Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Ships of Rebel Raiders - The Gunboats

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 II – The Gunboats: USS Tyler

USS Tyler (USN Card 18).  A “timberclad” gunboat, the former river merchant ship from Cincinnati became one of the most famous ships in the Western Flotilla.  She participated in the bombardment of Forts Henry and Donelson, provided key gunfire support at Shiloh, fought at Island No. 10 and dueled with the ironclad CSS ArkansasUSS Tyler survived that fight to take part in operations at Vicksburg and up the Yazoo and White Rivers into Arksansas.  Her last service was a mission of mercy, as she helped save the crew of the SS Sultana north of Memphis at the end of April 1865.

The Timberclad Takes on the Ironclad

In July 1862 the USS Tyler along with USS Queen of the West  and USS Carondelet (represented in Rebel Raiders by USN Card 38 and USN Card 15, respectively)  went hunting for the Confederate ironclad ram, CSS Arkansas.   Unfortunately, on July 15 they found her.  The USS Carondelet, being an ironclad, led the way – only to be disabled by the Confederate warship.  USS Queen of the West, a sidewheel gunboat also known as “Ellet’s Ram” was also knocked out of the action, leaving the timber-reinforced gunboat USS Tyler to duel with the iron monster all on her own.  The battle became a running fight down the Yazoo, as the USS Tyler sought and finally reached the protection of the Union fleet at the confluence of the Yazoo and MississippiCSS Arkansas then broke off the action, and steamed on to Vicksburg, where she was welcomed with flags flying.

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