Flame & Smoke: The
By Jay Brent Tipton
In 1862, the situation for the Confederate
The plans were to build and name them the Arkansas and the
The two ships were constructed at
Shortly after arriving on the
Lt. Brown, oversees the outfitting of the
She drew only 14 ft of water and had maximum
speed of 6 knots.
Her officers at the start of
her combat run were:
Lt. Isaac N. Brown (Commanding), Lt HK
Lt. J. Grimball, Lt. AD Wharton, Lt. CW Read, Lt. A Barbot, Lt. George W. Gift (Ships officers).
H. Washington, Assistant Surgeon, C.M.
Assistant Paymaster Richard Taylor.
Engineers: City, Covert, Jackson, Brown, Doland, Dupuy, and Gettis.
Pilots were: Shacklette, Gilmer, Brady, and Hodges.
Gunners Mate: Travers
Masters Mate: Wilson
Lt. Brown received orders to proceed to
They poured a galling fire into the Carondelet
and did much damage forcing her upon a shallow shoal.
They turned their fire upon the Tyler
and the Queen of the West.
The Arkansas was in pursuit of the Tyler when her smokestack
became so riddled she could barely make 1 knot per hour.
She sailed past the remaining 38 ships of
Admiral Farraguts fleet blockading Vicksburg. In the process, the Arkansas
fires upon and damages the fleet flagship Hartford.
An eyewitness (a Colonel Scharf) (Confederate
Military History) stated that the Arkansas emerged
from a volcano of flame and smoke, an hours of horizontal hail of every
description, from 32 to 200 pounders
The gallant Arkansas
steamed into the Vicksburg, with its commander seriously wounded, two pilots
On July 22, 1862, while being docked for
repairs, the Ironclad Essex and
the Ram Queen of the West
attacked the dock in an effort to finish off the Arkansas. The Arkansas
only had 41 men aboard at the time of the attack, but they still managed to
drive off the two attacking Union Navy ships, after the Arkansas
punished them with a raking fire.
The abrupt end for this promising ship
occurred on 3 August 1862, when the Arkansas experienced mechanical failure of her engine, breaking
down dead in the water. The
breakdown occurs while the ship is in a fight with the Union Ironclad Essex.
Rather than see his ship captured and used against the Confederacy, Lt.
H.K. Stevens, who assumed
command of the Arkansas in the
absence of the wounded Commander, Isaac N. Brown and is commanding the ship. The
Arkansas had been steaming, in cooperation with General
Breckenridge, to begin operations at Baton Rouge, when it was engaged by the Essex.
Lt. Stevens, realizing his ship is about to be
captured orders her abandoned burned and scuttled.
The orders were carried out and the officers
and crew of the once formidable ship escaped.
However, a part of the C.S.S. Arkansas remains today. The
Ensign (Naval flag) is on display at the National War Museum located in Columbus
Return to table of contents