USS Cairo History

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USS Cairo (1861)[edit]

(pronounced "Kay-roh") was a City class ironclad gunboat constructed for the Union Navy by James B. Eads during the American Civil War. She was the first vessel of the City class ironclads, also called the Cairo class.

Cairo was the first ship sunk by a naval mine, on 12 December 1862 in the Yazoo River.

Service in the American Civil War[edit]

Cairo was built in 1861 by James Eads and Co., Mound City, Illinois, under contract to the United States Department of War. She was commissioned as part of the Union Army's Western Gunboat Flotilla, U.S. Navy Lieutenant James M. Prichett in command.

Cairo served with the Army's Western Gunboat Fleet, commanded by Flag Officer Andrew Hull Foote, on the Mississippi River and Ohio Rivers and their tributaries until transferred to the Navy 1 October 1862 with the other river gunboats.

Active in the occupation of Clarksville, Tennessee, 17 February 1862, and of Nashville, Tennessee, 25 February, Cairo stood down the river 12 April escorting mortar boats to begin the lengthy operations against Fort Pillow. An engagement with Confederate gunboats at Battle of Plum Point Bend on 11 May marked a series of blockading and bombardment activities which culminated in the abandonment of the Fort by its defenders on 4 June.

Two days later, 6 June 1862, Cairo joined in the triumph of seven Union ships and a tug over eight Confederate gunboats off Memphis, Tennessee, an action in which five of the opposing gunboats were sunk or run ashore, two seriously damaged, and only one managed to escape. That night Union forces occupied the city. Cairo returned to patrol on the Mississippi until 21 November when she joined the Yazoo Expedition.

On 12 December 1862, while clearing mines from the river preparatory to the attack on Haines Bluff, Mississippi, Cairo struck a Naval mine detonated by volunteers hidden behind the river bank and sank in 12 minutes; there were no casualties. Cairo became the first armored warship sunk by an electrically detonated mine.

Armament[edit]

Like many of the Mississippi theatre ironclads, Cairo had its armament changed over life of the vessel. To expedite the entrance of Cairo into service, she and the other City-class ships were fitted with whatever weapons were available; then had their weapons upgraded as new pieces became available. Though the Dahlgren gun smoothbore cannons were fairly modern most of the other original armaments were antiquated; such as the 32-pounders, or modified; such as the 42-pounder "rifles" which were in fact, old smoothbores that had been gouged out to give them rifling. These 42-pounder weapons were of particular concern to military commanders because they were structurally weaker and more prone to exploding than purpose-built rifled cannons. Additionally, the close confines of riverine combat greatly increased the threat of boarding parties. The 12-pounder howitzer was equipped to address that concern and was not used in regular combat.

Discovery of her wreck[edit]

Over the years the gunboat was forgotten and her watery grave was slowly covered by a shroud of silt and sand. Impacted in mud, Cairo became a time capsule in which her priceless artifacts were preserved. Her whereabouts became a matter of speculation as members of the crew had died and local residents were unsure of the location.

By studying contemporary documents and maps, Ed Bearss, a historian at Vicksburg National Military Park, was able to plot the approximate site of the wreck. With the help of a pocket compass and iron bar probes, Bearss and two companions, Don Jacks and Warren Grabau, set out to discover the grave of the Cairo in 1956. The three searchers were reasonably convinced they had found the Cairo, but three years lapsed before divers brought up armored port covers to confirm the find. A heavy accumulation of silt, swift current, and the ever-muddy river deterred the divers as they explored the gunboat. Local enthusiasm and interest began to grow in 1960 with the recovery of the pilothouse, an 8 inch smoothbore cannon, its white oak carriage, and other artifacts well preserved by the Yazoo River mud. With financial support from the State of Mississippi, the Warren County Board of Supervisors and funds raised locally, efforts to salvage the gunboat began in earnest.

Salvage and museum[edit]

Hopes of lifting the ironclad and her cargo of artifacts intact were crushed in October 1964 when the three inch cables being used to lift the Cairo cut deeply into its wooden hull. It then became a question of saving as much of the vessel as possible. A decision was made to cut the Cairo into three sections. By the end of December the battered remains were put on barges and towed to Vicksburg, Mississippi. In the summer of 1965 the barges carrying the Cairo were towed to Ingalls Shipyard on the Gulf Coast in Pascagoula, Mississippi. There the armor was removed, cleaned and stored. The two engines were taken apart, cleaned and reassembled. Sections of the hull were braced internally and a sprinkler system was operated continually to keep the white oak structural timbers from warping and checking. On 3 September 1971, the Cairo was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1972, the United States Congress enacted legislation authorizing the National Park Service to accept title to Cairo and restore the gunboat for display in Vicksburg National Military Park. Delays in funding the project halted progress until June 1977, when the vessel was transported to the park and partially reconstructed on a concrete foundation near the Vicksburg National Cemetery. A shelter to cover the vessel was completed in October 1980, with the museum opening in November. The original space-frame shelter has recently been replaced by a tension-fabric system to provide better cover.

The recovery of artifacts from Cairo revealed a treasure trove of weapons, munitions, naval stores, and personal gear of the sailors who served on board. The gunboat and its artifacts can now be seen along the tour road at the USS Cairo Museum. These even include a sailor's rope knife in very good condition, as reported in Knives and their Values, 4th edition by Bernard Levine.

