The " Nashvilles' " Blues, The Story Of Several Ships And A Healing Ark

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
Mar 18, 2017
View attachment 175643
One of the Federal " Nashvilles ", a veritable, 3-story arc, filled with healing, comfort and swift passage for wounded men. In service by late March, 1863, the steamer rivaled Red Rover in size and technology it carried to the benefit of wounded.

Late February and March, 1863 was a weird time for a ship christened " Nashville ". Hit 8 times, run aground, burned to the waterline, the most famous, Confederate steamer CSS Nashville was near Savannah carrying 920 bales of cotton. USS Montauk , a Federal ironclad in the vicinity, became, er, quarrelsome over the passage whch included a certain Blockade- hence the 8 shots. Once on fire, the two hundred pounds of powder on board left skyward in an explosion reportedly heard in the city, some miles distant. She'd been Rattlesnake and Thomas L. Wragg in a career successfully slipping the Blockade- eluding the best of the best; first ship ( if sources are to be believed ) to fly the flag which would have ensured her capture.

View attachment 175638
Harper's ran one of their illustrated articles shortly afterwards, typically capturing the violent encounter.

Two weeks later, there's this;
View attachment 175641
View attachment 175640
Point being, the ' Rebel ' steamer ' Nashville ' does not seem to have been, at least could not have been from the time line, the new, gargantuan, Red Rover-ish floating hospital, ' Nashville '? Cannot figure out which on earth ' Nashville ' it may have been- the hulk last seen February 28th, behind on shore, smouldering, in Georgia. Towed and transformed into a three story condominium replete with era cherries on top, for the benefit of wounded? Honest, if I'm wrong, will happily be corrected, it just seems improbable, is the thing. perhaps yet another, union ship rose from CSS Nashville/Rattlesnake/Thomas L Wragg's rugged, dogged hull- timeline for this one is mind boggling, you know?

View attachment 175648
Story on CSS Nashville's last moments, published nearly 2 weeks later. From reading, it sure seemed CSS Nashville had been in the past capable of being invisible- a whole, ' nother story.

The Hospital Ship " Nashville " was announced in newspapers by mid March, 1863. It was quite wonderful! We hear a great deal of our Red Rover, a towering, floating, luxury liner of healing. " Nashville " was to be its equal, be sure. For Hospital Ship Nashville to have arisen from the hull of the wrecked and burned CSS Nashville, technology we employ in 2018 would have been necessary- if it were possible with this indulgence.

OH and yes, the Confederacy was not finished with ' CSS ' and ' Nashville '. An 1864 warship , a side wheel steam casemate ironclad was in time to not take part in the majority of the war, she did shell Federals before surrender. Shortages disallowed full armoring- this " Nashville " lacked enough to withstand attack.
View attachment 175636

The healing Nashville ? Union or Confederate, seems fitting to me, no matter which hull was used the name was built into a vessel so well adapted to repairing ravages of war. I'd still like to know if A ' Nashville ' hull was used- and which ship it may have been.

Putting this in the Medical Care Forum on purpose because ships aside, we do not focus on the water side of war's healing. These hospital ships were not mere transports but hospitals on water. Massive? Took apart the " Nashville " photo to highlight how huge. Think about how many wounded- article states 1,000.

View attachment 175644
Just the back ' door ', note little space wasted in stern, outside. Posed photo shows wounded carried up plant, you'd guess staff ready to take action.

View attachment 175642
Nurses on the roof, maybe a child- tough to tell when the ship is so large, a blow up can't get a good look. Unclear what this was for, looks perhaps to be laundry.

View attachment 175645
Full sized windows, three stories tall, on a steamer- this was some ' ship '.

View attachment 175664
No accident, anything in these posed photographs. A group keeps watch over a small group of cattle. Have a feeling they went on board somewhere, too. For the kitchen in this small, floating city.

Have a thread on ' Floating Nurses ". Will find specific nurses who served on the Nashville, we had quite a few plus when the Sanitary Commission got involved they left copious records.

View attachment 175666
Inside one of the floating mansions, this Red Rover where the Sisters famously ran a peaceful, snug ship. They also famously taught black women ' how to ' on nursing, beginning vocations extending post war.

You just cannot create a thread on ' Hospital Ship Nashville ' without trying to disentangle the names- Union or Confederate, the navies had an incredible, incredibly important, frequently overlooked war with astonishing stories. Perhaps naming a floating arc of healing in recognition of one, meant something else.
Thank you for the pictures and information. I was researching my Union Ancestor and in his pension and war records he states he worked on this ship at Vicksburg as a nurse.
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!