Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Side-wheeler

The steamer the USS Kinsman a Union Navy gunboat was run aground February 23rd 1863.

Built in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania in 1854 as the Gray Cloud, the USS Kinsman operated on the Mississippi River. Union General Benjamin Franklin Butler commandeered her in 1862 after the capture of New Orleans, Louisiana. The 245 ton steam side-wheeler was fitted out as a gunboat and renamed the USS Kinsman and place under the command of Acting Master George Wiggen in the Union Army. The Kinsman along with the Calhoun, Diana, and Estrella engage the Confederate ironclad the CSS Cotton on November 3rd 1862. The Kinsman was struck in her port bow, but the CSS Cotton was forced to retire. She was involved in several captures during the next few days.

On January 1st 1863 the USS Kinsman was transferred from the Army to the Union Navy. She was now under the command of Lieutenant Commander Thomas McKean Buchanan. On February 23rd 1863 the Kinsman was transporting troops when she struck a snag and sank near Brashear City, Louisiana in the Berwick Bay. There were six men missing.

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