Thursday, July 5, 2007

New Ship on the Header

Yeah, I know I left the CSS Chickamauga on the header longer than I usually leave a ship up there. I've been real busy and haven't had time to make the change. So for all you ship watchers (and I know some of you are out there), here's the latest.

USS Cambridge was an 868-ton screw steamer that was 200 feet long, 32 feet wide, and drafted 13.5 feet. She had a complement of 96 officers and men, was capable of 10 knots, and was armed with two 8-inch rifles. To me, that seems like pretty light armament for a ship as large as the Cambridge. Anyhow, she was built in Boston in 1860, purchased by the US Navy and commissioned in 1861. She was assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron from September 1861 until October 1864, when she was transferred to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Over the course of the war, the Cambridge captured 11 prizes. She was decommissioned and sold at Philadelphia in June 1865.

I chose this ship as the result of a conversation I had yesterday with Park Historian Paul Branch at Fort Macon State Park in Atlantic Beach, NC. Our living history group is talking about doing some living history at the fort and I was inquiring about the possibility of any Union sailors being present in the fort at any time during the war. They certainly were in the area as Beaufort, NC was a coaling station for the squadron. As it turns out, sailors from the Cambridge were detailed to man heavy artillery at Fort Macon during an instance where a large part of the garrison had been called away for field duty. So, when we go to Fort Macon (date yet to be decided) we will portray sailors from this ship.

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