Joel Roberts Poinsett, born at Charleston, S.C., in 1779, served as the first U.S. Minister to Mexico, 1825–30 and as Secretary of War, 1837–41. He died near Statesbury, S.C,. in 1851. The first Poinsett retained her original Army name.
The second Poinsett was named for a county in Arkansas.
(SwGbt: t. 250; a. 2 guns)
The first Poinsett, a sidewheel gunboat, was transferred from the War Department to the Navy Department in 1840 for service in the 2nd Seminole War. Initially commanded by Comdr. Isaac Mayo, she was employed against the Seminoles until August 1842 when a large percentage of the tribe was relocated in the west. Then assigned to survey activities, Poinsett remained in the waters off Florida, primarily in the Tampa area, until returned to the War Department in 1845.