fter spending nearly 150 years in the river or on land under a shelter, the CSS Neuse
moved to a new, climate controlled setting on June 23, 2012. That museum will open with a visit by Sec. Susan Kluttz and the first behind-the-scenes tours on on July 18, 2013.
The CSS Neuse was a new class of warship built by the Confederate Navy to counter the advantage that the U.S. Navy had in ships and man power. The Neuse was completed in April 1864. She was a wooden vessel with armor plating on her upper structures to protect her crew as they manned her two heavy cannons. She was steam powered and did not rely sails for propulsion. The Neuse and other ships like her, constructed by both sides during the American Civil War, were innovations in the design of naval warships.
With all its advances in technology, the Neuse saw little action. On her maiden voyage down river in April 1864 to attack the Union fleet, she ran aground on a sand bar a half mile below the town of Kinston. She remained there for almost a month, before the river rose and she returned to her dock.
The CSS Neuse was engaged in one skirmish with the Union Army in March 1865, covering the evacuation of the Confederate Army from Kinston. As the last of the Confederate forces were leaving Kinston, the crew scuttled her to prevent her capture. The remains rested in the Neuse River for nearly 100 years, until being raised in 1962.
The CSS Neuse is one of 27 State Historic Sites, and one of several sites presenting programs in observance of the Civil War Sesquicentennial.