CSS Columbia, an uncommonly strong ironclad ram, was constructed under contract at Charleston, S.C., in 1864, of yellow pine and white oak with iron fastenings and 6-inch iron plating. Hull work was done by F. M. Jones to J. L. Porter's plans, plating and machinery by James M. Eason; her casemate was shortened to conserve precious metal and clad with 6" iron.
When the Union forces took possession of Charleston on 18 February 1865 they found the greatly prized Columbia in jeopardy near Fort Moultrie; in coming out she had run on a sunken wreck and been damaged on 12 January 1865. Once she had been nearly ready for commissioning but when seized was found to have had her guns and some armor plating removed and ship-worms already at work.
She was raised on 26 April and towed by USS Vanderbilt to Hampton Roads, Va., where she arrived 25 May 1865.
Part of the text is incorporated from the United States Navy's Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, a work in the public domain.