Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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USS Fort Donelson

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Fort Donelson

USS Fort Donelson, the former iron blockade-runner Robert E. Lee, was captured by Iron Age and James Adger off Wilmington, N.C., on 9 November 1863. She was condemned as a prize at Boston, acquired by the Navy and placed in commission on 29 June 1864, with Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Thomas Pickering in command.

USS Fort Donelson was assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, cruising in blockade of the North Carolina coast through the remainder of 1864 with brief periods of repair at Norfolk. From 13 to 22 January 1865 she aided in the bombardment of Fort Fisher's batteries and landed ammunition supplies for the Union forces. USS Fort Donelson joined the fleet in attacking Fort Anderson on 17-18 February. During March she cruised in company with Pequot to Bermuda, was present at City Point, Va., when the President arrived on board River Queen on the 20th, and acted as guardship at Fort Fisher. USS Fort Donelson operated with the South Atlantic Squadron until June but when ordered to the West Gulf Squadron was found to be in such poor condition that she returned to Norfolk. USS Fort Donelson was decommissioned on 17 August 1865 at Philadelphia and later sold.

For a complete history of USS Fort Donelson please see its DANFS page.