Today in History:

Indianaola (1862-1863)

USS Indianola, a 511-ton ironclad river gunboat, was built at Cincinnati, Ohio. Commissioned in an incomplete state in September 1862 to defend Cincinnati against a threatened Confederate attack, she was ready for active service in January 1863. Sent to join the Mississippi Squadron north of Vicksburg, she ran past the guns of that fortress city on 13 February 1863 in an effort to cut off Confederate supply lines. On 24 February, while near the mouth of the Red River, Indianola was engaged by the enemy rams Queen of the West and Webb. Rammed seven times, the Union ship ran aground and surrendered.

As the Confederates worked to salvage their prize, Federal Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter prepared a raft to resemble an ironclad and drifted it down the Mississippi. As the "Wooden Dummy" approached the salvage site, the Confederates exploded Indianola's magazines to prevent what they thought was her possible recapture. After Vicksburg was taken in July 1863, Federal forces also worked to salvage the Indianola, finally getting her afloat in January 1865. Not worth the effort to return her to service, her hulk was sold in November of that year.

This page features all our views of USS Indianola.

Photo #: NH 58715

USS Indianola (1862-1863)

Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 7 February 1863.

Photo #: NH 59540

USS Indianola (1862-1863)

Watercolor by Dr. Oscar Parkes.

Courtesy of Dr. Oscar Parkes, London, England, 1936.

Photo #: NH 59100

USS Indianola (1862-1863)

Running past the Confederate fortress at Vicksburg, Mississippi, 13 February 1863.
Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 1863.

Photo #: NH 59105

"'Bache's Quaker' Driving the 'Queen of the West,' and Causing the Rebels to Blow Up the 'Indianola'."

Line engraving after a sketch by Theodore R. Davis, published in "Harper's Weekly", 1863, depicting the 25 February 1863 operation in which a dummy ironclad (left) was floated down the Mississippi River by the U.S. Navy, causing the Confederates to destroy the captured ironclad USS Indianola. CSS Queen of the West is depicted at the right.

Photo #: NH 53235

USS Indianola (1862-1863)

Is blown up by her Confederate captors, below Vicksburg, Mississippi, circa 25 February 1863, upon the appearance of Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter's fake monitor "Wooden Dummy".
Taken from a sketch by RAdm. Porter, this print is entitled "Dummy Taking a Shoot".

Photo #: NH 53234

USS Indianola (1862-1863)

Probably photographed while under construction at Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1862.
This view was originally captioned "wreck of the Indianola", and may depict salvagers at work on her in 1864-65, but it looks far more like a construction view.