CSS Nashville (1853)

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CSS Nashville
CSS Nashville
Confederate States
Name: Nashville
Builder: William Collyer (Greenpoint, NY)
Launched: 22 Sep 1853
Christened: SS Nashville
Commissioned: (CSN): Oct 1861–Mar 1862
Maiden voyage: 4 Jan 1854
In service: 4 Jan 1854–28 Feb 1863
  • CSS Nashville (1861)
  • SS Thomas L. Wragg (1862)
  • SS Rattlesnake (1862)
Fate: Sunk by USN, 28 February 1863
General characteristics
Displacement: 1,221 long tons (1,241 t)
Length: 215 ft 6 in (65.68 m)
Beam: 34 ft 6 in (10.52 m)
Draft: 21 ft 9 in (6.63 m)
Propulsion: Sails and steam engine
Complement: 40 officers and men
Armament: 2 × 12-pounder (5 kg) cannons

CSS Nashville was a brig-rigged, side-paddle-wheel passenger steamer that served with the Confederate Navy during the Civil War. Originally a United States Mail Service ship, the USMS Nashville was built at Greenpoint, Brooklyn in 1853. Between 1853 and 1861 she was engaged in running between New York City and Charleston, South Carolina. During the Battle of Fort Sumter, the USMS Nashville sailed into Charleston without flying the US national standard and was fired upon by the USRC Harriet Lane which marked the first shot of the naval war in the Civil War. The Nashville raised the American flag, and after the surrender of Sumter, the Nashville docked at Charleston.

After the fall of Fort Sumter, the Confederates captured her at Charleston and fitted her out as a cruiser. Under the command of Lieutenant Robert B. Pegram, CSN, she ran the blockade on October 21, 1861, and headed across the Atlantic to Southampton, England, the first ship of war to fly the Confederate flag in English waters. On November 19, 1861, near the British Isles, she boarded and burned an American merchant ship, the Harvey Birch, the first such action by a Confederate commerce raider in the North Atlantic during the war.[1]

Nashville returned to Beaufort, North Carolina on February 28, 1862, having captured two prizes worth US$66,000 during the cruise. In this interval she was sold for use as a blockade runner and renamed Thomas L. Wragg.

On November 5, 1862, she was commissioned as the privateer Rattlesnake. After she ran fast aground on the Ogeechee River, Georgia, the monitor USS Montauk destroyed her with shell fire from 11-inch (279-mm) and 15-inch (381-mm) turret guns on February 28, 1863.[2]

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This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
  1. ^ "Captain W.H. Nelson of the Harvey Birch, Sworn protest at the November 19, 1861 destruction of his ship, November 22, 1861". House Divided, The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College. Dickinson College. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  2. ^ "DESTRUCTION OF THE NASHVILLE.; Official Reports of Admiral Dupont and Commander Worden--A Torpedo Exploded under the Montauk". The New York Times. 1863-03-12. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-11-19.

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