Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Tempest I


(Side wheel steamer: displacement 161; armament 2 30-pounder Parrot rifles, 2 24-pounder howitzers, 2 12-pounders)

Tempest, a wooden-hulled, sidewheel steamer built in 1862 at Louisville, Ky., was acquired by the Navy at Cincinnati, Ohio, on 30 December 1864 from Joseph Brown; converted there to a gunboat by Mr. Brown; and was commissioned on 26 April 1865, Acting Volunteer Lt. Comdr. William G. Saltonstall in command.

Tempest operated with the Union naval forces in western waters throughout her brief naval career. She served as flagship for Acting Rear Adm. S. P. Lee, while he directed efforts on the Mississippi and its tributaries to prevent the escape of former Confederate President Jefferson F. Davis. She continued in this role while Lee oversaw the demobilization of the Mississippi Squadron. The admiral hauled down his flag from her on 14 August. The ship was decommissioned at Mound City, Ill., on 30 November 1865, the day after she was sold at public auction there to Robert Cams. Tempest was redocumented on 11 December 1865 and remained in merchant service until 1870.

Updated by Mark L. Evans

8 July 2015

Published: Fri Sep 25 14:19:44 EDT 2015