USS Clifton (1861)
USS Clifton playing a fire hose on a Confederate fire raft on the lower Mississippi River, 17 April 1862
|Fate:||burned to prevent capture in 1864|
Clifton was built in 1861 at Brooklyn, New York, as a civilian ferryboat. She was purchased by the Navy in early December of that year and placed in commission after conversion for combat service.
Clifton steamed from New York to the Gulf of Mexico in February–March 1862. In April she towed mortar schooners into the Mississippi River and supported them as they bombarded the Confederate fortifications below New Orleans. After the forts and city fell later in the month, she operated with Rear Admiral David Farragut's squadron during its drive up the river to Vicksburg, Mississippi. There, on 28 June 1862 Clifton was damaged by enemy gunfire.
Clifton participated in the Battle of Baton Rouge on 5 August 1862.
In October 1862, Clifton took part in the capture of Galveston, Texas. She helped seize Fort Burton, at Butte La Rose, Louisiana, in April 1863. In mid-July, her crew assisted in capturing the sailing bark H. McGuin. Later in the month she fired on Confederate batteries on the Atchafalaya River, Louisiana.
Capture and Confederate service
On 8 September 1863, during a Federal attack on Sabine Pass, Texas, Clifton grounded while under intense cannon fire and was captured.
Entering Confederate service with the Texas Marine Department, Clifton was employed as a gunboat for some months. On 21 March 1864, she ran aground off Sabine Pass while attempting to run the blockade. After attempts to refloat the ship failed, Clifton was burned by her crew to prevent capture by Federal warships.