Today in Military History: Dec. 12, 1862, USS Cairo sinks

On December 12, 1862, the Confederate Army’s torpedo, which was actually a mine, sinks the USS Cairo in the Yazoo River, just outside Vicksburg, Miss.

USS Cairo, National Park Service

Two confederates, Zedekiah McDaniel and Francis M. Ewing, detonated the torpedoes with an electric charge. Two explosions ripped a large hole in the port bow causing the Cairo to quickly fill with water. Within 12 minutes, it sank to the bottom in six fathoms (36 feet) of water, but with no loss of life, according to the National Park Service. The USS Cairo becomes the first armored ship to be sunk by an electrically detonated mine. The ship sat on the bottom of the muddy Mississippi until Dec. 12, 1964.

You can visit the site at Vicksburg National Military Park.

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