Iron Clad Turtles

mssec_07_089-iron-clad-turtles

230 PM 25th Memphis Apr 24th 1863
From Millikens Bend April Sixteenth 6. P.M
via Memphis twenty fourth for Secy of War
Vicksburg Batteries will be run tonight
about 9 oclock – fleet will consist of
Six Iron Clad Turtles namely “Benton”
“Mound City” “Carondelet” “Louisville” “Pittsburg” &
“Dekalb”, besides “Lafayette” Iron Clad and
“Genl Price” heavy armed ram. Adml Porter
has intended to take “Tuscumbia” Iron
Clad also, but has concluded to
leave her in Yazoo. Transports consist
of “Henry Clay” and “Forest Queen”
side Wheel Steamers and “Silver Wave”
stern Wheel having twelve barges in
over

While looking over  the consensus data I spied the phrase “Six Iron Clad Turtles.” Turns out this is the start of a three page missive from Charles A Dana (one with the telegram tail “nothing worth mentioning here”). Dana is not talking about children’s pets, red sliders, yellow bellied sliders, or box turtles, nor is he talking in code for a Monitor class vessel. No, he is using the term to describe the river gunboats that were built in Union ports along the Mississippi. It is apt as they kind of do look like snapping turtles (not a pet), albeit with heavy guns:

us_gunboat_pittsburg

James E. Taylor Collection : Scrapbook Three, p. 49, United States Civil War, Huntington Digital Library.

I should note that that “heavy armed ram” that joined the iron clad turtles, named General Price, was also not a mythical creature conjured by Dana:

us_gunboat_genl_price

James E. Taylor Collection : Scrapbook Three, p. 49, United States Civil War, Huntington Digital Library.

Definitely not a male sheep OR a turtle. Nor a pet.

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2 responses to “Iron Clad Turtles”

  1. Craig says :

    Another interesting/fascinating blog! Thank you and HAPPY THANKSGIVING…

    Like

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