USS Glide

The first of two vessels named Glide, this sternwheel tinclad saw service with the Union’s Western Gunboat Fleet during the Civil War, including operations on the White River against Fort Hindman, during the ongoing battle for control of significant interior rivers in the Trans-Mississippi Department.

Built in Shousetown, Pennsylvania, in 1862 and purchased by order of Rear Admiral David D. Porter at Pittsburgh on November 17, 1862, the Glide went down the Ohio River to Cairo, Illinois, to be fitted out as a tinclad. It was commissioned on December 3, 1862, with Acting Lieutenant Selim E. Woodworth in command. The Glide displaced 137 tons and carried six twenty-four-pound howitzers.

On January 3, 1863, the Glide began service on the lower Mississippi River as part of the Mississippi Squadron. The Glide served in Lieutenant Commander Watson Smith’s division of light draft gunboats against Fort Hindman, silencing the Confederate batteries in support of Major General John McClernand’s assault and capture of the fort on January 11. The Glide then moved upriver to prevent escape by the fort’s garrison of troops. This operation helped secure Union control of the White River.

Afterward, the Glide continued to serve on the White River as both a gunboat and a supply transport. In need of repairs, the Glide was sent to Cairo in early February of 1863. On February 7, 1863, a fire of unknown origin broke out and quickly destroyed the tinclad Glide.

For additional information:
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. (accessed April 20, 2017).

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series 1, Vol. 24, Part 1. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1889.

Robert Patrick Bender
Eastern New Mexico University–Roswell


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