Named in honor of the Illinois city, the USS Cairo was commissioned in January of 1862. This powerful, 13-gun ironclad vessel was one of a team of similar gunboats that were designed to help Union forces overcome Confederate opposition during the American Civil War. But the Cairo simply wasn’t destined to succeed in its mission – after less than a year in action, the boat was sunk by an electronically detonated torpedo just seven miles north of Vicksburg, Mississippi in the Yazoo River.
And that’s where the Cairo remained until 1964, when it was salvaged. The initial goal to lift the boat from the river without causing further damage wasn’t fulfilled, but the boat was eventually retrieved as best as possible before being reconstructed, restored and moved to the Vicksburg National Military Park.
WHAT'S INSIDE THE USS CAIRO GUNSHIP AND MUSEUM?
This popular Vicksburg attraction comprises two primary sections – the museum and the gunboat itself. Inside the museum, visitors can view the various items recovered with the boat, including:
• Items used aboard the gunboat, including a safety lamp, a fire hose nozzle and much more
• Medical supplies, such as ear syringes, medicine bottles and tourniquet clamps
• Mess utensils, including plates, condiment bottles and a jug used for molasses
• Personal effects, ranging from shaving gear to leather shoes
• Pulleys, blacksmith tools and other equipment
• An assortment of weapons, including muskets, 19th Century pistols and more
Additionally, visitors can view the reconstructed USS Cairo itself outside of the museum. While certain parts of the ship were lost in the Yazoo, many original elements of the boat still remain.
EMBARK ON AN ADVENTURE THROUGH VICKSBURG MISSISSIPPI
Explore this one-of-a-kind historical artifact – along with the rest of the Vicksburg National Military Park – by planning your trip to Vicksburg today. Get started by reserving a room at one of the city’s numerous hotels or bed and breakfasts.
USS CAIRO GUNBOAT AND MUSEUM DETAILS:
Daily: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Address: 3201 Clay Street, Vicksburg MS 39183
McRaven Tour Home
Consisting of three portions – the first built in 1797, the next in 1836 and the third in 1849 – the McRaven Tour Home allows guests to view museum-worthy antiques representing each time period. The home is open daily.