An Indian tribe, formerly of Alabama and Mississippi, now resident in Oklahoma.
(IrcRam: t. 1,004; dr. 8'; s. 2 k.)
The first Choctaw, a side wheel steamer, was built for the merchant service at New Albany, Ind., in 1853. She was purchased by the Army in 1862 and converted into an ironclad ram; transferred to the Navy; and commissioned at St. Louis, Mo., 23 March 1863, Lieutenant Commander F. M. Ramsay in command.
From 23 April 1863 until the end of the war Choctaw operated in the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Between 29 April and 1 May 1863, she stood up the Yazoo for a feigned attack on Haynes' Bluff designed to prevent the Confederates from reinforcing Grand Gulf. During this action she was struck 53 times. Remaining in the Yazoo, she took part in attacks with the Army which led to the destruction of Confederate works at Haynes' Bluff and the burning of the navy yard and ships lying there at Yazoo City between 18 and 23 May. On 6 and 7 June, she joined in repelling a Confederate attack at Millkin's Bend, La., after which she rescued a large number of Confederates from the river and sent them in as prisoners. Between 7 March and 15 May 1864 she took part in the operations leading to the capture of Fort DeRussy.
Choctaw arrived at Algiers, La., 20 July 1865, and was placed out of commission 2 days later. She was sold at New Orleans, La., 28 March 1866.