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Diana

 

(StRam: dr. 3'2"; cpl. 61; a 2 12-pdr. how.)

 

Diana was a steamer offered for charter or sale at Galveston, Tex. on 23 September 1861 by the Houston Navigation Co., along with steamers Bayou City and Neptune No. 2. She was mentioned as a steamer of the Houston Line on 19 December 1861 when she took the seized Federal metal life boat Francis in tow for San Jacinto, Tex., to be put in sailing trim for CSS General Rusk fitting out in that port. Mentioned as a steamer under Captain Blakmen, she was ordered to carry the crew of CSS General Rusk from Galveston to Houston on 20 January 1862.

 

Diana and Bayou City where eventually fitted out as rams and used as gunboats of the Texas Marine Department [See Annex III] for the defense of Galveston Bay. One-inch iron protected their bows and their decks were barricaded with cotton. The two warships, listed by the Texas Marine Department as gunboats, were still on duty in Galveston Bay as of 27 October 1863.

 

(SwIrcGbt: t. 239)

 

Diana was a steamer reported to have escaped from Farragut's passage of Fort St. Philip and Fort Jackson, 24 April 1862, into the city of New Orleans. She was taken possession of by USS Cayuga on the 27th.

 

Diana was appraised for Union service at New Orleans on 5 May 1862 and became a transport on interior waters. Finally assigned to assist Federal ships in Berwick Bay, La., she was sent into Grand Lake, 28 March 1863, to make reconnaissance down the Atchafalaya to the mouth of Bayou Teche. When she had passed the mouth of Bayou Teche, near Pattersonville, La., Confederate shore batteries cut away her tiller ropes, disabled her engine, and caused her to drift ashore where she surrendered. Her Union commander, Acting Master T. L. Peterson, along with five other men were killed and three were wounded in this brave 2-hour action.

 

Diana was taken into the Confederate army service on Bayou Teche in support of troops at Camp Bisland, La. On 11 April 1863 under Lieutenant Nettles of Valverde Battery, CSA, she showed great skill as a gunboat in driving Union troops back on Bayou Teche from Camp Bisland. Nettles, taken severely ill, was relieved on 13 April 1863 by gallant Captain Semmes of the Artillery as thousands of Union troops moved in with the support of Federal gunboats for a fierce action on Bayou Teche and Camp Bisland that lasted until sundown. She concentrated on the center of the advancing Union line with a battery of Parrott guns until a 30-pounder shell penetrated her front plating and exploded in the engine room to kill the first and assistant engineer and damaged her engine. Pulling beyond range of the Union guns, she completed repairs near midnight and was ordered the following morning to move up to Franklin, La., to support the right flank of Confederate troops by sweeping the fields and woods formerly held by Union forces. When badly outnumbered Confederate forces began their withdrawal from Franklin, she maintained her position near an already burning bridge until General Mouton and his staff followed their troops across to safety. Semmes and his brave crew then abandoned and burned Diana to prevent her capture by Union forces.