Confederate Navy Baggage Tag - Inventory Number: CON 171
Rare original brass baggage tag from the famous Steamer Nashville. Designed to inventory baggage, this tag is number “35” and bears a six-pointed star device at the bottom. The face has a wonderful natural patina with the reverse retaining a gold gilt finish.
Originally a United States Mail Service ship, the USMS Nashville was built at Greenpoint, Brooklyn in 1853. Between 1853 and 1861 she was engaged in running between New York City and Charleston, South Carolina. During the Battle of Fort Sumter, the USMS Nashville sailed into Charleston without flying the US national standard and was fired upon by the USRC Harriet Lane which marked the first shot of the naval war in the Civil War. The Nashville raised the American flag, and after the surrender of Sumter, the Nashville docked at Charleston.
After the fall of Fort Sumter, the Confederates captured her at Charleston and fitted her out as a cruiser. Under the command of Lieutenant Robert B. Pegram, CSN, she ran the blockade on October 21, 1861, and headed across the Atlantic to Southampton, England, the first ship of war to fly the Confederate flag in English waters. On November 19, 1861, near the British Isles, she boarded and burned an American merchant ship, the Harvey Birch, the first such action by a Confederate commerce raider in the North Atlantic during the war.
Nashville returned to Beaufort, North Carolina on February 28, 1862, having captured two prizes worth US $66,000 during the cruise. In this interval she was sold for use as a blockade runner and renamed Thomas L. Wragg.
On November 5, 1862, she was commissioned as the privateer Rattlesnake. After she ran fast aground on the Ogeechee River, Georgia, the monitor USS Montauk destroyed her with shell fire from 11-inch and 15-inch turret guns on February 28, 1863.
Inventory Number: CON 171