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Lynx

 

(SwStr)

 

Lynx was a long, very fast paddle-steamer with two stacks and two masts, all painted white. Managed by John Fraser & Co., Charleston, she carried Confederate Government cargo and is believed to have been a public vessel for all practical purposes.

 

She met her end bound for Bermuda, running out of Wilmington, N.C., under Captain Reid, 25 September 1864, with 600 bales of cotton, passengers and special cargo, including $50,000 in Government gold. She was hit eight times, six below the waterline, by the 100-pounder and 30-pounder rifles of much slower USS Howquah, assisted by Niphon and Governor Buckingham; sinking, with one of her wheels damaged, Lynx had to be beached about six miles below Fort Fisher. The Confederates all escaped, along with the gold, although Federal sharpshooters got near enough to wound one crew member. The ship's remains were set afire.

 

Ironically, an intelligence report to Secretary Welles, about 1 September 1864, had warned that, "the swift steamers Lynx and Badger were being fitted out at Wilmington to make a dash at our blockaders * * * their machinery protected by compressed cotton * * * each vessel having about 200 men, will sally forth early in September, and, by boarding, attempt the capture of one or more of our vessels. If precautions are not taken this plan will certainly succeed." It was a false alarm, although Lt. J. W. Balch, Howquah's captain, in this instance made one of the rare charges that a blockade runner had fired back at himóbut only two shots and they could have been cross-fire from the fort.