STEREO CARD VIEW OF THE GUN BOAT KANSAS IN THE JAMES RIVER

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Item Code: 490-2372

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Stereo card has a yellow mount and is titled on the edges “PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORY” and “THE WAR FOR THE UNION.”

Reverse has a blue label with a printed caption that reads “WAR VIEWS’ and GUN BOAT KANSAS. OFFICERS IN THE FOREGROUND. JAMES RIVER, VA. NO. 2691.” The line about “officers in the foreground” is scratched over in pencil. Label also has a canceled 2 cent tax stamp attached.

Image is a full length view of the KANSAS at midstream of the James River.

View is clear with excellent contrast.

The KANSAS was built at Philadelphia Navy Yard with machinery taken from the cargo of prize steamer PRINCESS ROYAL. She was launched 29 September 1863; sponsored by Miss Annie McClellan; and commissioned at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 21 December 1863, Lieutenant Commander Pendleton G. Watmough in command. She carried one 150-pounder rifle, two 12-pounder rifles, two 20-pounder Dahlgren rifles and two 9" Dahlgren smoothbores.

On the day of her commissioning, the gunboat was ordered to Hampton Roads, Virginia, to join the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. She arrived Newport News, Virginia, 30 December; but engine and boiler trouble required her to return to the Washington Navy Yard for repairs.

In March 1864 the gunboat was stationed at Wilmington, North Carolina, off New Inlet, where she served during most of the remainder of the war. With MOUNT VERNON, HOWQUAH and NANSEMOND, she engaged the Confederate ironclad-ram RALEIGH,  which had steamed over the bar at New Inlet 6 May to attack the Northern blockaders.

The withering fire from the Union ships caused RALEIGH to withdraw toward safety within the harbor, but she grounded and broke her back while attempting to cross the bar at the mouth of the Cape Fear River. After strenuous efforts to save the stricken vessel proved fruitless, she was destroyed to prevent her falling into Union hands.

Shortly before dawn 15 May, KANSAS ended a two-hour chase by capturing British steamer TRISTRAM SHANDY as the blockade runner attempted to escape to sea with a cargo of cotton, tobacco, and turpentine. The next day the proud gunboat towed her prize into Beaufort, North Carolina. On her return passage she brought Colonel James Jourdan to reconnoiter Confederate defenses at Fort Fisher in preparation for future attacks.

Throughout the night of 27–28 May, KANSAS chased a blockade-running steamer which finally escaped. After remaining on blockade duty at New Inlet until August, the gunboat returned to Philadelphia for repairs.

KANSAS rejoined her squadron late in September and returned to her old station off New Inlet in mid-October. On 7 December, while Admiral David Dixon Porter and General Benjamin F. Butler planned joint operations against Wilmington to close that vital Confederate port once and for all, Kansas was one of the Union gunboats which were making blockade-running in that quarter hazardous. That day they forced steamer STORMY PETREL ashore where she was abandoned by her crew and, a few days later, destroyed by a gale.

At daylight Christmas Eve, KANSAS was part of the huge fleet which formed in line of battle before Fort Fisher and pounded the Confederate works.

The next morning, the ships again opened fire on the fort and maintained the bombardment while troops landed near Flag Pond Battery, north of the main defensive works. Some 2,000 men established a beachhead under the protection of naval gunfire which kept the Confederate garrison pinned down and away from their guns.

However, General Butler, considering the works too strong to be carried by assault with the troops available, aborted the operation by ordering his troops to re-embark.

KANSAS was one of some five dozen ships which Porter sent against Fort Fisher 13 January 1865. A naval landing party of 2.000 sailors and marines reinforced 8.000 soldiers under Major General Alfred H. Terry. KANSAS and the other wooden warships formed in line of battle in close order and shelled Flag Pond Battery and the adjacent woods at 0715. Half an hour later they sent in boats to assist in disembarking the landing party which went ashore out of range of the fort's guns and eventually captured the fort.

Once the beachhead had been established, Kansas stood toward Fort Fisher to join in the bombardment of the main Confederate works. She continued the bombardment intermittently for the next 2 days. Shortly before noon 15 January, her launch went ashore with 20 men to join the naval brigade for the final push. The gunboat maintained heavy fire during the following hours while soldiers, sailors, and marines braved the deadly fire of the stouthearted Southern defenders. Finally, at 2200, loud cheering and illumination of the fleet announced the fall of the forts.

KANSAS moved to the James River late in February to support General Grant's final drive to Richmond. From time to time during the closing weeks of the war, KANSAS supported Union Army operations ashore with her guns, particularly near Petersburg, Virginia. The day after General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, the gunboat was ordered to a station off Cape Henry to prevent the escape of Confederate sympathizers who were reportedly planning to capture vessels in the bay.

KANSAS remained in US service until 1883 when she was sold to a private owner.  [ad]

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