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Forerunners of the light-draught gunboat — ferryboats converted into war-vessels

In these pictures are seen two of the navy's converted ferryboat fleet. The “McDonough” (first picture) was taken while on duty near Hilton Head by a lieutenant of volunteers who possessed one of those rare new instruments, a camera. She was quite thoroughly armored. Under command of Lieutenant-Commander Bacon she was lying in Stono River, February 1, 1863, when the “Isaac Smith,” going up the river to make a reconnaissance, was entrapped by three concealed Confederate batteries. The “McDonough” got under way to the assistance of the “Isaac Smith,” but was unable to stand the fire of the heavy rifled guns that finally caused the surrender of the “Isaac Smith.” Thus these improvised gunboats went bravely to their tasks, sometimes winning single-handed against superior force, sometimes paying the penalty of their boldness in cruising up rivers and about sounds and bayous where hostile batteries and gunboats lay concealed or where troops were ambushed ready to pick off the pilot and anyone else who showed himself. The necessities of this sort of inland warfare taught the navy the value of the light-draught.

The gunboat McDonough.

The gunboat “Parks


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Isaac Smith (3)
Parks (1)
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February 1st, 1863 AD (1)
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