The USS Cairo has been degrading since been exposed to the elements, bird droppings, and vandals who have grabbed a piece of her hull. Perhaps with the new quarter that will be released in 2011 a fund could be established to enclosed the best-preserved Civil War ironclad. There are only 3 surviving Civil War-era ironclads in existence, CSS Neuse, USS Cairo, and CSS Muscogee, CSS Jackson; soon Cairo will be the only one outdoors in the brutal Southern climate.

HMS Cairo (D87)[edit]

HMS Cairo (D87) was a C-class light cruiser of the Royal Navy, named after the Egyptian capital, Cairo. So far she has been the only ship of the Royal Navy to bear the name. She was part of the Carlisle group of the C-class of cruisers.

She was laid down by Cammell Laird at Birkenhead on 28 November 1917, launched on 19 November 1918 and commissioned on 24 September 1919.

Cairo was not ready for service in World War I and her first posting was to the China Station in 1920, followed by the East Indies Station from 1921 to 1925. After a further temporary attachment to the China Station until 1927, she joined the 8th Cruiser Squadron on the North America and West Indies Station.

From 1928 to 1930, Cairo was in the Mediterranean as flagship for the Rear-Admiral(D). After a refit in 1931 - 1932, she was with the Home Fleet as Commodore(D). She was converted to an anti-aircraft cruiser in 1939.

In World War II she took part in the Norwegian Campaign where she was damaged by German aircraft off Narvik on 28 May 1940.

In the Mediterranean she led the escort of a six cargo-ship convoy from Gibraltar to Malta, code named Operation Harpoon, which endured intense air strikes. The British squadron also faced the attack of an Italian cruiser division in the Sicilia channel. Four merchantmen and two destroyers were sunk, while Cairo herself was hit by two 6" rounds from the Italian cruiser Montecuccoli and lost two members of her crew.

In August 1942, Cairo took part in Operation Pedestal, the escorting of a convoy to Malta. During the operation she was sunk by the Italian submarine Axum north of Bizerta, Tunisia on 12 August 1942.

NX-11 (Cairo)[edit]

On January 1st, 2155 NX-11 (Cairo) was Commissioned under the Command of Commander Nora Dartt. Her primary mission is to seek out new life and new civilizations. To go where no one has gone before. Since the explorations of the NX-01 (Enterprise) Starfleet has decided to push for more ships to be built to explore the vast unknown. Their are so many possibilities out their that they sent the Cairo to begin explorations immediately. With the crew fully staffed and ready to go the Cairo sets out on its mission of exploration.

USS Cairo (NCC-42136)[edit]

The USS Cairo (NCC-42136) was a Federation Excelsior-class explorer in service to Starfleet in the mid to late 24th century. Cairo had an illustrious service career.

In 2354, the Cairo was performing a survey of an uncharted planet along the Cardassian border, when the first officer was ambushed and killed by Cardassians. As a result, Captain Ashford made Lieutenant Commander Edward Jellico, who had served aboard the Cairo for several years, first officer. When Ashford was killed during a Cardassian attack in 2360, Jellico was made captain of the Cairo.

During Captain Jellico's tenure aboard the Cairo, the starship was assigned to the Federation/Cardassian border.

In 2369, the Cairo rendezvoused with the USS Enterprise-D for Jellico to assume command while Jean-Luc Picard performed a secret mission behind Cardassian lines. Jellico was tasked with trying to negotiate with the Cardassians to stop their invasion of Minos Korva, and negotiate the release of Captain Picard from Gul Madred. When the crisis was over, Jellico transferred back to the Cairo.

Following Jellico's promotion to admiral in 2370, Leslie Wong assumed command of the Cairo.

Circa 2371, the Cairo's crew worked alongside the crew of the Enterprise in searching for the missing USS Voyager.

In 2374, the Cairo was assigned to patrol the Romulan Neutral Zone, when she was engaged by Dominion forces that had entered Romulan space. The Cairo didn't survive the encounter.

USS Cairo (NCC-42136-A)[edit]

Finally in 2378 the USS Cairo NCC-42136-A a Galaxy-class was commissioned, the previous CO was unknown until she was decommissioned in 2383. Finally in 2385 she was brought back to active service and done a refit and resupply on the systems. Colonel Katana Leah had taken the reigns of the USS Cairo-A, until Leah stepped down as CO, later on Colonel M'risa had taken over as Commanding Officer. The USS Cairo was later destroyed in 2386 by a Borg attack which crippled the ship and finally was put to rest.

USS Cairo (NCC-42136-B)[edit]

Then in 2386 Starfleet has granted that the USS Cairo NCC-42136-B be brought back as a Defiant-class Starship under the Command of Colonel M'risa. But, until she was destroyed in a unknown emergency destruction that couldn't be stopped. The USS Cairo-B was destroyed, crew had escaped but the Commanding Officer Colonel M'risa was killed while trying to stop the destruction of the Cairo.

USS Cairo (NCC-42136-C)[edit]

In 2387 a year after the previous USS Cairo was destroyed the new USS Cairo NCC-42136-C a Luna-class Starship was commissioned and was back under the Command of Colonel Katana Leah and was assigned to Task Force 72 and Roosevelt Station as a Multi-Purpose Ship.

USS Cairo (NCC-42136-D)[edit]

October 2388 the USS Cairo C had experienced a major malfunction of its Slipstream Drive which caused the warp core to malfunction and the Engineering team wasn't able to reverse it and in the end the USS Cairo C had exploded. Luckily everyone escaped safely before the explosion. When they arrived at Roosevelt after being rescued by a ship passing by Colonel Leah received Command of the USS Cairo D a newly built Sovereign Class ship which would be the 5th ship to bear the name Cairo.