July 4th, 2012: Capture of the Teaser

Posted on: 07/07/2012

150 years ago today an interesting action occurred on the James River.  A Union gunboat was able to capture intact a Confederate tug named the Teaser.  While not a very well-known incident It was certainly a boost for Union forces along the James who were still recovering from the Seven Day’s Battles.

The image above shows a place you would not want to be standing 150 years ago today.  This shot was taken aboard the Teaser after her capture by the USS Maratanza.  Here is the account of the action by the Maratanza’s commander T. H. Stevens:

The damage shown in the photo was done by the third shot from the Maratanza, which was a shell that exploded the Teaser’s boiler.  Somehow the entire ship was not destroyed, and the crippled vessel was abandoned for the Confederates to take.  The prize was more than just the ship as Stevens outlines, and included supplies for Confederate mines in the James (called submarine batteries in the report) as well as a Confederate observation balloon. 

Above: The USS Maratanza shortly after it captured the Teaser.

There are two more known photographs of the Teaser, which show the guns that were captured:

Here is the 10 pound rifled gun mention in Stevens’ report, and…

Here is the large 32 pounder, banded and rifled with an example of the type of projectile it fired just behind the gun.

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