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Kentucky

 

(SwStr: t. 500)

 

The name Kentucky being commonly used on the Mississippi, we have not been able to determine the origin, main particulars, length of service or fate of the specific Kentucky that rendered distinguished service to the Confederacy as a troop transport in November 1861 and March 1862. On the former occasion, her Captain Lodwick "exhibited fearlessness and energy deserving of the highest praise" for ten hazardous days and nights ferrying Major General Leonidas Polk's troops and some Union prisoners between Columbus, Ky. and Belmont. Miss., frequently under fire, and may have been a decisive factor in winning a battle. Again at Madrid Bend early the following March, when Brigadier General J. P. McCown sought to hold Island Number 10 at all costs, Kentucky dodged shells to get the battalions through. The rest of her career is not recorded in official records.

 

It seems clear that Kentucky fell into the hands of the Western Gunboat Flotilla at Memphis, 6 June 1862 ónot at Island Number 10, as some records state. Although a U.S. Navy survey at Memphis, 10 June, had found her "very much out of repair," she was being considered for refit as a receiving ship at St. Louis the end of October: "She is now advertised for sale," having been "turned over a few days ago to the U.S. Marshal," the document continues.

 

A U.S. Army report of 30 June 1862 notes Kentucky as "returned to owners." The same source erroneously states that the transport was captured at Island Number 10. Whether she saw commercial service in the interim or not, another entry three years later briefly alludes to the tragic end, perhaps from a boiler explosion, of a transport Kentucky between the mouth of the Red River and Alexandria, La., sometime during June 1865, in which at least 30 "paroled rebel soldiers" met death. This may have been the same Kentucky.