The USS Cairo

History and Artifacts of a Civil War Gunboat

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About the Book

On December 12, 1862, while patrolling Mississippi’s Yazoo River, the ironclad USS Cairo struck a Confederate torpedo. Twelve minutes later, the gunboat slipped beneath the surface approximately eight miles north of Vicksburg, where it remained for exactly 102 years. When researchers raised it in 1964, they were amazed to find many of its compartments and artifacts perfectly intact, almost as if the sailors had intended that their ship serve as a time capsule. Today, the Cairo is a snapshot of life aboard a Union gunboat, and affords a well-preserved glimpse into the past.
This is the first book dedicated entirely to the Cairo artifact collection. In over 160 photographs, it displays many of the warship’s most interesting historical pieces, with descriptions, measurements and other pertinent information for each piece. Artifacts are organized according to use, with categories ranging from tobacco and smoking devices, personal effects and toiletries, and medical equipment to small arms and cannon. The work also offers background information on the Cairo and the everyday life of a sailor and a short description of the Cairo’s sinking and raising.

About the Author(s)

Elizabeth Hoxie Joyner is the museum curator for Vicksburg National Military Park in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Bibliographic Details

Elizabeth Hoxie Joyner
Foreword by Margie Riddle Bearss
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 200
Bibliographic Info: 197 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2257-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0899-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Foreword by Margie Riddle Bearss       1

Introduction      5

About the Catalog Numbers and Descriptions      19

1. Cannons and Ammunition Boxes      21

2. Small Arms and Equipment      43

3. Navigational Devices and Ship’s Components      55

4. Furniture, Fixtures and Lighting      69

5. Cookware and Eating Utensils       83

6. Bottles      103

7. Clothing and Fabric      113

8. Personal Effects      135

9. Medical Equipment      173

10. Tools and Measuring Devices      181

Index      189

Book Reviews & Awards

“wonderful exposition of Civil War archaeology and highly recommended”—The Civil War News; “invaluable”—Nautical Research Journal.