|Cannon like that on the Ivy|
The Confederates around New Orleans have begun to make preparations to drive off the blockading squadron which was obstructing the shipping from the Mississippi River. One hundred and fifty years ago today a small steamer, the CSS Ivy, skirmished with the large Union sloops. The Union commander, John Pope, panicked because the Ivy’s guns were rifled and long range.
Sir: I have to report that the Ivy (steamer) has been down this after noon and made an attack upon these ships, throwing shot and shell over this ship and the Preble, keeping herself entirely out of the range of any guns on board either of the ships, her shot passing some 500 yards over this ship, which makes it evident that we are entirely at the mercy of the enemy. We are liable to be driven from here at any moment, and, situated as we are, our position is untenable. I may be captured at any time by a pitiful little steamer mounting only one gun. The distance at which she was firing I should estimate at 4 miles, with heavy rifled cannon, throwing her shot and shell far beyond us. This may have been an experiment to ascertain the range of our guns, which they now have, and of course will quickly avail themselves of the knowledge….
As the coming battle would show, Pope’s fears were unfounded. The Ivy and her sister ships were too weak to actually do significant damage to the Union vessels.
1. Official records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, I, v. 16, p. 699 – 700