Keystone State lost all power and had to be towed to safety. A long-range gun action between the Confederate rams and other Federal blockaders then took place, but little damage was inflicted by either side before Palmetto State and Chicora withdrew to safety within Charleston Harbor. The attack of the Confederate rams caused the temporary withdrawal of the blockaders from their inshore positions and led to the claim by the Confederate Government, unsuccessfully advanced, that the blockade of Charleston had been broken.
Palmetto State also joined in the defense of Charleston during Admiral Samuel Francis du Pont's unsuccessful attack on the harbor forts on April 1–7, 1863. Her officers and men were cited for valuable services rendered during the removal of troops from Fort Wagner and Battery Gregg on the night of September 6–7, 1863.
Palmetto State was later set-fire by the Confederates to avoid capture upon the evacuation of Charleston on February 18, 1865.
Media related to CSS Palmetto State at Wikimedia Commons
- Silverstone, Paul H. (2006). Civil War Navies 1855–1883. The U.S. Navy Warship Series. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-97870-X.
- Still, William N., Jr. (1985). Iron Afloat: The Story of the Confederate Armorclads (Reprint of the 1971 ed.). Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 0-87249-454-3.