Saturday, July 24, 2010
USS Fort Donelson at Norfolk
This is an 1864 picture of USS Fort Donelson in Norfolk shortly after being repaired. This sleek looking warship was formerly the Scottish-built blockade runner Robert E. Lee. As a blockade runner, the vessel gave the U.S. Navy fits as she was able to evade blockaders and leave them in her wake. Her luck ran out on November 9, 1863 when the blockaders USS Iron Age and James Adger caught and captured her.
The U.S. Navy did work off the theory that the best way to capture a blockade runner was with another blockade runner, particularly one as well designed as Robert E. Lee. Thus, Robert E. Lee was refitted, reflagged, and recommissioned Fort Donelson (after the 1862 battle on the Cumberland River). She served with the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron and participated in the second Fort Fisher campaign.