John Durst Photo Collection
Raising of the USS Cairo

The Eads ironclad gunboat "USS CAIRO" was sunk December 12, 1862 in the Yazoo River by an electrically detonated Confederate mine. This Union ironclad lay beneath the muddy water of the Yazoo until September 13, 1964 when it first broke the surface and was seen again by human eyes. The photos below were taken by John Durst, on September 13, 1964, during Cairo recovery operations. These pictures represent but one day in many years of struggle by many people to raise and display the "Cairo". Some of the people who made significant  contributions in this effort are shown in these photos: Ken Parks; professional diver, Sam Bongiovanni; Captain Billy Bisso. The one person most responsible for the finding and raising of the "Cairo", however, is not pictured here. This person is Edwin C. Bearss. If these pictures light a flame to learn more about the "USS Cairo", read the book "Hardluck Ironclad" by Bearss or visit the "Cairo" at the Vicksburg National Military Park.

USS Cairo Restoration Photos
John Durst (DDS ret.)
Bonham, Texas
December 2, 2000

Select Thumbnails for Enlargements and Descriptions

Historic photo Salvage site Salvage site
Ken Parks and Captain Bisso Cairo breaks the surface Sam Bongiovanni
Salvage crew Sam Bongiovanni and Ken Parks Captain Bisso

Photos copyrighted by John Durst. For use of these photos or additional information please send E-mail to Visit John's Home Page at

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