(Gbt: t. 390; a. 3 to 7 guns, progressively)
CSS General Polk was originally a side-wheel river steamer which some authorities cite as the Ed Howard or Howard, built in New Albany, Ind., in 1852. Purchased for $8,000 by the Confederates at New Orleans, La., in 1861, she was converted into a ship of war, which involved stripping her to a "mere shell."
Her first service was under Flag Officer G. N. Hollins who took his Louisiana defense fleet up the Mississippi in December to cooperate with the Army in the vicinity of New Madrid, Mo. At that time Lt. J. H. Carter, CSN, commanded Polk, as she was usually known.
In April, 1862 Commodore Hollins returned to New Orleans and command of the river fleet devolved on Comdr. R. F. Pinkney, CSN. After the fall of Island No. 10, Polk, Livingston and Army ram General Earl Van Dorn escaped 75 miles up the Yazoo River where they were burned at Liverpool, 25 miles below Yazoo City, on 26 June 1862 to prevent capture.