USS General Lyon (1860)
USS General Lyon (1862-1865) View of the ship's upper deck, forward, during the Civil War, showing her smokestacks and a 12-pounder Dahlgren howitzer on an iron field carriage. Note low wooden railing around the deck edge.
|Name:||USS General Lyon|
|Laid down:||date unknown|
|Commissioned:||24 October 1862|
|Decommissioned:||3 August 1865|
|Fate:||sold, 17 August 1865|
|Length:||180 ft (55 m)|
|Beam:||35 ft (11 m)|
|Draft:||7 ft (2.1 m)|
|Armament:||two 12-pounder rifled guns|
General Lyon was built at New Albany, Indiana, in 1860, and operated out of New Orleans, Louisiana, as De Soto. De Soto was a sidewheel steamer, one of the many taken over by the Confederate forces for use on the Mississippi River and other rivers.
In April 1862 she was busy ferrying troops to evacuate the area near Island Number 10 and was used, under a flag of truce, to communicate with the Union gunboats. On 7 April 1862 she carried Confederate officers who surrendered possession of Island Number 10 to Flag Officer Andrew Hull Foote. It was at night, and De Soto approached cautiously, giving four blasts of her whistle, repeatedly, until answered, whereupon Federal Officers came on board to accept surrender.
The ship was taken into the Union Army as transport De Soto. Transferred to the Navy 30 September 1862 as USS De Soto, she was renamed USS General Lyon on 24 October 1862, Master John R. Neeld in command.
After undergoing extensive repairs at Cairo, Illinois., General Lyon saw duty as ordnance, stores, and dispatch ship for the Mississippi Squadron. Leaving Cairo 2 February 1863, she operated for the next two and a half years on the western waters. In April 1863 she was briefly flagship of Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter.
General Lyon returned to Mound City, Illinois, 17 February 1865, decommissioned 3 August, and was sold to H. L. Lee 17 August 1865. She re-documented as Alabama, and was destroyed by fire at Grand View, Louisiana, 1 April 1867.