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Ship Model of “Star of the West”


Created by Charles Fulwood, also ship’s builder, New York, ca. 1860. The ship model is housed in the original glass case with mahogany columns. Excellent condition, original throughout. Dimensions: 18 ¼” h., 29 ¼” w., 9 ½” d. The Star of the West is a two-masted wooden hull, side-wheeler with a walking beam stem drive. The ship was designed by William Webb who was known as America’s first true naval architect. Charles Fulwood was hired as the ship’s carpenter by Mr. Webb and worked in his shipyard in New York. This ship model built by Charles Fulwood is an exact replica of the ship used for running supplies to the Union troops.
Star of the West was a side-wheel merchant steamer chartered to deliver supplies and 250 Union troops to Fort Sumpter for $1,250 a day. Typically, a job such as this would be completed by a warship but instead a steamship was chosen to maintain secrecy, hiding troops and supplies below deck.
However, their attempted stealth proved unsuccessful. Just two miles from Fort Sumpter, the ship having no canons, was fired upon by a masked battery station on Morris Island. While managing the shots from Morris Island, two Confederate steamers strove to cut off the Star of the West. Captain M’Gowan decided to move out towards the ocean, receiving another hit in the bow. Considering that Fort Sumpter may have already been captured by rebel forces, Captain M’Gowan decided not to defend the ship and was eventually captured by one of the streamers. The Confederate forces later used the ship for several purpose including as a hospital ship and a blockade runner before finally scuttled in defense of Vicksburg in 1863. This incident was known as the first shots fired in the Civil war on a ship.

Item ID: FA-WDCRVG 366

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