George R. Yost Joined the Crew of the U.S.S. CAIRO
Julia Grant

This week in the Civil War for January 27, 1863

Naval Blockade of CharlestonPicture from Georgia Info


Confederate ironclads harass Union blockade of Charleston.

Two Confederate ironclad rams, the CSS Palmetto State and the CSS Chicora, unleash a surprise assault Jan. 31, 1863, on Union forces blockading Charleston, S.C., where the Civil War began in 1861.

The Palmetto rammed one Union ship, firing into the vessel and disabling it. The other ironclad went for a second Union ship, showering it with enough artillery shells that it had to be towed away. After trading fire with Union foes for a while, the low-slung Confederate rams retreated to the safety of Charleston Harbor with only minor damage.

The action of the Confederate vessels briefly harass the Union blockade of Charleston harbor — part of a larger effort to shut off Confederate ports from supplying themselves with arms, ammunition and other goods through the aid of blockade runners. Charleston would immediately fall back under the blockade after the attack. Also this week 150 years ago in the Civil War, Confederate newspapers crowed over the South's success in recently stopping Union Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside from crossing the Rappahannock River toward Richmond, Va., seat of the secessionists. Burnside's offensive bogged down in thick mud after heavy winter rains, prompting him to be sacked shortly after the abortive expedition in January 1863.

"Yankee Army Stuck in the Mud," boasted one headline in the "Daily Constitutionalist" newspaper of Augusta, Ga. It added: "The Yankees were prevented from crossing the Rappahannock owing to the impassable conditions of the roads. Our correspondent says that it was impossible to draw an empty wagon through the dreadful mud. The whole army was stuck fast."

From ABCNews Go and the Associated Press

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