Water Spout


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, September 10, 1864

Harper's Weekly was the most popular illustrated newspaper of the Civil War period. Many Americans relied on Harper's for news of the war each week. The paper was read by over a million people each wee. Today, you can get this same news by browsing our online collection.

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Archbishop McCloskey

1864 Presidential Campaign

Democratic Convention

Democratic Convention

Water Spout

Water Spout

Metacomet and Selma

Nathan Forrest Raid

Nathan Bedford Forrest Memphis Raid

General John Geary

General John Geary

Wall Street Cartoon

Wall Street Cartoon

Virginia Map

Map of Grant's Virginia Campaign


Rebel Ironclad Ram "Tennessee"







SEPTEMBER 10, 1864.]





WE illustrate on this page an incident which recently occurred in Albemarle Sound, North Carolina, near a portion of the Federal fleet.

On the afternoon of August 3 a heavy waterspout was observed forming in the vicinity of the feet. The weather being stormy, and several others having been seen during the day, no immediate concern was manifested regarding it; but as it soon attained such gigantic proportions as to exceed any thing ever before witnessed, serious fears were entertained for the safety of the tugs and other small craft of the fleet. After taking a circuitous route among the vessels, fortunately without encountering any, it struck out for the land, the water boiling and foaming beneath it, and being apparently lifted to a great height. On reaching the shore it immediately burst, discharging what appeared like a solid body of water of immense volume. The accompanying sketch was made by an officer of the Shamrock immediately after the occurrence.

During the performance of this irregular drama by old Neptune the Shamrock, Otsego, and Tacony were near at hand, while the Union sailors were silent but by no means uninterested spectators.


WE give on this page, and on pages 584 and 585, illustrations of FARRAGUT'S recent victory in Mobile Bay. The sketch accompanying this description represents the shot and shell which were extracted from the sides of the Brooklyn after her engagement with Fort Morgan and the ram Tennessee, August 5, 1864. The cut at the foot of this page gives a view of the sinking Monitor Tecumseh. While FARRAGUT was making his entrance into Mobile Bay past Fort Morgan, the Tecumseh, proceeding on the left of the fleet, struck upon a torpedo and went down. The infernal machine exploded almost directly under the Monitor, whose side was lifted six feet above the water, when she settled so rapidly that only five of her crew, who tumbled out through her port-holes, escaped. The Monitors, in a casualty of this nature, appear to be perfect traps, out of which there are no loop-holes of escape except the port-holes. The Tecumseh sank at the beginning of the action.

The conflict with the rebel ram Tennessee, illustrated on page 585, was the most spirited naval engagement of the war ; it is only rivaled in interest by the fight between the Monitor and the Merrimac, early in 1862. After the rebel gun-boat Selma had surrendered, and the Morgan, and Gaines been driven under the guns of Fort Morgan, FARRAGUT ordered the whole Federal fleet to engage the Tennessee, and to close upon her as rapidly as possible.

The order was none too quickly given, as the ram was uninjured by our fire, and in the rear of our fleet, threatening seriously to interrupt our progress. At the time of the engagement FARRAGUT was passing the water batteries under Fort Morgan. The fire of all the vessels seemed to have no effect on the ram. When the order was given to run her clown, the Monongahela, Lackawnana and Brooklyn all butted against her, "and they might as well," says our correspondent , " have butted against; the Crow's Nest on the "Hudson !" The Monitors appear to have forced the ram to surrender; they made the splinters fly inside of the heavy iron and wooden armor of the Tennessee. The Manhattan, sent a solid 15-inch shell through her side at a distance of twenty-five yards. The Chickasaw, also, did splendidly with her 11-inch guns. The Winnebago was less rapid in her movements. Probably the chief causes of the surrender of the ram were the wounding of Admiral BUCHANAN and the injury done to her rudder chains. The length of the vessel was 200 feet,

her breadth 48. Her draught is 14 feet 8 inches. The following description of the ram is given by a correspondent of the Tribune:

" In form she varies from the old Merrimac, though evidently a modification of that unfortunate and short-lived craft.

0 Her armor consists of two and a half inch iron, in bars eight inches wide, crossing each other, and bolted down with one and three-quarter inch bolts, making five inches of solid iron. This again is backed by two feet of solid oak throughout the entire portion of the boat above the water-line, and extending some feet even below that. From her forward casemates forward, including her pilot-house, an additional inch of iron is given her, making six inches of plating, and an additional foot, making three feet of wooden backing at this part of the boat.

"Her gun-room, if that is the proper term to use, occupies about two thirds of her length, and is constructed with a flat top, composed of two and a half by eight-inch iron bars, crossed and bolted together, forming a close lattice-work above her gunners, and affording ventilation while in action. The sides are inclined like those of the old Merrimac, and, as before stated, are composed of five inches of iron plating, backed with two fact of solid oak backing, through which, in the fight with our fleet, no ball succeeded in piercing. Her ports, of which there are two on either (Next Page)



Shot and Shell
Water Spout
Monitor Tecumseh




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