both the Union and the Confederacy had active navies. However, the Union had 264 fully functional ships wherein the Confederacy had only 29. The Union had adopted the Winfield Scott -Anaconda plan that would encircle all freshwater and salt water ports of the South which would eventually strangle all commerce in and out of these areas. The Union needed a truly large Naval force to do the job wherein the Confederacy needed ships to both run the blockade, ones that would challenge Union commercial shipping and ones that would serve as a force against the Confederate Navy. At the end of the war the Union had at least 600 ships and the Confederacy had 100.
was to control all commercial and naval activities on the Mississippi river and its tributaries. To carry out this mission seven ironclad gunboats were built in Northern cities and named in honor of towns along the upper Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Each of these boats were formidable vessels and had mounted in them 13 big cannons. The ships were designed by Sam Pook and built by river engineer James B. Eads. Initially, the USS Cairo saw limited action in the engagement at Plum Point in May of “62” and the battle of Memphis in June.
had a mission to take Vicksburg the most important Mississippi River port on what remained of Southern control of the river and the Trans- Mississippi area west of the river.
Most of his plans miserably failed to take Vicksburg. One of the failed attempts was in Dec., of 1862. A small flotilla was sent down the Yazoo River with the idea of doing a major surprise attack on the northern defenses of Vicksburg. the flotilla came under attack and the Cairo was rocked by two explosions in quick succession which tore gaping holes in her hull. Within 12 min. the ship sank in 36 ft of water. She had been the target of two torpedoes which were controlled electronically representing the first time in history that such a successful attack such as this had been accomplished.
until historian Ed Bearss (historian at Vicksburg Nat. Military Park) and two companions Don Jacks and Warren Grabau set out in 1956 to discover the grave site in 1956. They thought that they had success and after three years divers brought up armored port covers to positively confirm the find. The hopes of lifting the intact Cairo from the Yazoo mud were crushed in October 1964 when the three-inch cables being used to lift the Cairo cut deeply into its wooden hull cutting the ship into sections. By the end of December, the battered remains were put on barges and towed to Vicksburg. Eventually the remains ended up at Pascagoula, Mississippi, where the Cairo was carefully restored as much to her original state as possible She is now on display at the Vicksburg National Military Park complete with the big guns.
Mr. Ken “Rocky” Pasvantis was at the site to witness salvage operations. He carefully picked up some of the “debris” that made its way to shore after the ship broke up while being raised. Rocky understood the importance of saving every single piece of this historic ship. The wood bore evidence of having been stressed with an explosion and it also bore evidence of heating and burning. I want to give Special Thanks to Allison & Roman Ingram of Madison MS who are the Daughter & Son – Law of Rocky’s for entrusting this wood to me to make these very special pens. Rocky was one of the early Civil War relic hunter, collectors and below this listing is a special tribute to him.
for pen making as follows: 1) White Oak from a beam about 6 inches square that probably was a major structural component of the ship, and 2) White pine that was severely burnt. The pine was identified by microscopically examining a cross section of wood. It was probably serving as side walling, shelving or for cabinetry.
and evidence of the explosion are evident as per the burnt streak on the white pine pen. Also note that the white pine wood had been discolored having been in the muck of the river for over 100 years. These are some of the most valuable pens in the entire collection given the rarity of the materials.
I want to give "Special Thanks" to Richard McCardle of ucvrelics.com who is not only the man behind this website but who also talked Allison & Roman into entrusting this wood to me for these pens.
Rocky was a young banker in Jackson, Ms. when he meet Ken Parks and immediately struck-up a friendship that lasted for more than a half century. They were some of the first relic hunters to explore the battlefields and camp sites along the Mississippi River.
dug many sites and found thousands of artifacts. One of the main Union camps near Vicksburg produced many bottles and they both got the bottle "itch". Over the many years they were friends they probed, dug and excavated many bottles. So many to the point that they co-authored a book "Civil War Bottles", which became the main source of research for future bottle hunters and collectors.
Rocky still hunted up to a few months before he passed away in 2012. Rocky's legeacy lives on as his son in law Roman Ingram got his love of Civil War history and the love of relic hunting from Rocky. This photo shows Rocky and Roman just before he passed. Here he shows the last bullet he found. Rest In Peace Rocky, your love of history lives on.
as a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy as named by President George Washington using the famous document as the guideline name. It is the world's oldest commissioned naval vessel still afloat. She was launched in 1797. The ship was built in the North End of Boston, Massachusetts at Edmund Hartt's shipyard using oak timbers from the region.
with the newly formed Navy were to provide protection for American merchant shipping during the Quasi-War with France. During the Civil War the USS Constitution served as a training ship for the US Naval Academy.
was made from a piece of oak that was discarded during a 2 year long restoration of the ship earlier this century. The project was carried out at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston, Ma. The piece was obtained from Mr. Stan Lucien of Maine who was able to obtain the wood from the DoD and kindly traded a piece for other witness tree woods that I have in my collection.
that there were two confederate ships named the CSS Nashville during the Civil War. One was an ironclad and the other was The CSS Nashville (the subject of this piece) which began its life in 1853 as a passenger and a mail carrier. It was not a technological wonder as its other name sake. It, however, made history as the first Confederate warship and the first to fly the Confederate flag in International waters.
in Oct 1861 and headed to Southhampton England. Her ultimate fate was realized as she was run aground in the Ogeechee river in Georgia in early 1863. Various efforts to recover her were made at different times. It is extremely difficult to find witness wood from ships that were participants in the Civil War. Originally, this ship was built in New York and was designed to serve as a mail ship.
where she was captured at the time of the Ft Sumter episode. Because she was built in the north, it was common for the outfitters to use white pine for planking and the masts. Thus this pen was made from planking of the ship. It was extremely difficult to turn as petrification processes had already begun. I had dulled nearly every pen making tool in my collection. The wood was originally obtained from Mr. Cary Delacy of the Historical Shop in New Orleans.