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General Quitman

 

(SwStr: t. 946; l. 233'3"; b. 34'3"; dph. 12'3"; dr. 9'; cpl. 90; a. 2 32-pdr.)

 

General Quitman was probably built at Brooklyn, N. Y. in 1857 and sailed as Galveston for the Texas Line of Charles H. Morgan's Southern S. S. Company before the war. Commodore Hunter, surveying her for a Confederate Navy gunboat in June 1861 at New Orleans, found her space too cramped for mounting guns. Galveston may have been substituted for the "small and poor" Atlantic, among 14 ships "impressed for public service" at New Orleans by Secretary of War Benjamin's order of 14 January 1862. On the 16th, Maj. Gen. Mansfield Lovell reported to the Secretary thus: "Captain Huger, of the Navy, who accompanied the party that took possession of the [14] ships, thinks the Atlantic will hardly answer as a war vessel, and I telegraphed yesterday to know whether I should substitute the Galveston for her." But it seems fairly certain Galveston soon became General Quitman of Capt. John K. Mitchell's lower Mississippi squadron. General Quitman continued under Louisiana State ownership, however, like Governor Moore, still her running mate, with whom her identity has been confused for a century.

 

Early in April 1862, cotton-clad and fitted with an iron prow to act as a ram, General Quitman steamed to support Forts Jackson and St. Philip, keys to the river position of New Orleans. Under Capt. Alexander Grant, an experienced riverboat master, she reconnoitered the Union fleet downriver and stood by the forts. She was burned to prevent capture in the confusion of 24 June 1862, when New Orleans fell to the Union.

 

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(SwStr: t. 615 [1,076]; l. 246 [261'6"]; b. 36' [40'2"]; dph. 7'3" ['4"])

 

General Quitman was a river transport whose history from mid-January to 24 June 1862 is difficult to disentangle in official records from that of the former "sea steamer" Galveston, burned under the name General Quitman to escape capture when New Orleans fell to Farragut's forces. General Quitman is believed to have been built at New Albany, Ind. in 1859 for a New Orleans ship owner. She was "one of the best and most powerful boats on the river" in 1862 and one of the last to escape from the city the 24th, evacuating upriver "a good many ladies, some officers, and some ordnance stores." General Quitman continued to serve the Confederate Army as a troop and supply ship on the western rivers until war's end. Passed to private ownership, she sank at New Texas Landing, near Morganza, La., 23 October 1868.