Built by William Collyer in New York City. She wasordered by New York merchants and launched September22, 1853. Her maiden voyage was from New York toCharleston, South Carolina, under the name United StatesMail Steamship Nashville, with a cargo of mail andpassengers. The bottom of the vessel was sheathed incopper in 1854 to prevent marine growth. She was overhauledin 1859, and received new boilers in June 1860.
The Nashville entered Charleston Harbor April 12,1861, as the Civil War began. She was purchased by the newly formed Confederate States Navy for $100,000. Shewas the first vessel commissioned by the Confederate States Government and the first to fly a Confederate flagin England.
She entered South Hampton England,November 21, 1861, after capturing and burning the Union ship Harvey Birch.
The C.S.S. Nashville, renamed the Privateer Rattlesnake, came to an end of blockade runningon February 28, 1863. Trapped in the Ogeechee by a sandbar at low tide, the guns of Fort McAllister could notprotect her and within an hour the Union Ironclad Montauk had sunk the Confederate vessel.