Skip to main content
Related Content
Document Type
  • Ship History
Wars & Conflicts
File Formats
Location of Archival Materials
Harriet Lane
(SwStr: t. 674; l. 180'; b. 30'; dr. 12'6"; s. 11 k.; a. 3 9", 2 24-pdr., 1 30-pdr. r.)

Miss Lane was Free. Franklin Buchanan's niece and acted as First Lady in the White House during the administration of America's only bachelor First Executive.

CSS Harriet Lane was built for the United States Revenue Cutter Service in 1857-58 by the celebrated William H. Webb, New York, and was the only steam vessel in that service at the time. Taken over by the Navy on 17 September 1861, she performed valiant service on the Atlantic coast, the Mississippi River, and coast of Texas. Following the battle at Galveston on 1 January 1863 in which her commanding officer, Comdr. Jonathan M. Wainwright, USN, was killed, she surrendered to the Confederates.

The Confederate Secretary of War turned Harriet Lane over to the Confederate Navy Department, and Lt. J. N. Barney, CSN, was given command. She served with the Confederate Army's Marine Department of Texas [See Annex III] until 31 March 1863 when all naval officers were detached and she was turned back to the Confederate War Department.

Early in 1864 she was converted into a blockade runner to carry cotton to Havana to pay for war supplies. She lay in wait at Galveston until 30 April to escape, arriving safely, only to remain idle at Havana the duration of the war under the name Lavinia.

In 1867, recovered from Cuba and taken to New York, she was converted from brigantine to bark rig and named Elliott Richie. In 1884, being water logged, she was abandoned off Pernambuco, Brazil.