Ships and Vessels

Sub Catagories:
  • No categories
Clear

Entries - Entry Category: Ships and Vessels

Blue Wing No. 2

Originally a commercial vessel, the Blue Wing No. 2—a sidewheel paddleboat—was first used by the Confederates, then seized and put into Union service, and then captured by Confederates with a load of mail and supplies in December 1862. This capture provided the incentive for Union forces to attack Fort Hindman and Arkansas Post in January 1863. The last report on the boat, still in Confederate hands, was in April 1863, and it was likely sunk or scuttled in the summer of 1863. The Blue Wing No. 2 was a 170-ton steamboat built by the Howard company at Jeffersonville, Indiana, in 1850. The vessel measured 150 feet long by thirty feet wide and was powered by three forty-two-inch-by-twenty-two-foot boilers. Commanded by …

Celeste

As part of the Union’s Mississippi River Squadron, the sternwheel steamer Celeste served on the Mississippi River and its tributaries, including expeditions on the White River during the ongoing battle for control of significant interior rivers in the Trans-Mississippi Department during the Civil War. The Celeste displaced 300 tons, but specific details about its construction and acquisition by Union forces are not known. In late August 1864, Brigadier General Christopher Columbus Andrews, commanding the Second Division of the Seventh Army Corps headquartered at DeValls Bluff (Prairie County), ordered an expedition up the White River to locate and pursue the troops under the command of Brigadier General Joseph Orville Shelby and Colonel Archibald Stephenson Dobbins. The initial phase of this expedition …

Commercial [Steamboat]

As part of the Union’s Mississippi River Squadron, the steamer Commercial served as an auxiliary vessel on the Mississippi River and its tributaries, including expeditions on the White River during the ongoing battle for control of significant interior rivers in the Trans-Mississippi Department during the Civil War. Specific details about its construction and acquisition by Union forces are not known, but the Commercial displaced between 295 and 500 tons and may have served at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, after the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862 and regularly served under charter on the western rivers. Between March and May 1863, the Commercial served in conjunction with the steamer Tycoon transporting refugees from Memphis, Tennessee, to Cairo, Illinois, and St. Louis, Missouri. …

CSS Arkansas

During the Civil War, the Confederate navy’s ironclad vessel bearing the state’s name was the ram CSS Arkansas. It was in use only twenty-three days, yet earned the rage of the Union and the respect of the Confederacy. The Confederate navy’s task to defend rivers from its better-equipped adversary’s attacks and blockades required the building of vessels capable of meeting the challenge. To this end, on August 24, 1861, the navy ordered two ironclads from Memphis, Tennessee, shipbuilder John T. Shirley; one was christened the CSS Arkansas. The CSS Arkansas’s keel was laid in October 1861, with work continuing through the winter. While the vessel was under construction, news arrived that Union naval forces were en route to capture Memphis. …

CSS Maurepas

Like many vessels that saw active military service with the Confederate navy during the Civil War, the CSS Maurepas started out as a civilian vessel engaged in river commerce and transportation. In 1858, J. A. Cotton of New Orleans, Louisiana, contracted with the shipbuilding yards in New Albany, Indiana, for a wooden-hulled sidewheel steamer packet named the Grosse Tete. Upon completion, the vessel measured 180 feet with a thirty-four-foot beam. It weighed 399 tons, drafted seven feet, and carried a crew of seventy-nine. Between 1858 and 1860, the Grosse Tete worked the New Orleans–Bends commercial trade route, piloted by Captain Isaac Hopper. In 1860, the Bayou Sara Mail Company purchased the Grosse Tete and placed it under Captain J. McQuoid for …

CSS Pontchartrain

The CSS Pontchartrain was a Confederate warship that served on the Arkansas and White rivers. While it never saw combat in Arkansas, the Pontchartrain played a supporting role in several battles and affected Union strategy in 1862 and 1863. The CSS Pontchartrain began its career as the Lizzie Simmons, a 454-ton sidewheel paddleboat built at New Albany, Indiana, in 1859. The Lizzie Simmons ran between New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Ouachita River in 1860 under Captain George Hamilton Kirk; it then worked the river between New Orleans and Memphis, Tennessee, under Captain W. B. Richardson. The Confederate navy purchased the ship in October 12, 1861, and converted it into a gunboat in January and February 1862. It was renamed the …

