Short, Violent Life of the CSS Arkansas

In the Winter of 1861-62, the folks in Memphis were busy building two new Confederate rams, the Tennessee and the Arkansas. In April of '62, the Arkansas was moved up the Yazoo River, after the Yankees raided Memphis and sank the Tennessee before she could escape.

Captain Isaac Brown received his orders to take command of the Arkansas and see her construction completed later that year, but when he arrived in Greenwood, Mississippi, what he found was a mere hull. It had no armor. The engines were in pieces and the guns had no carriages. The railroad iron that was meant to armor her was lying in the mud at the bottom of the Yazoo. In order to complete her construction he had her towed up to Yazoo City, where army construction crews worked for 5 weeks to.. ahem…. Gitter Done. The work was nearly complete when falling river levels forced them to move the Arkansas yet again. At that point she was ready to go, except for the one armorless curved spot that wrapped her stern and pilothouse. They slapped a boiler plate on there for “appearances' sake”, and set off to kick some ass.

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