• View from Battery DeGolyer

    Vicksburg

    National Military Park Mississippi

Meals

USS Cairo Cooking Utensils
USS Cairo Cooking Utensils
NPS Photos
 

These mess utensils were used by the ship cook, William Daily. Meals were prepared with pots, pans, and even a set of four measuring cups.

A variety of mess bottles were found, including a Lea and Perrin's Worcestershire Sauce bottle, and condiment bottles marked US Navy on one side and PEPPER and MUSTARD on the other. The glassware design was unique and had been long forgotten before they were re-discovered on the USS Cairo. Amazingly, one bottle of pepper sauce proved to be edible after 100 years in the Yazoo mud!

 
USS Cairo Sailors' Mess Kit

USS Cairo Sailors' Mess Kit

NPS Photo

The sailors ate their meals in messes (groups)of about 15 men. Each mess had one of these special chests to hold the sailors' tin plates, cups, spoons, glass condiment bottles, scrub brushes, a washtub, and an earthenware jug of molasses.
 
Left: The tableware of the enlisted men was tin. Each man took care of his own utensils, and he scratched his name, initials, or mark on each piece for easy identification. Using the crew roster, historians have been able to match some of the items to specific members of the crew.

Right: The officer's mess consisted of fine cutlery and china, which was elegant compared to those of the enlisted men. They also had bottles of whiskey, rum, champagne, wine, and soft drinks, as well as their own cook.
 
USS Cairo Crew Dishes
USS Cairo Crew Dishes
NPS Photos

Did You Know?

USS Cairo ca. 1862

The USS Cairo was only in service for 11 months before making history as the first U.S. marine vessel to be sunk by an electronically detonated mine.