Dove [Steamboat]

As part of the Union’s Mississippi River Squadron, the steamer Dove served as a chartered vessel on the Mississippi River and its tributaries, including expeditions on the White River during the ongoing battle for control of significant interior rivers in the Trans-Mississippi Department during the Civil War. Dove displaced 350 tons, but specific details about its construction and acquisition by Union forces are not known. In the 1850s, Master John Box operated Dove as a passenger and commercial transport on the Arkansas River between New Orleans, Louisiana; Napoleon (Desha County); and Fort Smith (Sebastian County). On March 30, 1864, the Dove transported Union troops up the White River to Gregory’s Landing (Woodruff County) for Brigadier General Christopher Columbus Andrews’s operations …

Homer

The Homer was a steamboat that plied the waters of the Ouachita River in the early 1860s. It achieved significance for its role in the Camden Expedition of 1864, when Union troops seized it, along with its cargo, and sunk it. Confederate soldiers later used its timbers to bridge the Ouachita. The Homer, built for $30,000 in Parkersburg, Virginia (now West Virginia), in 1859, went into service on November 14, 1859, at the Port of Cincinnati, Ohio. It was a 194-ton sidewheel packet measuring 148 feet long, twenty-eight feet wide, and five feet deep. Its co-owners were Levi Hopkins of Mason County, Virginia, and his father-in-law, stock dealer and farmer William H. Neale of Parkersburg. Neale and Hopkins sold the Homer …

J. H. Miller

The stern-wheel steamer J. H. Miller joined the Union navy’s Mississippi River Squadron and served under charter on the Mississippi River and its tributaries during the Civil War, including expeditions on the White River. The capture and destruction of the J. H. Miller illustrates the ongoing battle for control of significant interior rivers in the Trans-Mississippi Department, almost a year after Union forces took control of Little Rock (Pulaski County). In February 1864, the J. H. Miller, displacing 130 tons, began chartered service on the Mississippi River and its tributaries. According to Captain Stephen R. Harrington of the Fifth Kansas Cavalry, reporting from camp thirty miles from Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) on the north bank of the Arkansas River, an …

John D. Perry

The side-wheel steamer John D. Perry joined the Union navy’s Mississippi River Squadron, serving under charter on the Mississippi River and its tributaries, including expeditions on the White River during the ongoing battle for control of significant interior rivers in the Trans-Mississippi Department. Built by the Howard Shipyard of Jeffersonville, Indiana, in 1858 and initially home-ported at Louisville, Kentucky, the John D. Perry displaced 382 tons. Its exact date of transfer to Federal service is not known, but John S. Nanson owned and piloted it as a river transport in Missouri in the late 1850s. In the first month of the Civil War, Confederate sympathizers briefly used the Perry in an unsuccessful attempt to transport ammunition southward down the Mississippi …

Kaskaskia

The Kaskaskia was a small steamboat used by Confederate forces on Arkansas waters until its 1863 capture by Union troops during the Little Rock Campaign. The Kaskaskia was a forty-nine-ton sidewheel steamboat built in 1859 at Cincinnati, Ohio, and initially operated on the Ohio River out of Evansville, Indiana. After the Civil War began, the vessel was employed by the Confederacy, and by the summer of 1863, it was serving as a troop transport and towboat on the White and Little Red rivers in Arkansas. Following the July 4, 1863, Battle of Helena, the Kaskaskia was sent to Clarendon (Monroe County) to remove supplies from there in the event that Federal forces moved against Little Rock (Pulaski County), and then …

Kate Hart

As part of the Union’s Mississippi River Squadron during the Civil War, the sternwheel steamer Kate Hart served as a chartered vessel on the Mississippi River and its tributaries, including expeditions on the White River during the ongoing battle for control of significant interior rivers in the Trans-Mississippi Department. Built in 1864 in Paducah, Kentucky, the Kate Hart displaced between 279 and 300 tons of water and joined the Mississippi River Squadron in the summer of 1864, serving with two barges. Erroneous reports claimed that the Kate Hart burned in July 1864 during an operation on the White River under Brigadier General Eugene Asa Carr against Brigadier General John Sappington Marmaduke, but the vessel served until the end of the …

