USS Fairplay, a 156-ton side-wheel "tinclad" river gunboat, was built in 1859 at New Albany, Indiana, for civilian employment. During the early part of the Civil War, she was used by the Confederacy as a transport and was captured in that role at Milliken's Bend, on the Mississippi River, on 18 August 1862. Taken over by the U.S. Army, she was commissioned in September 1862 and transferred to the Navy the following month.
Converted to a gunboat, Fairplay operated on the Cumberland, Tennessee and Ohio rivers during the rest of the Civil War. On 3 February 1863, she helped break up a Confederate Army attack on Federal forces at Dover, Tennessee. She engaged an enemy battery at Bell's Mill, near Nashville, on 3 December 1864 and captured two steamers on the following day. After brief post-war patrol activities on the Western Rivers, USS Fairplay was decommissioned and sold in August 1865. Renamed Cotile for civilian use, she was broken up in 1871.
This page features our only view of USS Fairplay (1862-1865, Tinclad # 17).
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Photo #: NH 91812
USS Fairplay (1862-1865)
Photograph, mounted on a Carte de Visite, by Bell & Sheridan, Franklin St., Clarksville, Tennessee.
During the Civil War, Fairplay was active on rivers in the Tennessee area.
Collection of Thomas R. Burton, who had probably been a member of Fairplay's crew.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 108KB; 740 x 460 pixels
17 October 1999