Sunk in the Yazoo River, Mississippi, on December 12, 1862
The city-class gunboat, U.S.S. Cairo, was built by James Eads & Co., at Mound City, IL., in 1861. The ironclad was named after the city of Cairo, Illinois. She was commissioned in January 1862, and served in the Union Navy's Western Gunboat Flotilla on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.
In 1862, she was active in the occupation of Nashville, Memphis and Clarksville, Tenn., and played a prominent role in the capture of Fort Pillow. On December 12, 1862, as part of the Yazoo Pass Expedition, the U.S.S. Cairo was clearing mines in preparation for an attack on Haines Bluff, Miss., and was sunk by a mine detonated by Confederate soldiers hidden behind a river bank. The Cairo was the first ship ever sunk by a mine remotely detonated by hand.
In 1956, the ship was located in the Yazoo River and a salvage operation began. Over the next few years the deteriorating wreck was raised and eventually put on display at the Vicksburg National Military Park. She is one of only four Civil War era ironclads in existence, and is listed on the National Register.
Includes an authentic, small piece of wood that was salvaged from the wreck of the C.S.S. Cairo, in 1965. It is mounted at lower right on a 5 x 7, photo card, titled, "U.S.S. Cairo, Civil War Ironclad Wood Relic," with a photograph of the ship and crew in 1862. It comes with a second, 5 x 7, photo card, with a brief printed history of the Cairo, [click on the enlargement to read the exact description], an image of the original wood relic that this piece came from, and an illustration of the sinking of the Cairo. Both cards could be matted and framed together to make a very nice display item for a Civil War naval collector!