USS Clifton (1861)

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For other ships of the same name, see USS Clifton.
USS Clifton Fire Raft.jpg
USS Clifton playing a fire hose on a Confederate fire raft on the lower Mississippi River, 17 April 1862
Launched: 1861
Acquired: 1861
Commissioned: 1862
Fate: burned to prevent capture in 1864
General characteristics
Displacement: 892 Ton

USS Clifton was a light-draft side-wheel gunboat in the United States Navy.

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.

US Navy Service[edit]

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[edit]

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.


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entries can be found Union service here and Confederate service here.

External links[edit]