Monday, February 23, 2009

The paddle frigate Mississippi

The American paddle frigate Mississippi was a historic ship that came to a bad end in 1863. The Mississippi had been Matthew Perry's flagship when he forced the Japanese to open their country to the west. He had personally supervised her completion and fitting out and used his as his flagship. The Mississippi had played a role in the war with Mexico and then had gone to the Far East. She was laid up when the Civil War started. She was obsolescent in 1861, but was used in the capture of New Orleans in 1862, where she disabled the Confederate ram Manassas. Because of her low speed and paddle wheels, she was relegated to the Mississippi river. She was scuttled in 1863 during the attempt to push past Port Hudson. The Mississippi had run aground, under heavy fire, and couldn't be freed. She was burnt after her guns were spiked to keep her from being captured. An interesting note is that George Dewey, the victor of Manilla Bay in 1898, was her executive officer at the time of her loss. This is my enhancement of the photograph from 1863, when she was painted wartime gray.

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