Rebel Raiders on the High Seas is a strategic game of the Civil War which focuses on the role of the navies on the rivers, along the coasts and on the oceans. While most ships are represented by generic counters for Ironclads, Blockade Runners, Gunboats, Screw Sloops and, of course Raiders, there are cards and corresponding counters for many individual vessels. This series presents those cards and offers a glimpse into the history of these storied ships.
Part IV– The Union Ironclads : USS Lehigh- The Medal of Honor Ironclad
No ship in U.S. Naval history has had more crew members receive the Medal of Honor for a single action than the ironclad monitor USS Lehigh. Among the five was one with a name he had – and did – live up to: Seaman Horatio Nelson Young.
When John Dahlgren (USN Card 31) took over command of the
Union the fleet opposite Charleston
from Samuel Francis DuPont (USN Card 54)
in the summer of 1863, he brought with him an exceptionally powerful new
ironclad monitor: the USS Lehigh (USN Card 22). Mounting a 15-inch Dahlgren smoothbore
and an 8-inch (or 150-pound) Parrott Rifle inside a turret protected with 11
inches of armor, USS Lehigh was one
of the lead ships in Dahlgren’s repeated attempts to knock out Fort Sumter and
Fort Moultrie, two of the most important of the man guardians of Charleston
The ironclad engaged with
many times between September 1 and late November, including engaging in an
almost daily duel over a three week period.
On November 16 the ship was so badly pounded that she was driven aground
– and it was for freeing her while under deadly fire that Seaman Young and four
other crewman were honored with the nation’s highest decoration.
(See the photo below, courtesy of the Naval Historical Society, which shows the numerous dents on her turret from that fight).
Sent back to
Port Royal for repairs,
the Medal of Honor ship returned to duty off Charleston
in January, where she continued to pound away at Rebel batteries and forts
until the city succumbed to Sherman’s