Career Confederate Naval Jack 1861 – 1863 CSA FLAG 4.3.1861-21.5.1861.svg
Name: CSS Tennessee
Laid down: 1862
Fate: burned, 5 June 1862
General characteristics
Length: 165 ft (50 m)
Beam: 35 ft (11 m)
Draft: 11 ft 6 in (3.51 m)
Speed: 8 knots
Complement: 200 officers and men
Armament: designed for 6 guns

The first CSS Tennessee was an ironclad ram, built for the Confederate States Navy.

Tennessee was begun by John T. Shirley and Company, at Memphis, Tennessee, under fixed price contract for $76,920. Chief constructor of the twin-screw ironclad was a Mr. Prime Emerson.

In correspondence with Major General Leonidas Polk, CSA, throughout January 1862, seeking Army workmen from Columbus, Kentucky, Secretary Stephen Mallory promised for Tennessee and her sister, Arkansas, building at Shirley's yard, that "with such aid as mechanics under your command can afford, they may be completed, I am assured, in 60 days." The desired "shipwrights, carpenters and joiners in the Army" were refused—"on furlough or otherwise" —although the general was reminded that, "One of them at Columbus would have enabled you to complete the annihilation of the enemy . . . Mr. Shirley," Mallory prophesied correctly, "will fail in completing them within the stipulated time entirely from the difficulty of obtaining workmen", although they "would be worth many regiments in defending the river."

Little more is known of the first Tennessee, which was never completed. She was burned on the stocks by order of the provost marshal, 5 June 1862, to escape capture.

See CSS Tennessee for other ships of this name.

This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

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