|Stern of the C.S.S. Chattahoochee|
Built at Saffold in Southwest Georgia, the heavily armed Chattahoochee was commissioned on January 1, 1863, with a crew that included a number of officers and men who had served aboard the famed Southern ironclad C.S.S. Virginia (formerly the Merrimac) during its famed battle with the Union ironclad U.S.S. Monitor at Hampton Roads, Virginia.
|Model of the C.S.S. Chattahoochee|
On May 27th of that year, however, the ship became involved in a deadly calamity when an engineering accident led to an explosion. Scalding steam killed men where they stood, frightfully maiming many others. Among the men who survived without injury was J.C. Cook:
|Hull of the C.S.S. Chattahoochee|
|Monument at Grave Site in Chattahoochee|
The wreck and horrible scenes he witnessed after the explosion were enough for J.C. Cook. He deserted and started for Apalachicola:
|Wreck of C.S.S. Chattahoochee|
The damage to the Chattahoochee proved not to be as severe as initially thought and the ship was soon raised and towed upriver. By the end of the war, she was once again operational, but was burned by her own crew following the fall of Columbus. Her stern section can be seen today at the National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus.
To learn more about the explosion aboard the Chattahoochee, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/csschattahoochee.
To learn more about the National Civil War Naval Museum, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/navymuseum.