Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Fiarplay (side-wheel steamer)

(SwStr: dp. 156; dr. 5'; s. 5 mph; a. 4 12-pdr. how.)

Merchant name retained.

Fairplay was built in 1859 at New Albany, Ind.; captured 18 August 1862 during a joint expedition to Milliken's Bend, in the Mississippi; taken possession of by the Army; commissioned 6 September 1862, Lieutenant Commander L. Fitch in command; and transferred to the Navy 1 October 1862.

From the base at Smithland, Ky., Fairplay operated with other gunboats in cooperation with the Army, patrolling the Cumberland, Tennessee, and Ohio rivers, convoying troop transports and Army supply ships, and searching out and shelling concentrations of Confederates ashore.

On 3 February 1863, Fairplay was bound up the Cumberland from Smithland to Nashville, Tenn., around which a long campaign was in progress, guarding a convoy of transports. She and the five other gunboats of the escort received word that the garrison at Dover, Tenn., was under attack by a large Confederate force. The six gunboats sailed at full speed to disperse the main body of attackers, taken by surprise, then returned to complete the passage to Nashville.

Fairplay continued to operate in the Cumberland, Tennessee, and Ohio, on 3 December 1864, engaging a Confederate battery at Bell's Mill near Nashville. The next day, with Carondelet, she recaptured two transport steamers, previously taken by the Confederates and held at Bell's Mill. After patrolling the same area after the war, as well as the Mississippi, she was decommissioned at Mound City 9 August and sold 17 August 1865.

Published: Thu May 28 15:31:25 EDT 2015