CSS Jackson Remains of the Ram
When you think about the naval aspect of the Civil War you probably don’t often think about Columbus, Georgia. However in Columbus, not far down the way from Ft. Benning is the National Civil War Naval Museum. Filled with many fantastic exhibits of the naval war there is one that stands out. Taking up well over half the display area is the remains of the CSS Jackson. An ironclad ram that was scuttled at the end of the war and raised from the river a hundred years later.
The building of the Jackson was started in Columbus in 1862. Originally it was to be named the Muskcogee. Lack of materials and delays in the building kept it from being commissioned until December 1864. She was then officially named the Jackson. Further lack of men and material kept her out of the fight. April 1865 she was burned and scuttled by a Union raiding party. She never got to see any action in her brief career.
Built to Ram
The Jackson was designed to be a ram, which is basically as it sounds. Its main weapon was a reinforced prow that would be aimed at an enemy ship. The goal was to hit it hard enough and do enough damage to cause it to sink. It was a lot like how ships in Ancient Greece fought their battles, without all the boarding parties. Besides being an ironclad, which was basically sheets of iron placed on a wooden frame for protection, she was also a screw steamer, which meant instead of wind, she used a propeller for locomotion.
The remaining hull is on display in the museum with a white steel frame hanging over to give you an idea of what the ship looked like back in the day.
For a little more on the CSS Jackson click here.