Vicksburg in Warren County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
The Sinking of Cairo
On December 12, 1862, on the Yazoo River, a Confederate torpedo tore open Cairo's bow. The Union gunboat sank in 12 minutes. Cairo became the first armored warship sunk by an electrically detonated mine.
The torpedo which sank Cairo was a crude apparatus. Lieutenant Commander Selfridge may have been less than cautious in waters known to contain torpedoes becasue so many of the Confederate weapons had been duds.
Two Confederate sailors, Acting Masters Zedekiah McDaniel and Francis M. Ewing, had charge of placing the torpedoes. Volunteers, whose names are lost to history, hid behind the river bank and detonated the explosive with an electric charge.
The damage from the blast can be seen on the port bow.
This drawing represents the Confederate torpedo (a mine in today's language) that sank Cairo. It is taken from a sketch which accompanied an official Union report of the incident.
Wood Float/Wires to galvanic cell on shore/5-gallon glass demihohn filled with black powder/Rope to shore/Anchor
Location. 32° 22.539′ N, 90° 52.004′ W. Marker is in Vicksburg, Mississippi, in Warren County. Marker is on Cairo Museum Circle north of Union Avenue, on the right when traveling Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Vicksburg MS 39183, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. U.S.S. Cairo (here, next to this marker); Vicksburg Navy Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Tennessee (approx. 0.4 miles away); John Adams (approx. 0.4 miles away); Randal W. MacGavock (approx. 0.4 miles away); Campaign, Siege and Defense of Vicksburg, 1863. (approx. 0.4 miles away); Soldiers Rest C.S.A. Cemetery (approx. one mile away); Thayer's Approach. (approx. one mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Vicksburg.
More about this marker. The marker is located next to the remains at the Cairo Museum, under the canopy.
Also see . . . USS Cairo Gunboat and Museum. Vicksburg National Military Park, National Park Service (Submitted on October 5, 2015.)
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 2, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 191 times since then and 46 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. submitted on October 2, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.