Resolute

The steam tug Resolute joined the Union navy’s Mississippi River Squadron, serving during the Civil War under charter on the Mississippi River and its tributaries, including expeditions on the White and Red rivers during the ongoing battle for control of significant interior rivers in the Trans-Mississippi Department. Acquired on January 1, 1862, by the U.S. Quartermaster for use as a chartered auxiliary vessel on the Mississippi River and its tributaries, the steam tug Resolute displaced thirty tons and served with two barges. According to Brigadier General Christopher Columbus Andrews, who commanded the Second Division of the Seventh Army Corps headquartered at DeValls Bluff (Prairie County), an indeterminate number of unidentified Confederate partisans fired at the Resolute at 8:00 p.m. on …

SS Ouachita Victory

The SS Ouachita Victory was a Victory ship launched on May 8, 1945, from Wilmington, California and named for Ouachita College (now Ouachita Baptist University). The title of SS stands for “steam ship” and should not be confused with USS, which signifies it as a “United States Ship.” Although it was used during World War II, the Ouachita was not associated with the United States Navy. The California Shipbuilding Corporation built the SS Ouachita Victory. The ship was 455 feet long and was composed of three decks. It could travel at a speed of fifteen knots. Lightly armed with small guns, Victory ships were never meant for battle. Their primary function was to transport cargo and troops. Only three victory …

Steamboats (Civil War)

Steamboats during the Civil War won little glamour but played a critical role. With rivers serving as the lifeblood of the Confederacy, steamboats permitted the rapid movement of heavy cargo up and down the waterways. Both Union and Confederate forces in Arkansas relied on steamboats to move troops and supplies, with Little Rock (Pulaski County), Helena (Phillips County), Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), and DeValls Bluff (Prairie County) serving as supply centers and shipping hubs. Essentially, steamboats made the war effort possible. By the start of the Civil War, the great majority of Arkansas’s commerce traveled by steamboat. Flatboats and keelboats had once moved agricultural products downriver to New Orleans, Louisiana, but neither type of boat could easily make the return …

Sultana

The Sultana steamboat disaster in 1865, at the end of the Civil War, has been called America’s worst maritime disaster. More people died in the sinking of the riverboat Sultana than on the Titanic. However, for a nation that had just emerged from war and was still reeling from the assassination of President Lincoln, the estimated loss of up to 1,800 soldiers returning home on the Mississippi River was scarcely covered in the national news. The remains of the steamboat are believed to lie buried in Arkansas. Those aboard the boat were mostly Union soldiers from Midwestern states such as Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. Having been taken prisoners of war, they were sent to the notoriously overcrowded Confederate prisons of …

USNS Private William H. Thomas (T-AP-185)

aka: SS Alcoa Cruiser
aka: USS Rixey (AHP-3)
The USNS Private William H. Thomas was a Tryon-class evacuation transport built in 1941 that was renamed in 1946 for a Wynne (Cross County) native who received a Medal of Honor during World War II. William H. Thomas was born in Wynne on January 13, 1923. He was serving as a Browning Automatic Rifle gunner on Luzon in the Philippine Islands on April 22, 1945, when a Japanese satchel charge blew off both of his legs beneath the knee. Refusing medical attention, Thomas continued fighting until his weapon was disabled and he ran out of grenades. Thomas died of his wounds, and he received a posthumous Medal of Honor for his valor. The Private William H. Thomas originated as the …

USS Arkansas (BB-33)

The battleship USS Arkansas (BB-33) was the third ship of the U.S. Navy to bear the state’s name, the prior vessels being a wooden-hulled steamer during the American Civil War, and an 1890s single-turret monitor that was renamed Ozark in 1909 and used as an instruction ship. The battleship Arkansas participated in both world wars and received four battle stars for service in World War II. The Arkansas’s keel was laid on January 25, 1910, in Camden, New Jersey. The USS Arkansas was launched on January 14, 1911, and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on September 17, 1912. Measuring 562 feet by ninety-three feet, the Arkansas was designed for a crew of 1,594. It was armed with twelve twelve-inch …

