The Gunboat Mendota on the James River

Date:
2000
Medium:
Acrylic and ink on wood
Dimensions:
5 ½ x 14 inches
Credit Line:
Collection of Lysiane Luong Grooms and the artist

The delicate nature of Grooms’s painting belies the military power of gunboats like the USS Mendota. The strategic advantage of controlling rivers was key during the Civil War, as it was for the American Revolution, but technology changed the playing field. The Mendota was a sidewheel steamboat gunner built in Brooklyn for Navy bombardments and deployed on the James River to block Confederate trading with foreign powers.