Sunday, November 9, 2008
Flag of the C.S.S. Arkansas
This is the flag of the famed Southern ironclad C.S.S. Arkansas.
One of the most successful inland warships ever built by the Confederacy, the Arkansas was a unique, makeshift ironclad that was actually built in two places.
Work on the vessel started in Memphis in 1861, but when that city was captured by Union troops the unfinished gunboat was carried to the Yazoo River in Mississippi for completion.
On her maiden voyage, the Arkansas steamed down the Yazoo and smashed through a flotilla consisting of the Union warships Carondelet, Queen of the West and Tyler. The Queen escaped, but the Carondelet was driven aground by the Confederate warship. Heavy damage and casualties were inflicted on the Tyler as well.
Leaving the Yazoo, the ironclad entered the Mississippi and stormed through the Union river fleet to reach the cover of the Confederate batteries at Vicksburg.
The vessel eventually engaged additional Union warships on the Mississippi but finally was destroyed by her own crew after she experienced engine trouble about 5 miles above Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Her flag is now on display at the Port Columbus National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus, Georgia. The museum preserves the wrecks of two Confederate warships as well as numerous artifacts relating to both the Confederate and Union navies. For more information, you can visit them at www.portcolumbus.org.