USS Cairo was a 512-ton "City" class ironclad gunboat built at Mound City, Illinois.
commissioned in January 1862 as part of the U.S.
Army's Western Gunboat Flotilla. In April and May
1862, USS Cairo participated in the campaign to
capture Fort Pillow and fire her guns during the May
action there. She also battled with Confederate
warships during the action off Memphis, Tennessee, on
6 June 1862. Cairo continued her operations on the
Mississippi River and its tributaries.
On 12 December
1862, while engaged in mine clearance activities on
the Yazoo River, Mississippi, Cairo was struck by a
Confederate mine. She was rocked by two
explosions in quick succession which tore gaping holes
in her hull and sunk to 36 feet of water in twelve
minutes. Cairo thus became the first ship in
history to be sunk by an electrically detonated torpedo.
Over the years the gunboat
Cairo was slowly covered by silt and sand. Recovering
her was not easy. Edwin C. Bearss, Historian at
Vicksburg National Military Park, and two companions--on
Jacks and Warren Grabau--used a pocket compass and iron
bars to probe the ship. Against a hostile environment
that had heavy accumulation of silt, swift current of
the ever-muddy river, in 1956, they found the Cairo.
However, not until 1959 that they could bring up an
armored gun port to confirm the find. A year
later, the pilothouse and an 8-inch smoothbore cannon
with its white oak carriage brought to the surface
proved to be very well preserved by the mud.
Hopes of lifting the
whole ironclad were crushed in 1964 when the three inch
cables being used to lift the Cairo terribly damaged its
wooden hull. Then the ship had to be cut in three
sections to be lifted up. In the summer of 1965,
three parts of the Cairo were transported by barges to
Ingalls Shipyard. There the armor was removed,
cleaned and stored. The two engines were taken apart,
cleaned and reassembled. Sections of the hull were
braced internally and water was sprayed continually to
keep the structural timbers from warping.
In 1972, the U.S.
Congress enacted legislation authorizing the restoration
of the Cairo for display in Vicksburg National Military
Park. In June of 1977, the vessel was transported
to the park and partially reconstructed on a concrete
foundation near the Vicksburg National Cemetery.
The recovery of artifacts from the Cairo revealed a
treasure trove of weapons, naval and personal gears at
the time of the Civil War.
This USS Cairo model features:
from official plans
construction (very important)
All parts are wooden or metal
(61 cm) long x 10" tall x 8" wide
For display case, please
Model Ship Display Case
And please click on the
blue wording to check out our beautiful
model and USS Monitor
model, and USS Tecumseh
"I received them yesterday [4/8/2014] and they
were magnificent. Thank you. I look
forward to the next two ships [Kearsarge and
Monitor]. Regards, Hans."