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Home Tennessee Shelby County Memphis Historical Markers Naval Battle of Memphis, 1862

Naval Battle of Memphis, 1862

Memphis, TN , USA

Latitude & Longitude: 35° 8' 49.717068", -90° 3' 15.436476"
  Tennessee TN State Historical Marker
Tennessee State
Historical Marker

On these bluffs in the early morning hours of June 6, 1862, the
citizens of Memphis gathered in excited anticipation as the Confederate River Defense
Fleet steamed into the Mississippi River to meet the descending Union Gunboat Fleet.
The “cotton-clad” Confederate Fleet (Little Rebel, Colonel Lovell, General(s) Price,
Beauregard, M. Jeff Thompson, Sumter, Bragg, and Van Dorn) was armed with a total of
32 cannon and protected by 'armor' of cotton bales and oak planking. The Union
Fleet (Carondelet, Benton, Cairo, Cincinnati, Mound City, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis)
carried 64 cannon and were clad with iron plating. The fleets engaged in a fierce
long-range cannon duel for 90 minutes with little effect. Suddenly two unarmed Union
rams darted from the smoke and into the action. The Queen of the West immediately
sank the Beauregard. The Monarch damaged other vessels while the gunboats closed to
a deadly range.
The citizens' exuberance turned to gloom as one after another the Confederate boats
were knocked out of action. In the end three “cotton-clads” were sunk, three grounded,
one captured and one escaped. On the Union side, one ram was run aground and the other
damaged while the ironclad gunboats suffered only minor damage. Confederate troops
having previously been ordered to Corinth, Mississippi so Memphis was now defenseless.
Mayor John Park refused to surrender but conceded that he was powerless to prevent
the city's fall. The loss of Memphis now opened the Mississippi River to Union invasion
south to Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Sponsored by
West Tennessee Historical Society
Forrest Historical Society
Sons of Confederate Veterans, N. B. Forrest Camp 215
Shelby County Historical Commission

Last updated: 2/14/2015 15:17:00
    Related Themes: C.S.A., Confederate States of America, Confederacy, Union States
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Naval Battle of Memphis, 1862 Tennessee Map