The Arkansas Passing the Carondelet in the Yazoo River 15 July 1862



This painting by David Kleinman depicts the rusty-colored CSS Arkansas passing the USS Carondelet during their fight in the Yazoo River on the morning of 15 Jul 1862. The painting is oil on canvas, 24 x 36. We at are pleased to have the artist's permission to show this work, completed Winter 2018-2019.

This was the first of the Arkansas' three encounters with the enemy on that day. The sun had barely risen, showing pink on the clouds and lighting the tops of the forests lining the Yazoo. But already her smokestack was so perforated that her speed was degraded, and cannon balls had damaged some of her iron cladding. As shown, her adversary the Carondelet had become grounded, but the Arkansas avoided the shoal water and passed by her, furiously trading cannon fire, and headed out toward the Mississippi River to face the combined Federal fleet.

The artist shows the unique vertical sides of the Arkansas, the pilot's house atop the gun box, and the correct number of guns. Her iron ram barely appears above the water. The shutters of the gunports are evident on the Carondelet, but there is no mention of shutters for the Arkansas in any writings. Comparison can be made to the sketch by Samuel Milliken, the acting master aboard the Arkansas.

Most thrilling is the image of Capt. Isaac N. Brown standing on the hurricane deck (or spar deck), firing his pistol at the men of the Carondelet while he gave orders to the pilot in the low pilot house behind him.

Students of the Arkansas will much appreciate the study and effort David Kleinman took to render the boat and this battle accurately.


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