(Sternwheel Casemate Gunboat: tonnage 512; length 175'; beam 51'2"; draft 6'; speed 9 miles per hour; complement 251; armament 2 8-inch smoothbores, 4 42-pounder rifles, 7 32-pounder smoothbores; class Cairo)
St. Louis, a sternwheel casemate gunboat was built by James B. Eads, Carondelet, Mo., for the War Department and launched on 12 October 1861 and joined the Western Gunboat Fleet. During 1862 St. Louis, under the command of Lieutenant L. Paulding, was attached to Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote’s squadron and participated in the capture of Fort Henry on the Tennessee River (6 February 1862). She served as flagship for the squadron when it assisted the Union Army at the capture of Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River (14-16 February 1862). Between April and June 1862, she operated against Fort Pillow,Tenn.
Having never served as a commissioned warship in the U.S. Navy, St. Louis was named Baron De Kalb on 8 September 1862, and transferred to the Navy Department less than one month later, on 1 October 1862. Ultimately, she was sunk by a torpedo [mine] in the Yazoo River, one mile below Yazoo City, Miss., on 13 July 1863.
Updated, Robert J. Cressman
3 August 2020