PS Alice Dean (1863)
The Alice Dean in 1863
|Operator:||James H. Pepper|
|Route:||Cincinnati to Memphis|
|Class and type:||Packet steamer|
PS Alice Dean, which had a capacity of 411 tons, was a side-wheel, wooden-hulled packet steamer. It was launched from Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1863, running a scheduled route between Cincinnati and Memphis, Tennessee. Its captain was James H. Pepper.
In June 1863 the Alice Dean served as a Union troop transport, carrying Federal forces from Memphis to join General Ulysses Grant's siege of Vicksburg. In July of that year, Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan and his cavalry undertook a large scale raid from Tennessee through Kentucky and then across Indiana and Ohio. While crossing the Ohio River into Indiana at Brandenburg, Kentucky, the raiders captured the Alice Dean. Using the Alice Dean as a ferry, Morgan's troops were transported to Morvin's Landing, near Mauckport, Indiana. Morgan's Raiders had already appropriated a small packet named John T. McCombs and used her as a decoy to hail down and capture the Alice Dean. After using the two boats for their purposes, Morgan's men burned the Alice Dean. The McCombs was spared because its owner/captain was a friend of Morgan's second-in-command, Basil W. Duke. The machinery was salvaged in the fall of 1863 and auctioned off to the C.T. Dumont Co. for $4,500. Part of the Alice Dean is on display at the Battle of Corydon battlefield.
A towboat accident at Leavenworth, Indiana in August 1959 caused the water of the Ohio River to drop five feet, which exposed the hull of the Alice Dean. Local history buff took pieces of wood as plaques to commemorate the raid.
Associated with this affair was "Sherman's Ride," in which a self-appointed Paul Revere, Jacob Sherman, mounted a horse and galloped upriver to head off the down-bound Grey Eagle to prevent her from falling into the hands of Morgan. He succeeded. The grateful owners of the Grey Eagle presented a bell to the citizens of Mauckport in appreciation, and it still is there.
Following the loss of Alice Dean, a second steamboat with the same name was built to replace her.
- Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper (German language edition), New York, 27 June 1863
- Riverboat Dave's: Riverboats Starting With A
- Ramage, Jame. Rebel Raider: The Life of General John Hunt Morgan (University Press of Kentucky, 1995) p.257
- S&D Reflector, June 1976