Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Deck of Confederate gunboat Teaser showing damage from shell fire.

July 4, 2012

Library of Congress

July 4, James River, Va. Deck of Confederate gunboat Teaser

From Wikipedia:

CSS Teaser had been the aging Georgetown, D.C. tugboat York River until the beginning of the American Civil War, when she was taken into the Confederate States Navy. Later, she was captured by the United States Navy and became the first USS Teaser.

Teaser was built at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Purchased at Richmond, Virginia by the State of Virginia in 1861, she was assigned to the naval forces in the James River with Lieutenant James Henry Rochelle, Virginia State Navy, in command. Upon the secession of Virginia, Teaser became a part of the Confederate States Navy and continued to operate in Virginia waters. With Lieutenant William A. Webb, CSN, in command, she took an active part in the Battle of Hampton Roads on March 8–March 9, 1862, acting as tender to CSS Virginia. She received the thanks of the Congress of the Confederate States for this action.

Teaser was a pioneer “aircraft carrier”, serving as a base for an observation hot air balloon; she also became a pioneer minelayer when ordered on June 17, 1862, to assist General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Under Lieutenant Hunter Davidson, CSN, she was used by the Confederate Naval Submarine Battery Service to plant and service “torpedoes” (mines) in the James River. While engaging USS Maratanza at Haxall’s on the James on July 4, 1862, a Union shell blew up Teaser’s boiler and forced her crew to abandon ship. When seized by Maratanza, Teaser was carrying on board a balloon for aerial reconnaissance of Union positions at City Point and Harrison’s Landing.

From Library of Congress:

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