National Civil War Naval Museum
The massive Brooke rifle from the
ironclad CSS Jackson is fired on
special occasions. The huge blast
shakes the entire riverfront.
(Courtesy of Ashley Pollette)
Cannon from the Jackson
This massive Brooke rifle was part
of the planned armament for the
Jackson. The ironclad was nearly
ready for action when she was
captured during the Battle of
National Civil War Naval Museum - Columbus, Georgia
NATIONAL CIVIL WAR NAVAL
|National Civil War Naval Museum
The wreck of the CSS Jackson, a massive Civil War
ironclad, is among the large-scale displays that can
be seen at Port Columbus museum.
Civil War History in Columbus
The National Civil War Naval Museum is
home to a remarkable collection of ships and
artifacts. It overlooks the Chattahoochee
River and the RIverwalk in Columbus,
Established to preserve the wrecks of two
Confederate warships recovered from the
Chattahoochee, the museum has grown to
become one of the best Civil War interpretive
facilities in the country. In addition to the
wrecks of the gunboat CSS Chattahoochee
and ironclad CSS Jackson, the museum
houses partial reconstructions of Admiral
Farragut's flagship, the USS Hartford, the
famed ironclad CSS Albemarle and a
full-size reproduction of the USS Waterwitch.
Other exhibits include Civil War cannon, flags
uniforms, weapons and artifacts used by the
sailors of both Confederate and Union
The most impressive artifact in the museum
is the massive wreck of the CSS Jackson.
The huge ironclad was nearing completion
when Union troops attacked Columbus in the
last major land battle of the War Between the
States (or Civil War) on April 16, 1865.
Nearly 225 feet long and 54 feet wide, the
Jackson weighed 2000 tons and was the
largest ironclad built from the hull up by the
Confederacy. She was tied up dockside for
final fitting when Union troops won the Battle
of Columbus and captured the city.
They set fire to the ship and set her adrift on
the Chattahoochee where she burned to the
waterline and sank into the mud. The
Jackson remained on the bottom of the river
until she was raised in 1961.
Also displayed in the museum is the stern
section of the Confederate wooden warship
CSS Chattahoochee. Built at Saffold near the
Florida line, she was an active defender of
the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint
River system. The ship was raising steam on
the Apalachicola River during an unusual
May hurricane in 1863 when she sank in a
A faulty gauge caused the accident, in which
the gunboat's crew released water into a
super-heated boiler. The resulting steam
explosion scalded 16 men to death in an
instant and severely burned several other
men. Afraid that the ship's magazines might
explode, her crew sank her to deck level in
the muddy river.
Please click here to read more about the
explosion aboard CSS Chattahooochee.
Taken to Columbus and repaired, the CSS
Chattahoochee was started downstream by
her crew as Union troops attacked the city in
1865. They made it a few miles but ultimately
abandoned their ship after setting her afire
themselves. Like the Jackson, the gunboat
burned to the waterline and sank to the
bottom of the Chattahoochee River. Her stern
section was raised during the 1960s and is
now on display in the National Civil War
After inspecting the wrecks of the two
warships, visitors to the museum explore
displays featuring a wide array of artifacts
before entering a reconstructed section of the
USS Hartford. There you can learn how
sailors and officers lived aboard ship during
the Civil War and explore recreated interior
rooms of the famed vessel.
Leaving the Hartford, visitors see flags from
Civil War ships and even iron plating from the
famed ironclad USS Monitor.
Among the flags is one that is believed to
have flown from the famed Southern ironclad
CSS Arkansas. That makeshift vessel
smashed through the entire Union fleet at
You can also explore a reconstructed Civil
War dock area before climbing aboard a
partial reconstruction of the CSS Albemarle.
This famed ironclad patrolled the waters of
coastal North Carolina and engaged in one
of the most dramatic naval battles of the war.
The Albemarle reconstruction features a
battle theater, where visitors experience the
sights and sounds of being aboard a Civil
War ironclad during battle.
On the museum grounds can be found one
of the original massive Brooke rifles from the
CSS Jackson. Fired by reenactors on special
occasions, the blast of the cannon shakes
the ground through much of Columbus.
Also on the grounds is a full size replica of
the USS Water Witch. The Union warship
was captured and destroyed near Savannah
in 1864. The reproduction offers the unique
chance to walk the decks of a U.S. Navy ship
of the Civil War era.
The National Civil War Naval Museum
complex, called Port Columbus, is located at
1002 Victory Drive, Columbus, Georgia. It is
also accessible from the Riverwalk.
The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.,
Tuesday-Saturday, and 12:30 p.m. to 4:30
p.m. on Sundays and Mondays. Admission is
$7.50 for adults, $6.50 for military & seniors,
and $6 for students. Kids under 6 can visit for
free with an adult.
Please click here to visit the official website
for more informaion.
Civil War Navy History
The museum is beautiful facility that
interprets the history of both the U.S.
and Confederate navies during the
War Between the States (or Civil
The Albemarle steams again!
Visitors to the museum can climb
aboard a recreation of the ironclad
CSS Albemarle to experience the
famed vessel's battle against the
The stern section of the wooden
warship CSS Chattahoochee has
been raised and is on display at the
museum. It was destroyed after the
Battle of Columbus.
|Copyright 2012 & 2015 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Last Updated: April 15, 2015