USS Arkansas (CGN-41)

The USS Arkansas (CGN-41) was the fourth and last ship in the Virginia class of Nuclear Powered Guided Missile Cruisers. The cruiser was also the fourth ship in the U.S. Navy to be named after the state of Arkansas. The keel of the USS Arkansas was laid on January 17, 1977, at Newport News, Virginia, by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. It was launched on October 21, 1978, and was commissioned on October 18, 1980, with Captain Dennis S. Read in command. The guided-missile cruiser spent the four months following its commissioning in the vicinity of Hampton Roads, Virginia. In March 1981, it completed contract trials and conducted a public relations call at Port Everglades, Florida. Until …

USS Arkansas (Civil War)

Not to be confused with the like-named Confederate ship the CSS Arkansas, the USS Arkansas served the U.S. Navy during the Civil War as a supply and tender vessel, helping to maintain communications and supply with the blockade fleet along the Texas gulf coast. Constructed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1863 as a commercial barkentine-rigged, wooden-hulled, screw steamer originally named Tonawanda, this vessel measured 191 feet in length and thirty feet at the beam. It weighed 752 tons and drafted nineteen feet of water. It carried a crew of eighty-eight enlisted sailors and officers. Propelled by one vertical condensing engine capable of operation at high or low pressure, with a cylinder diameter of forty inches and a thirty-inch stroke, it averaged …

USS Arkansas (M-7)

aka: USS Ozark (BM-7)
The USS Arkansas (M-7), also known as the USS Ozark (BM-7), was one of four monitor-class naval vessels built for the U.S. Navy in the late 1800s. Although designed as surface warships, these vessels were primarily relegated to support operations because they were obsolete by the time they were finished. In 1898, the navy approved designs to introduce four new monitor vessels. These vessels were known as the USS Arkansas (M-7), USS Connecticut (M-8), USS Florida (M-9), and USS Wyoming (M-10). Because the navy designates the first ship of a class series the class name of the ship, M-7 through M-10 were known as Arkansas-class monitors. The USS Arkansas was built by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company …

USS Baron De Kalb

aka: USS St. Louis
Named for Baron Johann De Kalb, a Bavarian nobleman who served as a major general in the Continental army during the American Revolution, the sternwheel casemate gunboat Baron De Kalb saw extensive service with the Union’s Western Gunboat Fleet during the Civil War, including operations on the White River during the ongoing battle for control of significant interior rivers in the Trans-Mississippi Department. Built in 1861 in Carondelet, Missouri, by the innovative ship designer James B. Eads under orders from U.S. Army Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs and originally christened the St. Louis, the 175-foot Cairo-class vessel displaced 512 tons and drew six feet of water. Its armaments consisted of two eight-inch smoothbore cannon, four forty-two-pound rifled cannon, and seven thirty-two-pound …

USS Baxter (APA-94)

The USS Baxter was a Sumter-class attack transport ship that saw action during World War II. It is named in honor of Baxter County. The Baxter was the fourth and final ship in the Sumter class to be constructed, with work beginning on March 18, 1943, in Chickasaw, Alabama; the other three ships of the class were constructed in 1942. The ship was launched on September 19, 1943, and was acquired by the U.S. Navy on November 30, receiving a reduced commission. The Baxter sailed to Brooklyn, New York, where it arrived on December 14. Work to convert it to an attack transport began the same day. The ship was fully commissioned on May 15, 1944, under the command of …

USS Benton County (LST-263)

The USS Benton County, originally USS LST-263, was a tank landing ship that served the U.S. Navy in the European Theater during World War II. It was renamed the USS Benton County on July 1, 1955, in honor of counties of that name in nine states, including Arkansas. LST-263 was one of a class of vessels created to carry tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment, and supplies during military operations along coastal areas. Called “Large Slow Targets” by their crews, they were designed as shallow-draft vessels; when loaded with a 500-ton cargo, LST-263 drew just under four feet at the bow and just under ten feet at the stern. They carried pontoons amidships that could be used to …

