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CSS Chattahoochee

Ship's engines and lower portion of the after hull, photographed following recovery in the vicinity of Columbus, Georgia, circa the early or middle 1960s
Name: CSS Chattahoochee
Laid down: Saffold, Georgia
Fate: Scuttled to prevent capture
General characteristics
Length: 150 ft (46 m)
Beam: 25 ft (7.6 m)
Draft: 8 ft (2.4 m)
Speed: 12 knots
Complement: 120 officers and crew
Armament: 4 32-pounder smoothbore cannon, a 32-pounder rifled cannon and a 9-inch smoothbore cannon

CSS Chattahoochee was a twin-screw steam powered gunboat built at Saffold, Georgia; she was christened for the river upon which she was built. The gunboat entered Confederate States Navy service in February 1863.


Chattahoochee was plagued by machinery failures, one of which, a boiler explosion on 27 May 1863, killed 18 as she preparing to sail from her anchorage at Blountstown, Florida. Once there, Chattahoochee's crew were going to attempt to retake the Confederate schooner CSS Fashion, captured by the Union Navy. On 10 June 1864 she was towed to Columbus, Georgia for general repairs and the installation of engines and a boiler reclaimed from the fatally wrecked ironclad CSS Raleigh.

While undergoing those repairs at Columbus, 11 of her officers and 50 of her crew tried unsuccessfully to capture the Union ship Adela blockading Apalachicola, Florida. USS Somerset drove off the raiders, capturing much of their equipment.

When the Confederates abandoned the Apalachicola River in December 1864, Chattahoochee was moved up the Chattahoochee River; she was later scuttled near Columbus to avoid capture, just as Union troops approached the city.

The sunken remains of Chattahoochee were found in 1963 within the boundaries of Fort Benning and later raised, by the Ft. Benning SCUBA. Club, then placed on display at the National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus.[1]

Officers and crew

  • Lt. Catesby ap Roger Jones, commander (late July 1862 - February 4, 1863)
  • Lt. John Julius Guthrie, commander (February 4, 1863 - March 1864)
  • Lt. George Washington Gift, commander (March 1864 - July 1864)
  •  ?, commander (July 1864 - December 1864)

Personnel killed May 1863

Those killed in the explosion (with those who later died of their wounds) were:[2]

  • Fred W. Arents, Third Assistant Engineer, of Richmond, Virginia
  • Charles H. Berry, Quartermaster, of Tampa, Florida
  • William B. Bilbro, Pilot, of Columbus, Georgia
  • Edward Conn, Coal Heaver, of Apalachicola, Florida
  • Charles Douglas, Second Class Fireman
  • Cornelius Duffy, of Apalachicola, Florida (buried in Linwood Cem., Columbus, Georgia)
  • Henry Fagan, Second Assistant Engineer, of Key West, Florida
  • Manassa Faircloth, Landsman, of Hardaway, Florida
  • Eugene Henderson, Paymaster's Clerk, of Tuskegee, Alabama
  • Joseph Hicks, First Class Fireman, of Georgia
  • Euclid P. Hodges, Third Assistant Engineer, of Maryland
  • John Joliff, Seaman
  • James H. Jones, Landsman, of Florida
  • Enoch C. Lanpher, Second Class Fireman, of Columbus, Georgia
  • Charles K. Mallory, Midshipman, of Virginia
  • William Moore, Landsman, of Florida
  • John S. Spear, Landsman, of Florida
  • James Thomas, Landsman, of Florida
  • Lewis C. Wild, Landsman, of Florida

Several other members of the crew were wounded:

"Poor Mallory! I shall never forget his appearance. I would not have known him had he not spoken. His face, hands, and feet were scalded in the most terrible manner; he plead piteously to have his wounds attended to. I urged the doctor, who, by the way, was almost used up himself, to pay Mallory some attention. He then told me that he would have to wait for some assistance. He then said that Mallory could not live. You would have thought differently had you seen him. I could not make up my mind that he would die. When they first commenced to remove the cloths he was talking cheerfully, but the nervous system could not stand the shock. He commenced sinking and was a corpse before they had gotten half through. Duffy, the fireman, expired on the next day."[2]

Notes and references

Further reading

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