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1853 Japanese block print of Matthew Perry

Commodore Perry's Mississippi

Smokestack and sails--maritime hybrid
This is a model of the USS Mississippi, one of the first operational steam vessels in the United States Navy. Completed in 1841, the 229-foot-long side-wheel steamer was a praiseworthy, if unpredictable, innovation. Because the reliability of steam was still undetermined, the Mississippi's engines were supplemented with sails. The Mississippi was the flagship of Commodore Matthew Perry in the Mexican War and during his expedition to open Japan to commerce in 1853. The ship also saw service during the Civil War. She was finally lost in the operations of Grant and Farragut in the Mississippi River that resulted in the capture of Vicksburg: In the bombardment of Port Hudson on March 14, 1863, she ran aground and was abandoned and fired.

229 feet long, 40-foot beam, 20-foot depth
19-feet draft, 3,220 tons mean displacement; spread 19,000 feet of canvas; paddle wheels were 28 feet in diameter and 11 feet broad and weighed 47 tons
Carried 10-inch and seven-inch shell guns
Matthew Calbraith Perry, born April 10, 1794, South Kingston, RI; died March 4, 1858, New York, NY
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