USS General Lyon (1860)

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USS General Lyon (1862-1865).jpg
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.
United States
Name: USS General Lyon
Laid down: date unknown
Launched: 1860
Commissioned: 24 October 1862
Decommissioned: 3 August 1865
Struck: 1865 (est.)
  • by Union Navy forces
  • 30 September 1862
Fate: sold, 17 August 1865
General characteristics
Displacement: 468 tons
Length: 180 ft (55 m)
Beam: 35 ft (11 m)
Draft: 7 ft (2.1 m)
Speed: not known
Complement: not known
Armament: two 12-pounder rifled guns

USS General Lyon, originally the De Soto, was recaptured from the Confederate States of America and renamed the USS De Soto, and then USS General Lyon, after Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon.

The steamer was put into service by the Union Navy as a storeship and dispatch boat serving the Union ships on the blockade of the Confederacy.

Service history[edit]

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.

See also[edit]


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entries can be found USS De Soto here and USS General Lyon here.