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Kinsman

 

(SwStr: t. 245)

 

In 1854 Kinsman was built at Elizabeth, Pa., as Gray Cloud. She operated on the Mississippi River and its tributaries from St. Louis. After the capture of New Orleans in the spring of 1862, she was commandeered by General B. F. Butler and fitted out for river service.

 

Renamed Kinsman, the side-wheel steamer operated for the Army, Acting Master George Wiggen in command. With Calhoun, Estrella, and Diana, she engaged Confederate ironclad gunboat Cotton in a spirited action 3 November. Kinsman was struck under her port bow and the other Union ships were damaged but they forced the Confederate vessel to retire. That night the Northern ships captured A. B. Seaer, a small Steamer of the Confederate Navy used as a dispatch boat. Five days later,

 

Kinsman and A. B. Seger captured and burned steamers Osprey and J. P. Smith in Bayou Cheval, La.

 

Kinsman was transferred to the Navy 1 January 1863. With three other ships under overall command of Lt. Comdr. Thomas McKean Buchanan, she attacked the South's defenses at Bayou Teche, below Franklin, La. Vigorous prosecution of the action by Northern vessels forced the Southerners to retire permitting removal of obstructions which had impeded Union ships. Confederate gunboat Cotton enaged the attackers but was compelled to retire. Soon thereafter Cotton's crew set their ship afire and destroyed her to prevent capture. During the engagement, a torpedo exploded under Kinsman unshipping her rudder.

 

While transporting a detachment of troops 23 February 1863, Kinsman struck a snag and sank in Berwick Bay near Brashear City, La. Six men were reported missing.