Columbus, Georgia: National Civil War Naval Museum

RoadsideAmerica.com Team Field Report

Address:
1002 Victory Dr., Columbus, GA
Directions:
Best access is to exit I-185 at exit 1 (Victory Drive), drive five miles west, and stop at the first big ship on the left.
Hours:
Su-M 12:30-4:30, Tu-Sa 10-4:30. (Call to verify)
Phone:
706-327-9798
Admission:
Adults $6.50, active military and seniors (65+) $5.50, students $5
RA Rates:
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Visitor Tips and News About National Civil War Naval Museum

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Ironclad diorama. National Civil War Naval Museum

The National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus opened a new 38,000 sq. foot museum in 2001. It features the remains of two original Confederate Navy warships along with full scale rebuilt portions of other famous ships of the period, including the USS Monitor. Also on display is a huge collection of uniforms, flags, weapons, art and other materials; the largest display of Civil War navy related artifacts on display in the nation.

The newest exhibit is a full scale reproduction of the USS Water Witch, a Union Navy gunboat captured by the Confederate Navy in a commando raid in 1864. This side wheel steamer still features two 90 foot high masts. The ship is now open to tour and is located right on Victory Drive next to the museum.

[Bruce Smith, 06/03/2009]
Confederate ship wreck. National Civil War Naval Museum (former Confederate Naval Museum)

The odd thing about the National Civil War Naval Museum is that it's located in Columbus, GA, which is something like 300 miles away from the nearest major body of water! It is located near to the site of the Confederate Naval Yards, however. During the American Civil War, the Confederates used this site to create ships and would ship them down the Chattahoochee River to the Gulf of Mexico. One of these ships, the C.S.S. Jackson, was captured and burned near the end of the war. The hull of this burned out ship is there at the museum, and is preserved. It has a superstructure to show exactly how big it is. Also, outside of the museum, on the river, is a large 8-pounder (meaning it shoots an eight-pound projectile) cannon that was from the Jackson. It still works, and they fire it almost every day. There are reconstructions of Union vessels, and of the living quarters that they would have had. Also, there is a video of how it would be like if you were in a metal vessel from the Civil War.

Across the street from the museum is the old Atlanta Olympic Softball stadium, and also the Columbus Civic Center where a minor-league hockey team and a developmental league basketball team plays.

[Matthew, 10/13/2004]

We visited a few years ago, before it underwent a name change and lost "Confederate." It's next to the Chattahoochee River. Our notes: Ruined ship hull dredged from river bottom, on display and sheltered by concrete canopy. Museum wraps around and is half buried. The CSS Jackson was burned by Yankees down to the waterline while set adrift a few weeks before its completion in April, 1865. Keg torpedo on display -- 120 lbs of explosives, Demijohn Torpedo was a 5-gallon glass jug that was effective and actually sunk the Cairo, a northern ironclad on display in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Museum exhibits scale models of ironclads, "Dawn of Naval Armor," blockade runners.

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