“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
New Concord in Calloway County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)

Pook Turtles

The New Ironclad Gunships

Pook Turtles Marker image. Click for full size.
By Shane Oliver, March 6, 2021
1. Pook Turtles Marker
Inscription.  Two of the ironclad gunboats that attacked Fort Henry on February 6, 1862, were among several designed by Samuel S. Pook for the U.S. War Department in 1861. They were called "Pook Turtles" because their sloping rectangular sides, called casemates, made them look like mud turtles. From their first use here at Fort Henry to the Red River Expedition of 1864, the "Pook Turtles" proved invaluable weapons in Union operations on western waters. The ironclads were built between August 1861 and January 1862 by James B. Eads at an average cost of $101,808 each. Four were built at Carondelet Marine Ways near St. Louis, Missouri, and three in Mound City, Illinois. Named for towns along the Ohio and Upper Mississippi rivers—Cairo, Carondelet, Cincinatti, Louisville, Mound City, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis—they were the first ironclad warships built in the Western Hemisphere.

Ironclads' Baptism of Fire
Union gunboats Carondelet, Cincinatti, St. Louis, and Essex exchange fire with Fort Henry, February 6, 1862, in their first test in battle.

- 6 32-Pounder Smoothbore Cannon
- 4 42-Pounder
Fort Heiman Exhibit Shelter image. Click for full size.
By Shane Oliver, March 6, 2021
2. Fort Heiman Exhibit Shelter
Marker is located at the top right side of the exhibit shelter, above the "Slave Labor" marker.
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Rifled Cannon
- 3 8-Inch Dahlgren Rifled Cannon
- 2.5 Inches of Iron Armor on forward and central slopes of the casemate.

- Very slow
- Large turning radius
- Upper deck vulnerable to plunging fire.
- Aft portion of casemate unarmored.

(Top Right Image Caption):
"Pook Turtles" under construction at the Carondelet Marine Ways. The ironclads Carondelet and St. Louis, which took part in the attack on Fort Henry, were built here.

James B. Eads
James Eads, a retired engineer who later became one of America's most famous bridge builders, financed the construction of the gunboats. He was later reimbursed by the U.S. Government.

(Bottom Left Image Caption):
The ironclad USS Essex, not one of the Eads gunboats, was disabled in the attack on Fort Henry when a well-placed Confederate shot ruptured its boiler.

(Background Image Caption):
This engraving appeared in the February 22, 1862 issue of the illustrated newspaper Harper's Weekly. Though containing a number of errors, the most obvious being the island in front of Fort Henry, the drawing provided a sense of drama surrounding the first significant Union victory of the Civil War.
Erected by Fort Donelson National Battlefield
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- National Park Service - US Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: War, US CivilWaterways & Vessels.
Location. 36° 30.096′ N, 88° 3.371′ W. Marker is in New Concord, Kentucky, in Calloway County. Marker can be reached from Fort Heiman Road 0.6 miles east of Kline Trail, on the left when traveling east. Marker is located at the Fort Heiman exhibit shelter, at the Fort Heiman Unit of Fort Donelson National Battlefield. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New Concord KY 42076, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Slave Labor (here, next to this marker); Fort Heiman (here, next to this marker); Forrest Stages A Raid (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); An Unfinished Fort (approx. 0.2 miles away); Under Union Occupation (approx. half a mile away); Battle of Fort Henry (approx. 1.6 miles away in Tennessee); Fort Henry (approx. 1.7 miles away in Tennessee); Site of Fort Henry (approx. 2.3 miles away in Tennessee). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New Concord.
Also see . . .  Fort Donelson National Battlefield. National Park Service (Submitted on May 10, 2021.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 10, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 10, 2021, by Shane Oliver of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 41 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 10, 2021, by Shane Oliver of Richmond, Virginia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 13, 2021