USS Boone County (LST-389)

The USS Boone County, originally LST-389, was a tank landing ship that served the U.S. Navy in the European Theater during World War II. It was renamed the USS Boone County on July 1, 1955, in honor of counties of that name in eight states, including Arkansas. LST-389 was one of a class of vessels—called Landing Ship, Tank—created to carry tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment, and supplies during military operations along coastal areas. Called “Large Slow Targets” by their crews, they were designed as shallow-draft vessels; when loaded with a 500-ton cargo, LST-389 drew just under four feet at the bow and just under ten feet at the stern. These ships carried pontoons amidships that could be …

USS Bradley County (LST-400)

The USS Bradley County, originally USS LST-400, was a tank landing ship that served the U.S. Navy in the European Theater during World War II. It was renamed the USS Bradley County on July 1, 1955, in honor of counties in Arkansas and Tennessee. LST-400 was one of a class of vessels—called Landing Ship, Tank—created to carry tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment, and supplies during military operations along coastal areas. Called “Large Slow Targets” by their crews, they were designed as shallow-draft vessels; when loaded with a 500-ton cargo, LST-400 drew just under four feet at the bow and just under ten feet at the stern. They carried pontoons amidships that could be used to create causeways …

USS Calhoun County (LST-519)

The USS Calhoun County, originally USS LST-519, was a tank landing ship that served the U.S. Navy in the European Theater during World War II and was later used to dump radioactive material into the Atlantic Ocean. It was renamed the USS Calhoun County on July 1, 1955, in honor of counties of that name in eleven states, including Arkansas. LST-519 was one of a class of vessels created to carry tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment, and supplies during military operations along coastal areas. Called “Large Slow Targets” by their crews, they were designed as shallow-draft vessels; when loaded with a 500-ton cargo, LST-519 drew just under four feet at the bow and just under ten feet …

USS Chicot (AK-170)

The USS Chicot was an Alamosa-class cargo ship that served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and the Korean War. The ship was named for Chicot County and was part of the same class as the USS Craighead, USS Poinsett, and USS Sebastian, all named for Arkansas counties. The Chicot was launched on July 16, 1944, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The ship was constructed by Froemming Brothers, Incorporated, and was acquired by the navy on March 13, 1945. It was commissioned as the Chicot on April 4, 1945, and the first captain of the ship was Lieutenant Commander Lawrence Marshall. The Alamosa class consisted of cargo ships designed to deliver troops, equipment, and goods to combat zones. The Chicot …

USS Cincinnati

The sternwheel casemate gunboat Cincinnati saw extensive service with the Union’s Western Gunboat Fleet during the Civil War, including the expedition up Steele’s Bayou and operations on the White River during the ongoing battle for control of significant interior rivers in the Trans-Mississippi Department. Built in 1861 in Mound City, Illinois, by the innovative ship designer James B. Eads under orders from U.S. Army Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs, the 175-foot Cairo-class vessel displaced 512 tons and drew six feet of water. Its armaments consisted of six thirty-two-pound and three eight-inch smoothbore cannon, four forty-two-pound rifled cannon, and one twelve-pound howitzer. Under operational control of the army and piloted by permanently assigned civilians, the Cincinnati joined the Western Gunboat Fleet in …

USS Clara Dolsen

The USS Clara Dolsen was a massive sidewheel paddleboat built in 1861 and used by Confederate forces until its capture by the U.S. Navy during the 1862 St. Charles Expedition. The Clara Dolsen was a 939-ton sidewheel paddleboat built at Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1861 for Captain William T. Dunning, A. P. Stewart, and S. B. Edwards of New Orleans, Louisiana. Its hull was constructed at the Leatherbury yard, and its machinery was manufactured by C. T. G. Dumont. The Clara Dolsen was 273 feet long and forty-two feet wide, and it was powered by five boilers and twenty-eight-inch cylinder engines. Its paddlewheels were thirty-six feet in diameter with fourteen-foot buckets. The ship was acknowledged as “one of the largest, handsomest, …

