“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cape Girardeau in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Pook's Turtles

Did you Know?

Pook's Turtles Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, August 12, 2012
1. Pook's Turtles Marker
Inscription. An ironclad was a wooden warship of the 19-century having iron or steel armor plating. The Confederate's ironclad ,"Monitor" (formerly Merrimack"), and the Union's ironclad, "Virginia" fought off the coast of Virginia in March of 1862. However, these were not the first ironclads that fought in the Civil War.

Between August 1861 and January 1862, a series of seven gunboats were designed by Samuel Pook and built by James Eads at a cost of more than $100,000 each. Four gunboats were built at the Carondelet Marine Ways just south of St. Louis; the other three were built at Mound City, IL. The gunboats were named after cities along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, but some observers referred to them as Pook's Turtles because of their squat, armored appearance.

The gunboats looked so similar that colored bands were painted on their smokestacks to differentiate each boat. The ironclads were 175 feet long and 50 feet wide. Weighing more than 500 tons, they could only travel about 7 to 10 miles per hour but, thanks to their low and broad shape they could navigate water as little as seven feet deep. Each boat carried thirteen large cannons - more firepower than all four forts in Cape Girardeau combined.

The four boats built at Carondelet headed downstream, passing Cape Girardeau, in November 1861. In early February
Pook's Turtles Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, August 12, 2012
2. Pook's Turtles Marker
Pook's Turtles and Red Rover Markers are both at the end of the Mural and near the flood gate at the far right.
1862, the gunboats captured Fort Henry on the Tennessee River: the first major Union victory of the Civil War. Next, the boats helped capture Island #10 at New Madrid, MO in April 1862.

After the Civil War, James Eads, became even more well known as the builder of namesake bridge in St. Louis, which is still in use today.
Location. 37° 18.349′ N, 89° 31.04′ W. Marker is in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, in Cape Girardeau County. Marker is at the intersection of North Water Street and Broadway Street, on the right when traveling north on North Water Street. Click for map. Marker is along the Mississippi River behind the River Wall flood gate at the end of Broadway Street. Marker is in this post office area: Cape Girardeau MO 63701, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. "Red Rover, Red Rover" (here, next to this marker); The Mississippi River (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Telephone Service (about 500 feet away); The Lewis and Clark Expedition Across Missouri (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Red House Interpretive Center (approx. 0.4 miles away); George Drouillard (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Red House (approx. 0.4 miles away); Old Lorimier Cemetery (approx. 0.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Cape Girardeau.
Categories. War, US CivilWaterways & Vessels
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 365 times since then and 75 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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