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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND
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Jackson

 

(SwStr: t. 297; cpl. 75; a. 2 32-pdr.)

 

Jackson, a fast river tug built at Cincinnati in 1849, called Yankee, was purchased at New Orleans, La., on 9 May 1861 by Capt. L. Rousseau, CSN, strengthened and fitted for service in the Confederate Navy. On 6 June Lt. W. Gwathmey, CSN, was ordered to her command, and after shipping a crew, took her up the Mississippi to Columbus, Ky., to join the squadron under Capt. G. N. Hollins charged with the defense of the river.

 

On 4 September 1861 Jackson supported by shore batteries briefly and inconclusively engaged gunboats Lexington and Tyler off Hickman, Ky. The Federal ships finding the current fast setting them down upon the Confederate batteries returned to their former position. Six days later the little gunboat took part in a spirited engagement at Lucas Bend, Mo., between Confederate artillery and cavalry and Union gunboats Lexington and Conestoga during which she received an 8-inch shell in her wheel house and side which forced her to retire on one engine.

 

Jackson sailed with Hollins' squadron to attack five of the Federal blockaders at the Head of the Passes, Mississippi River, on 12 October 1861. They successfully routed the Union forces and proceeded to the defense of Forts Jackson and St. Philip which the United States Mortar Flotilla under Comdr. David D. Porter bombarded from 18 to 24 April 1862. On 23 April Jackson was despatched to make the canals above the fort inaccessible to Union ships.

 

When the commanding officer, Lt. F. B. Renshaw,CSN, found it impossible to stem the Federal advance he retired to New Orleans. After the surrender of that city, Jackson was destroyed by the Confederates.