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.
III – The
Rebel Ironclads: CSS –
“Old Buck” vs. Farragut Tennessee
Tennessee (CSN Card 86 in Rebel Raiders) features in perhaps the most famous
naval action painting of the Civil War:
the “Damn the Torpedoes” by William Heysham Overrend, or as it is
formally known “An August Morning with Farragut: the Battle of Mobile Bay,
August 5, 1864.
David Glasgow Farragut (a leader in Rebel Raiders and USN Card 1) is in the rigging of the USS Hartford (USN Card 37) as she fires a broadside into the
CSS Tennessee, aboard which is
Confederate Flag Officer Franklin “Old Buck” Buchanan (also a leader in Rebel Raiders). Historians Craig Symonds, who wrote a
biography of Buchanan, and James McPherson, who chose the Overrend painting as
the cover for his new War Upon the Waters, told an audience in New York last October
that they believe Farragut and Buchanan actually saw one another through the
smoke at that moment as depicted in the painting….and that Farragut’s “damn”
comment (if he indeed said it) was directed as much at his Rebel nemesis as the
naval mines (torpedoes) in the bay.
This was not the first time “Old Buck” had led a force into battle aboard an ironclad – he was aboard the
CSS Virginia (CSN Card 70) the first day of the Battle of Hampton Roads (he was
wounded, however, and was not aboard her the next day when his ship faced the USS Monitor (USN Card 19). Buchanan
climbed out of the safety of the ironclad to stand on her deck firing a musket
at Union snipers – and was himself hit in the process.
CSS Tennessee slid past the Union flagship,
Farragut ordered Drayton to turn and to follow her – and signaled USS Brooklyn (USN Card 13) to also engage her.
Buchanan managed to get his ship under the guns of , but then turned around for
another run at USS Hartford – two
Union monitors (USS Manhattan and USS Chickasaw) intervened, pouring solid shot from 15-inch guns and 11-inch
bolts, respectively, into the ironclad.
The USS Winnebago, like USS Chickasaw a double-turreted monitor,
joined in. Pounded and rammed repeatedly
by these five powerful Union ships, Fort
Tennessee was reduced to a shattered hulk,
and “Old Buck,” similarly wounded, struck her colors.