The CSS Arkansas

A Confederate Ironclad on Western Waters


While the Monitor and Merrimack are the most famous of the Civil War ironclads, the Confederacy had another ship in its flotilla that carried high hopes and a metal hull. The makeshift CSS Arkansas, completed by Lt. Isaac Newton Brown and manned by a mixed crew of volunteers, gave the South a surge of confidence when it launched in 1862. For 28 days of summer, the ship engaged in five battles with Union warships, falling victim in the end only to her own primitive engines. The saga of the CSS Arkansas represents the last significant Rebel naval activity in the war's Western theater.