Starting life as the USMS Nashville a United States Mail Service ship, she was a1221 ton side wheeler, passenger steam ship. She was built in 1853 at Greenpoint in Brooklyn, New York. As the Nashville from 1853 to 1861 she ran a route between New York City and Charleston, South Carolina. When the bombing of Fort Sumter began in April 1861, the Nashville sailed in to Charleston Harbor not flying the US colors and was fire on by the USRC Harriet Lane. The Nashville docked at Charleston and after Fort Sumter fell she was captured by the Confederates.
The Confederates fitted her out as a cruiser and placed her as the CSS Nashville under the command of Lieutenant Robert B Pegram. On October 21st 1861 the Nashville ran the blockade and sailed for England, she became the first ship to fly the Confederate colors in English waters. The Nashville returned to Beaufort, North Carolina in February 1862 after having captured prizes worth about $66,000.
She was sold as a blockade runner November 5th 1862 and commissioned as the privateer the Rattlesnake. On February 28th 1863 she ran aground on Georgia’s Ogeechee River. The USS Montauk fired on the Rattlesnake from a 15 inch turret gun destroying the ship.