USS Cleburne (APA-73)

The USS Cleburne was a Gilliam-class attack transport that served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. It was named for Cleburne County, Arkansas, and Cleburne County, Alabama, both of which were named in honor of Confederate major general Patrick Cleburne. The Gilliam class was designed to transport troops and materials close to shore during invasions. Small boats carried by the larger ship were used to land troops on shore. The ships of the class were 426 feet long and fifty-eight feet wide. With a top speed of seventeen knots, the ship utilized a crew of twenty-seven officers and 295 enlisted men. The ship could carry forty-seven officers and 802 enlisted men. Armed with a single five-inch dual-purposed mounted …

USS Conestoga

The first of two vessels named Conestoga, this converted sidewheel steamer saw extensive service with the Union’s Western Gunboat Fleet during the Civil War, including operations on the Arkansas, White, Black, Tensas, and Ouachita rivers during the ongoing battle for control of significant interior rivers in the Trans-Mississippi Department. Originally built in 1859 in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, as a sidewheel steamer displacing between 297 and 572 tons, the Conestoga was purchased by the U.S. Army Quartermaster on June 3, 1861, and converted into a wood-clad gunboat for service with the Western Gunboat Fleet on the Mississippi River and various tributaries. Although under the army’s operational control, the vessel was commanded by Lieutenant S. Ledyard Phelps of the U.S. Navy. Initial duties …

USS Cooper (DD-695)

The USS Cooper was a U.S. Navy destroyer in World War II named for Monticello (Drew County) native Elmer Glenn Cooper. The Cooper sank on December 3, 1944, after being struck by a torpedo during a surface engagement at Ormoc Bay. Elmer Glenn Cooper was born on May 9, 1905, in Monticello, to the farming family of James O. Cooper and Anna B. Cooper. He married Francis Vivian Lewis Sigmon in 1928. Cooper attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, graduating 476th in a class of 579 in 1927, and was retained for aviation instruction that summer. Cooper became a U.S. Navy pilot and was serving on the aircraft Carrier USS Langley when, during fleet maneuvers off southern California, …

USS Cossatot (AO-77)

aka: USNS Cossatot
The USS Cossatot was a tanker in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Named for the Cossatot River in southwestern Arkansas, the USS Cossatot served in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters of war. The Cossatot, which was a Type 2-SE-A1 tanker, served as a fleet oiler, supplying fuel and other necessities to ships at sea. It was constructed in Chester, Pennsylvania, by the Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company. Originally laid down as the Fort Necessity, the ship was launched on February 28, 1943, and then transferred to the navy on March 17, 1943. Commander P. G. Beck served as the first captain of the ship when it was commissioned on April 20, 1943, in Norfolk, Virginia. Upon …

USS Craighead (AK-175)

The USS Craighead was an Alamosa-class cargo ship that served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and the Korean War. The ship was named for Craighead County and was part of the same class as the USS Chicot, USS Poinsett, and USS Sebastian, all named for Arkansas counties. Construction on the ship began in 1944, and it was launched on February 28, 1945. Constructed by Froemming Brothers, Incorporated, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Craighead was acquired by the navy on July 31, 1945. It was commissioned on September 5, 1945, under the command of Lieutenant Commander George Walker, who commanded the ship for its entire service in the navy. The ship was crewed by members of the U.S. Coast …

USS Cricket

The USS Cricket was a sternwheel steamboat built in 1860 and purchased by the U.S. Navy in 1862 for Civil War service in western waters, including extensive activity in Arkansas rivers. Cricket No. 2, as the boat was originally named, was constructed in 1860 at California, Pennsylvania, for R. Hamilton of Hanging Rock, Ohio, and John Kyle of Cincinnati, Ohio. The vessel was 151 feet long and 27.7 feet wide. It ran between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Cincinnati, Ohio, and, during the summer, between Cincinnati and Louisville, Kentucky, under the command of Captain S. B. Hempstead. The Union navy bought the ship on November 18, 1862, at Cairo, Illinois, and converted it to a tinclad gunboat with the addition of one-and-one-quarter-inch …

USS Crittenden (APA-77)

