CSS Chattahoochee

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CSS Chattahoochee.jpg

Ship's engines and lower portion of the after hull, photographed following recovery in the vicinity of Columbus, Georgia, circa the early or middle 1960s
Confederate States
Name: Chattahoochee
Laid down: Saffold, Georgia
In service: February 1863
Fate: Scuttled 17 April 1865
General characteristics
Length: 150 ft (46 m)
Beam: 25 ft (7.6 m)
Draft: 8 ft (2.4 m)
Speed: 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Complement: 120 officers and crew
Armament: 4 32-pounder smoothbore cannon, a 32-pounder rifled cannon and a 9-inch smoothbore cannon
CSS Muscogee and Chattahoochee
NRHP reference # 70000212[1]
Added to NRHP May 13, 1970

CSS Chattahoochee was a twin-screw steam powered gunboat built at Saffold, Georgia; she was christened for the river upon which she was built. The gunboat entered Confederate States Navy service in February 1863.


Chattahoochee was plagued by machinery failures, one of which, a boiler explosion on 27 May 1863, killed 18 as she preparing to sail from her anchorage at Blountstown, Florida. Once there, Chattahoochee's crew were going to attempt to retake the Confederate schooner CSS Fashion, captured by the Union Navy. On 10 June 1864 she was towed to Columbus, Georgia for general repairs and the installation of engines and a boiler reclaimed from the fatally wrecked ironclad CSS Raleigh.

While she was undergoing those repairs at Columbus, 11 of her officers and 50 of her crew tried unsuccessfully to capture the Union ship Adela blockading Apalachicola, Florida. USS Somerset drove off the raiders, capturing much of their equipment.

When the Confederates abandoned the Apalachicola River in December 1864, Chattahoochee was moved up the Chattahoochee River; she was scuttled near Columbus on 17 April 1865 to avoid capture, just as Union troops approached the city.

Chattahooche lay underwater until 1963, when her sunken remains were found within the boundaries of Fort Benning. They later were raised and a portion of her hull and her original steam engines once more returned to her home in Columbus, where they were placed on display at the National Civil War Naval Museum.[2] Because she was scuttled and lay submerged for a century, Chattahoochee is the only Confederate Navy gunboat that survived to the modern era.[3]

Officers and crew[edit]

Personnel killed May 1863[edit]

Those killed in the explosion (with those who later died of their wounds) were:[4]

Several other members of the crew were wounded:

"Poor Mallory! I shall never forget his appearance. I would not have known him had he not spoken. His face, hands, and feet were scalded in the most terrible manner; he plead [sic] piteously to have his wounds attended to. I urged the doctor, who, by the way, was almost used up himself, to pay Mallory some attention. He then told me that he would have to wait for some assistance. He then said that Mallory could not live. You would have thought differently had you seen him. I could not make up my mind that he would die. When they first commenced to remove the cloths he was talking cheerfully, but the nervous system could not stand the shock. He commenced sinking and was a corpse before they had gotten half through. Duffy, the fireman, expired on the next day."[4]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "NPS Focus". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. Retrieved January 2, 2012. 
  2. ^ Cultural Resources Management at Fort Benning - retrieved July 28, 2006
  3. ^ americanroads.net
  4. ^ a b Foenander, Terry. "Tragic Explosion Aboard The CSS Chattahoochee". Retrieved 2006-06-28. 

Further reading[edit]