Tuesday, January 17, 2012

USS Cayuga Model

This is a ship model of the USS Cayuga, a Civil War-era gunboat.  The ship was one of the "90-day" gunboats built by private shipbuilders at the beginning of the war.  Officially a part of the Unadilla-class, the press gave Cayuga and her twenty-three sister ships the "90-day" label as they allegedly were to built in just three months.  While none of them were finished in time advertised shipbuilders did deliver most of them by the end of 1861.  The class of ship fill the Navy's critical need for coastal warships to serve in the littoral regions of the Confederacy.

USS Cayuga as drawn by noted naval artist R.G. Skerret

Cayuga herself did not served in the Hampton Roads region (she served with Farragut's squadron in the Mississippi River).  However, many of her sister ships like USS Aroostook did.  As all the ships were almost exact duplicates of each other, the model is effective interpretation tool for this part of the region's Civil War history.

Photograph of USS Aroostook in the Far East during anti-piracy duties

The model itself is 1/8 an inch to 1 foot model.  Master ship mode maker Tom Tragel restored the model in 1984.  It can be seen in the museum's Civil War gallery.

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