Today in History:

Tuscumbia (1863-1865)

USS Tuscumbia, a 575-ton casemate ironclad river gunboat built at Cincinnati, Ohio, was commissioned in March 1863. She was immediately in action, taking part in the recapture of Fort Heiman on 12-14 March. On 1 April, she led a reconnaissance up the Yazoo River. Tuscumbia next participated in the Mississippi Squadron's night-time run past Vicksburg on 16-17 April, during which she towed the damaged transport Forest Queen out of danger. On 29 April, she took part in the attack on Grand Gulf, and was disabled after receiving 81 hits from Confederate artillery. In May, after repairs, Tuscumbia bombarded the Vicksburg batteries. For most of the rest of the Civil War, she was under repair or laid up, being formally decommissioned in February 1865. USS Tuscumbia was sold in November 1865 and abandoned by her owners in 1867.

This page features our only views of USS Tuscumbia.

Identification Note: Several of the photographs of USS Tuscumbia presented below have frequently been published as representing USS Chillicothe. However, there is no doubt that these really show Tuscumbia, which was much larger than Chillicothe.

Photo #: NH 49800

USS Tuscumbia (1863-1865)

In mid-stream on the Western Rivers, circa 1863.

Photo #: NH 49998

USS Tuscumbia (1863-1865)

Moored to the shore on the Western Rivers, circa 1863.

Photo #: NH 49999

USS Tuscumbia (1863-1865)

Tied to the shore on the Western Rivers, circa 1863.

Photo #: NH 55213

USS Tuscumbia (1863-1865)

Tied up to the river bank, on the Western Rivers, circa 1863.

Photo #: NH 55214

USS Tuscumbia (1863-1865)

Tied up with other ships, on the Western Rivers, circa 1863.
USS Linden (1863-1864, "Tinclad" # 10) is moored outboard of the Tuscumbia. Two mortar boats, one with a 13-inch mortar on board, are inboard.
Note damage to the rear of Tuscumbia's starboard paddle box.

The following images depict Tuscumbia as one of several ships present during Civil War actions:

Photo #: NH 76557-KN (Color)

"Admiral Porter's Fleet Running the Rebel Blockade of the Mississippi at Vicksburg, April 16th 1863."

Colored lithograph published by Currier & Ives, New York, 1863.
Ships depicted are (from the front to the rear, all USS except as noted)): Benton (Flagship); Lafayette with General Price alongside; Louisville; Mound City; Pittsburg; Carondelet; transports Silver Wave, Forest Queen & Henry Clay; and Tuscumbia.
Text under the print's title is quoted in Photo # NH 76557-KN (Complete Caption).

Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Academy Museum, Beverley R. Robinson Collection.

Photo #: NH 1852

"Battle of Grand Gulf, First position, R. Ad. D.D. Porter Commanding"

Engraving published in Rear Admiral Henry Walke's "Naval Scenes and Reminiscences of the Civil War in the United States ..." (1877), depicting U.S. Navy ironclads engaging Confederate batteries at Grand Gulf, Mississippi, 29 April 1863.
U.S. ships present, as identified on the print, are (from left-center to right): Benton, Tuscumbia, Pittsburg, Lafayette, Louisville, Saint Louis and Carondelet.