USS Kinsman (1854) - Commandeered For Union Army Service

Commandeered For Union Army Service

In 1854 Kinsman was built at Elizabeth, Pennsylvania, as Grey Cloud. She operated on the Mississippi River and its tributaries from St. Louis, Missouri. After the capture of New Orleans, Louisiana, in the spring of 1862, she was commandeered by General B. F. Butler and fitted out for river service.

On 18 July, the USS New London and Grey Cloud, reinforced by men from the USS Potomac, steamed toward Pascagoula with the New London announcing their arrival by firing two shells over the large shoreline hotel. The New London docked at the Hotel Wharf at Pascagoula, Mississippi, and deployed about 60 sailors and marines to the village to capture mails and confiscate the telegraph equipment. Sentries quickly spotted a Confederate cavalry patrol and the sailors and marines withdrew to their gunboats. The Grey Cloud moved about a half mile west and attempted to enter the Pascagoula River with the intent on capturing local schooners with turpentine and lumber. However, the mouth of the river was obstructed to prevent passage. At this point the gunboats stood off shore and put in three launches loaded with about 25 sailors and marines each and proceeded up the river. About a mile from the mouth where the river is not but 200 yards wide, the launches were amushed by a platoon of 30 troopers of the Mobile Dragoons under Lieut Hallett, a cavalry unit armed with Sharps carbines. The launches returned fire, but where in the open and withdrew to the mouth of the river with eight or nine wounded. Once the launches were clear, the New London fired 25 shells into the village and the Grey Cloud fired seven shells. After sitting off shore 19 July, the ships withdrew from the shoreline. 2

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