William Gwin was born 6 December 1832 in Columbus, Ind., and appointed a Midshipman 7 April 1847. One of the most promising officers in the nation, he had risen to the rank of Lieutenant Commander by the time of his death. During the Civil War he commanded several ships of the Mississippi Squadron. He was one of Flag Officer Foote's "can do" officers, displaying outstanding initiative, energy and dash. After the fall of Fort Henry he swept with his wooden gunboats up the Tennessee River all the way to regions of Alabama, spreading destruction and terror. This action was a major factor in the collapse of the Confederate lines far behind him in Kentucky. Fire support from two of his gunboats, Tyler and Lexington, helped save Union troops from disaster in the Battle of Shiloh, bringing high praise from General Grant. He was wounded in action 27 December 1862 while commanding gunboat Benton in the battle of Haines Bluff on the Yazoo River. He died from these injuries 3 January 1863 on board a hospital ship in the Mississippi River.
(TB-16: dp. 46; l. 100'; b. 12'6"; dr. 3'3"; s. 20 k.; cpl. 16; a. 1 1-pdr., 2 18" tt)
The first Gwin (TB-16) was launched 15 November 1897 by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co., Bristol, R.I.; commissioned at Newport 4 April 1898, Lt, (j.g.) C. S. Williams in command. She departed Newport 24 June, cruising down the eastern seaboard as far as Florida, thence on patrol off Cuba during 6 to 14 August 1898 as America went to war .with Spain. She returned north to Annapolis 31 August and served as cadet training ship for the Naval Academy until placed in reserve at Norfolk 10 July 1903.
Gwin remained in reserve until June 1908 when she began assisting in experimental torpedo work out of Newport, R.I. This duty terminated 18 April 1914 when Gwin decommissioned for use as a ferryboat. On 11 April 1918 her name was changed to Cyane, and she was re-classified YFB-4 on 17 July 1920. Her name was struck from the Navy List 30 April 1925 and she was sold for scrapping 24 September 1925.