Annual Ed Bearss Presentation
“The Raising of the Ironclad USS Cairo”
Sunday, January 13 from 2 – 3:30 pm
Cullman Auditorium, NC History Center, 529 South Front Street
“How not to raise an ironclad.” On Dec. 12, 1862, naval history was made when the Union ironclad USS Cairo (pronounced “KAY-row”), involved in the campaign against Vicksburg, was sunk in twelve short minutes in Mississippi’s Yazoo River, the first armored vessel sunk by a remotely detonated mine. The gunboat lay largely forgotten for 98 years until a group led by Ed Bearss, then Vicksburg National Military Park Chief Historian, discovered the hulk resting on the bottom of the river.
On Sunday, January 13, the now 95-year-old Chief Historian Emeritus of the National Park Service, Ed Bearss will recount the raising of the Cairo. This real life adventure story even includes Ed’s appearance on a TV game show to help fund the project! The story of the difficult salvage operations and its final restoration, in Ed’s words “how not to raise an ironclad” is a story only Ed can tell with his characteristic humility and humor.
A Marine Corps veteran of WWII injured at Suicide Creek, Ed Bearss is a renowned military historian, an author known for his work on the American Civil War and World War II eras, and a popular tour guide of historic battlefields for The Smithsonian Associates. A respected PBS commentator, Bearss was one of the stars of Ken Burns’ award-winning PBS TV series “The Civil War.” After many years as a historian with the National Park Service, he served as Chief Historian and is now Chief Historian Emeritus.
Bearss has led thousands of unique tours of historic sites associated with the Civil War, the American Revolution, World War I and World War II in Europe, Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, and the American West. He has been named by Smithsonian Magazine as one of the “35 Who Made A Difference,” along with the likes of Maya Angelou, Steven Spielberg, and Sally Ride. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear this icon.
Bearss was instrumental in researching and planning the restoration of New Bern’s Civil War Battlefield Park. This will be his thirteenth visit to New Bern.
Reservations are recommended and can be made with a suggested $10 donation, with all proceeds going to help with extensive hurricane repairs at New Bern Civil War Battlefield Park. Make reservations here or by calling the office at 252.638.8558.
This lecture is presented by the New Bern Historical Society in partnership with the
New Bern Civil War Round Table and Tryon Palace.