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.
(DD-71: dp. 1,125; l. 315'6"; b. S1'4"; dr. 8'1"; s. 30k.; cpl. 100; a. 44", 21-pdrs., 1 6" Y-gun, 1221" tt.; cl. Caldwell)
The second Gwin (DD-71) was launched 22 December 1917 by the Seattle Const. & Drydock Co., Seattle, Wash.; sponsored by Mrs. James S. Woods; and commissioned at Puget Sound 18 March 1920, Lt. Comdr. H. H. Bousen in command.
Gwin departed Puget Sound 26 April for calls at California ports, thence through the Panama Canal for Newport, R.I., arriving 2 June. Following operations along the eastern seaboard as far south as Charleston, S.C., she decommissioned in the Philadelphia Navy Yard 28 June 1922. She remained inactive at Philadelphia until her name was struck from the Navy List 25 January 1937. Her hulk was sold for scrapping 16 March 1939 to the Union Shipbuilding Co., Baltimore, Md.
USS Gwin (DD-71), a 1920 Flush-deck Destroyer with a cutaway stern