The USS Crittenden (APA-77) was a Gilliam-class attack transport named for counties in Arkansas and Kentucky. The vessel served late in World War II and during the occupation of Japan before being used as a test vessel for atomic bomb tests on the Bikini Atoll. The USS Crittenden was built by the Consolidated Steel Corporation of Wilmington, California, under a contract from the U.S. Maritime Commission. It was launched on November 6, 1944, and christened by Mrs. W. R. Boyd. The Crittenden was transferred to the U.S. Navy on January 16, 1945, and commissioned a day later under command of Commander P. C. Crosley. The USS Crittenden weighed 4,247 tons and was 426 feet long and fifty-eight feet wide, traveling …

USS Drew (APA-162)

The USS Drew (APA-162) was a 6,873-ton Haskell-class attack transport built in 1944 and named for Drew County, Arkansas. The Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation in Portland, Oregon, laid down the hull for the USS Drew on June 30, 1944. The vessel was launched on September 14, then commissioned on October 22, 1944, under Commander D. H. Swinson. The ship was 455 feet long and sixty-two feet wide and could reach speeds of seventeen knots. It had a crew of fifty-six officers and 490 sailors and could carry up to eighty-six officers and 1,440 enlisted men. The Drew was armed with one five-inch gun, one quad-40mm antiaircraft mount, four twin 40mm guns, and ten single-mount 20-mm AA guns. The Drew left San …

USS Eberle (DD-430)

The USS Eberle was a Gleaves-class destroyer that saw service in World War II and in the Greek navy. It is one of two ships named after Admiral Edward Eberle, a resident of Fort Smith (Sebastian County), that saw service in World War II. The keel of the ship was laid down by the Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, on April 12, 1939. Launched on September 14, 1940, it was commissioned on December 4 of the same year. The ship was sponsored by Mildred Eberle, the granddaughter of Admiral Eberle. The first commander of the Eberle was Lieutenant Commander Edward Randolph Jr. The Eberle was armed with four single-mount five-inch guns. (Some members of the Gleaves class had five …

USS Fort Hindman

The USS Fort Hindman was a Union paddle-wheel steamer that operated along rivers in the Trans-Mississippi during the Civil War. Named for the Confederate fort captured at Arkansas Post in January 1863, the Fort Hindman participated in numerous actions during the war. The ship that became known as the Fort Hindman was purchased by the Federal government on March 14, 1863. Known as the James Thompson when it entered service, the ship was renamed the USS Manitou the same month. Lightly armored, the ship also carried a total of six eight-inch guns. In April 1863, the ship joined the Mississippi River Squadron and was commanded by Lieutenant Thomas O. Selfridge, the first graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. In July …

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 …

USS Grant County (LST-1174)

The USS Grant County (LST-1174) was a U.S. Navy tank landing ship constructed in 1956 and named for fifteen U.S. counties, including one in Arkansas. LST-1174 was one of a class of vessels—called Landing Ship, Tank—created to carry tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment, and supplies during military operations along coastal areas. Called “Large Slow Targets” by their crews, they were designed as shallow-draft vessels. They carried pontoons amidships that could be used to create causeways when they had to debark their cargos from deeper water, but they were capable of dropping their forward ramps directly onto a beach. The Grant County could launch 500 tons of vehicles in a dry landing and 1,500 tons if using the …

USS Hoga (YT-146)

aka: City of Oakland [Boat]
The USS Hoga (YT-146) is a Woban-class District Harbor Tug built in 1940. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989 in recognition of actions during the December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It later served as a fireboat, called the City of Oakland, in California before becoming part of the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 2015. The keel of the Hoga—named for the Sioux word for fish—was laid down on July 25, 1940, by the Consolidated Shipbuilding Corporation of Morris Heights, New York, and it was launched on December 31, 1940. Designated YT-146 (for Yard Tug), the Hoga was put in service on May …

