Former name retained.
(SwStr: t. 892; l. 210'; b. 40'; dph. 13'6"; a. 4 32-pdr., 2 9" sb.)
The first Clifton, a side wheel steam ferryboat, was built in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1861 and purchased 2 December 1861 by the Navy Department. She was outfitted by J. A. Westervelt of New York, and placed in commission late in 1861 or early 1862, Acting Lieutenant C. H. Baldwin in command.
Clifton sailed from New York 22 February 1862 and arrived at Ship Island, La., 18 March for duty with the Mortar Flotilla of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron.
She was commended by Commander D. D. Porter for assisting in towing the 21 vessels of the flotilla across the bar into the Mississippi River. She joined in the bombardment and capture of Forts Jackson and St. Philip below New Orleans between 18 and 24 April 1862; the attack on the Confederate batteries at Vicks-burg, Miss., during which on 28 June 1862 she took a shot through her boiler which killed seven men; and the capture of Galveston, Tex., from 4 to 9 October 1862.
After capturing the bark H. McGuin in Bay St. Louis, on 18 July 1863, she fired with telling effect on Sibley's Brigade on 28 July 1863 during a reconnaissance up the Atchafalaya and Teche Rivers. Captured by the Confederates at Sabine Pass, Tex., 8 September 1863, she ran aground there 21 March 1864 when an attempt to run the blockade failed. The Confederates burned her to prevent capture.