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General Clinch

 

(SwStr: t. 256; a. 2 brass guns)

 

General Clinch, also called Clinch, was built at Charleston, S.C., in 1839, and acquired in January 1861 by the State of South Carolina. She operated throughout the war in the Charleston harbor area and off the South Carolina coast, as a tender, harbor transport, and patrol boat. One of her earlier commanders was Lt. Thomas P. Pelot, CSN.

 

In April 1861 before the hostilities of the Civil War, General Clinch, in conjunction with Lady Davis and Gordon, all under the command of Comdr. H. J. Hartstene, CSN, guarded the approaches to Charleston harbor to prevent the Federal Government from reinforcing Fort Sumter. In the spring of the following year General Clinch worked with Marion in moving the obstructions off Battery Island to near Elliott's Cut running into Wappoo Creek and into Charleston harbor.

 

On 31 January 1863 General Clinch participated with two other tenders Chesterfield and Etiwan, and the ironclad rams Palmetto State and Chicora in a daring expedition under Flag Officer D. Ingraham, CSN. The tenders, under Commander Hartstene, assisted the rams in leaving and reentering the narrow channels of Charleston harbor in their bold and damaging attack on Federal blockaders.

 

There is evidence that General Clinch sank in Charleston harbor and was raised before October 1864 by her owner, Mr. McCormick, for use as a blockade runner.