Sunday, June 19, 2011

Gun from the C.S.S. Tennessee - Selma, Alabama

Gun from C.S.S. Tennessee
Few naval battles of the Civil War captured the 19th century public's attention like the Battle of Mobile Bay, Alabama.

For Northerners, Admiral Farragut's famed battle cry of "Damn the Torpedoes! Full speed ahead!" characterized the bravery of Union officers and sailors. For Southerners, the remarkable stand of the ironclad C.S.S. Tennessee against the entire Union fleet became a symbol of the courage of the men of the Lost Cause.

C.S.S. Tennessee
Neither the C.S.S. Tennessee nor the Union warships that fought at Mobile Bay survive today, but a bit of the monumental battle can be touched on the city hall lawn in Selma, Alabama. It is there that the stern gun of the Tennessee rests today.

Few modern visitors realize that the mighty Confederate ironclad was launched at Selma. Located near the important iron furnaces of Central Alabama, Selma was the location of an important C.S. Navy facility. Not only was the Tennessee built here, but the facility also cast heavy guns and munitions.

Gun from .S.S. Tennessee
One of the guns cast at Selma was the deadly 8-inch Brooke rifle now on display at city hall. It served as the stern pivot gun of the Tennessee and dealt death and destruction during the Battle of Mobile Bay. Removed from the ship after the war, it eventually passed into the hands of the Naval Historical Center in Washington, D.C.

Now on long-term loan to the Selma-Dallas County Musem and Archives, it was returned to Selma in 1981 and can be seen daily. To learn more, please visit

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