Here’s what happened.
The brief career of the Confederate States Ship (CSS) Rattlesnake ended on February 28, 1863. The ship came under attack by a flotilla of Union gunboats and sank in the Ogeechee River, roughly 20 miles south of Savannah, Georgia.
Here’s why it matters.
The ship was commissioned in 1853 as the United States Mail Service (USMS) ship Nashville. Between 1853 and 1861, Nashville worked a service route between New York City and Charleston, South Carolina. Confederate forces seized her in Charleston after Fort Sumter surrendered.
On February 28, 1862 Nashville was sold for use as a blockade runner. In November of that year she was commissioned as the privateer Rattlesnake.
One year to the day after her sale, the United State Ships (USS) Dawn, Montauk, Seneca, C.P. Williams, and Wissahickon spotted Rattlesnake entering the Ogeechee River from Ossabaw Sound. Cannons from the Confederate garrison at Fort McAllister did not deter the Union ships as they pursued Rattlesnake up the river. Union barrages set the vessel on fire, and she sank soon afterwards.
Here’s an interesting fact!
Another ship called CSS Nashville was commissioned by the Confederacy in November 1864 as an ironclad warship. The Confederates repelled several attempts to take Fort McAllister until Georgia’s most infamous foe, Brigadier General William Tecumseh Sherman, finally accomplished it on December 15, 1864. He captured Savannah a week later. The second Nashville became Union property in 1865, and was sold for scrap in 1867. Fort McAllister is now a state park.