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CSS GENERAL BEAUREGARD (1861)
Memphis h42367

Period sketch of the Battle of Memphis. Beauregard is in the right center of the image, being rammed by USS Monarch.

Built: Algiers, Louisiana

Commissioned: April, 1862

Service: River Defense Fleet, 1862

Home Port: Memphis, Tennessee

Dimensions: Unknown; displaced around 461 tons.

Armor: Cottonclad

Armament: 1x42lb Smoothebore, 4x8" Smoothebores

Engines: Dual Paddlewheel

Speed: Unknown;estimated 9-10 Knots

Crew: Unknown

Fate: Rammed and sunk at the Battle of Memphis, June 6th 1862.



Summary

General Beauregard , formerly the New Orleans steamer Ocean, was acquired by the Confederate States Navy in January, 1862, and quickly converted into a cottonclad sidewheel ram. She was one of the better armed vessels in the River Defense Fleet, and carried a powerful suite of weaponry, well suited to her intended roll.

General Beauregard spent her career in the defense of the Upper Mississippi, most notably at the Battle of Plum Point. While she was unable to position herself to successfully ram any of the Union vessels present, she kept up a steady pace of fire with her 8" smoothebores, described as "brave" in the face of heavy enemy fire.

At the Battle of Memphis, General Beauregard was heavily engaged, first ramming the flagship of the United States Ram Fleet, USS Queen of the West. In the ensuing struggle, a sharpshooter from the Beauregard mortally wounded Colonel Charles Ellet, Jr., the innovaor who had created the Ellet Rams. She then turned her attention to USS Monarch, but unfortunately missed the target and accidentally rammed CSS General Sterling Price. In the ensuing chaos, she fired a close range shot at the approaching ironclad USS Benton  with her heavy 42lb smoohtebore. The Benton replied, striking Beauregard's boiler and seriously injuring several of the crew. Shortly thereafter, the vessel began to take on water. Many of those injured by the exploding boiler were rescued by the Benton. The remainder of the crew remained aboard the Beauregard attempting to save her until she was rammed, forced to surrender, and then taken in tow by USS Monarch, during which time she finally sank in relatively shallow water. Most of her remaining crew was rescued and taken prisoner by the Monarch.

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