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Tchifonta

 

A river in Louisiana—more commonly spelled Chefuncte and occasionally appearing as Tchefuncta or Tchifonctee—which rises near the Mississippi line and flows south some 40 miles to empty into Lake Pontchartrain near the present town of Houltonville. During the War of 1812, a settlement of the same name existed on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain at the river's mouth on land now occupied by the Chefuncte River State Park. Chefuncte is an Indian word meaning chinquapin, an American dwarf chestnut tree.

 

(Cor.: 1. 152'9"; b. 43'; dr. 8'6"; dph. 8'2"; a. 26 long 32-pdrs., 16 42-pdr. car.)

 

The construction of Tchifonta—a large, shallow draft vessel which Howard I. Chapelle calls "a cross between a frigate and a ship sloop"—was begun either late in 1813 or early in 1814 by M. Pechon at Chefuncte, La. However, work on the ship—designed as a blockship to obstruct the Mississippi below New Orleans—was interrupted in the spring or early summer of 1814 under orders from Secretary of the Navy William Jones. Thus, the corvette was still on the ways during America's gallant defence of New Orleans under General Andrew Jackson in January 1815. The ship remained unfinished on the stocks until she was sold sometime during 1820 or thereafter.