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General Breckinridge

 

(StwRam: cpl. 35; a. 1 24-pdr.)

 

General Breckinridge, also called R. J. Breckinridge or Breckinridge, was selected at New Orleans, La., by Capt. J. E. Montgomery to be part of his River Defense Fleet [See Annex II]. On 25 January 1862 Captain Montgomery began to convert her into a cottonclad ram by placing a 4-inch oak sheath with a 1-inch iron covering on her bow, and by installing double pine bulkheads filled with compressed cotton bales.

 

On 22 April 1862, as soon as her conversion was completed, General Breckinridge, under Capt. J. B. Smith, left New Orleans for Fort Jackson on the lower Mississippi to cooperate in the Confederate defense of New Orleans. General Breckinridge, with five other ships of Montgomery's River Defense Fleet in that area, was under the overall command of Capt. J. A. Stevenson. On 24 April 1862, when Flag Officer D. G. Farragut, USN, ran his fleet past Forts Jackson and St. Philip on his way to capture New Orleans, General Breckinridge was abandoned by her crew and burned to keep her from falling into Union hands.