Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December 11, 1863 – “Pook’s Turtle” Saves the Day: USS Carondelet vs. Rebel Artillery

This day 150 years ago in Rebel Raiders’ History

-Dedicated to Civil War episodes, battles, people and ships that also appear in my game, GMT’s Rebel Raiders on the High Seas.

 Historical Event:  On December 11, 1863 the captain and crew of the river ironclad USS Carondelet  engaged  Confederate infantry and artillery and drove off the Rebel crews attempting to salvage guns from the wreck of another Federal ironclad, USS Indianola.  The USS Indianola had been run aground in February during a duel with a Rebel flotilla led by the CSS Queen of the West (a Union ship of the same name that had been captured and pressed into Confederate service).   This action was a routine part of USS Carondelet’s patrol duties along the Mississippi, Yazoo and Red Rivers.  

The USS Carondelet was one of seven City-Class vessels designed by Samuel Pook (hence the nickname for her and her sisters as Pook Turtles), and was built by James Buchanan Eads at his Carondelet Marine Way shipyard outside St. Louis.  The ship fought in the battles at Forts Henry and Donelson, Island Number 10, Memphis and Vicksburg, and participated in the ill-fated expedition up the Red River in early 1864.  Pook’s Turtle survived the war – as did the USS Indianola, which was finally in January of 1865 – thanks to having been rescued from the clutches of Rebel salvage crews by the USS Carondelet on December 11, 1863.

Game Connection:  Union ironclads play a vital role in Rebel Raiders on the High Seas, reducing Confederate batteries and battling Rebel ironclads and gunboats in ocean and river ports and forts – including those the Southern player is bound to place in the sites on the map where USS Carondelet fought.   The ironclad herself is represented in the game by a counter and a card (USN 15), as is her maker, James Buchanan Eads, whose card (USN Card 35 – Ead’s Ironclads) provides the Union with three ironclads over as many turns, free of charge, in Cairo or St. Louis.     (The Queen of West, mentioned above, is also represented in her Union colors in USN Card 38, and the Red River Fiasco in which USS Carondelet took part, as noted above, is induced by the play of a Confederate card, CSN Card 76).

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