USS Jack Williams

The USS Jack Williams is an Oliver Hazard Perry–class guided missile frigate built in 1980 and named for a U.S. Navy corpsman from Harrison (Boone County) who was awarded a Medal of Honor for valor during World War II. Jack Williams was born on October 18, 1924, in Harrison. Williams joined the navy after World War II began and was serving as a Pharmacist’s Mate Third Class with the Third Battalion, Twenty-Eighth Marines, Fifth Marine Division during the fight for Iwo Jima. On March 3, 1945, despite being severely wounded, Williams continued to aid wounded marines under intense enemy fire. Williams died of his injuries after saving several men, and he received a posthumous Medal of Honor. The Bath Iron …

USS Jefferson County (LST-845)

The USS Jefferson County, originally LST-845, was a tank landing ship that served the U.S. Navy in the Far East after World War II and during the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. It was renamed the USS Jefferson County on July 1, 1955, in honor of counties of that name in twenty-five states, including Arkansas. LST-845 was one of a class of vessels created to carry tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment, and supplies during military operations along coastal areas. Called “Large Slow Targets” by their crews, they were designed as shallow-draft vessels, though LST-845 could transport cargos from 1,600 to 1,900 tons. They carried pontoons amidships that could be used to create causeways when they had to debark …

USS Johnson County (LST-849)

The USS Johnson County (LST-849) was a tank landing ship constructed in 1944 for the U.S. Navy that saw service in the Pacific during World War II and the occupation of Japan. It was designated the USS Johnson County on July 1, 1955, in honor of counties in twelve states, including Arkansas. LST-849 was one of a class of vessels—called Landing Ship, Tank—created to carry tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment, and supplies during military operations along coastal areas. Called “Large Slow Targets” by their crews, they were designed as shallow-draft vessels; when carrying a 500-ton load, LST 849 drew only three feet eleven inches forward and nine feet ten inches aft. They carried pontoons amidships that could …

USS Lafayette County (LST-859)

The USS Lafayette County (LST-859) was a tank landing ship that saw service in World War II and the Korean War. It was designated the USS Lafayette County on July 1, 1955, in honor of a Louisiana parish and counties in five U.S. states, including Arkansas. LST-859 was one of a class of vessels—called Landing Ship, Tank—created to carry tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment, and supplies during military operations along coastal areas. Called “Large Slow Targets” by their crews, they were designed as shallow-draft vessels; when carrying a 500-ton load, LST-859 drew only three feet eleven inches forward and nine feet ten inches aft. They carried pontoons amidships that could be used to create causeways when they …

USS Lawrence County (LST-887)

The USS Lawrence County (LST-887) was an LST-542 Class tank landing ship built in 1944 that saw service in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. It was designated the USS Lawrence County on July 1, 1955, in honor of counties in eleven U.S. states, including Arkansas. LST-887 was one of a class of vessels—called Landing Ship, Tank—created to carry tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment, and supplies during military operations along coastal areas. Called “Large Slow Targets” by their crews, they were designed as shallow-draft vessels; when carrying a 500-ton load, LST-887 drew only three feet eleven inches forward and nine feet ten inches aft. They carried pontoons amidships that could be used to …

USS Lee County (LST-888)

The USS Lee County (LST-888) was a tank landing ship built in 1944 that saw service in the Pacific Theater of World War II. It was designated the USS Lee County on July 1, 1955, in honor of counties in five U.S. states, including Arkansas. LST-888 was one of a class of vessels—called Landing Ship, Tank—created to carry tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment, and supplies during military operations along coastal areas. Called “Large Slow Targets” by their crews, they were designed as shallow-draft vessels; when carrying a 500-ton load, LST-888 drew only three feet eleven inches forward and nine feet ten inches aft. They carried pontoons amidships that could be used to create causeways when they had …

USS Lexington

The USS Lexington was a timberclad city-class gunboat in the U.S. Navy that saw extensive service on the Mississippi River and tributaries within Arkansas during the Civil War. It was the third vessel in the history of the navy to be commissioned with this name. Built as a side-wheel steamer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1861 and purchased by the U.S. Quartermaster Department on June 8 for conversion to a gunboat in Cincinnati, Ohio, the USS Lexington measured 177 feet and seven inches in length and thirty-six feet and ten inches at the beam. It weighed 448 tons and made seven knots with a battery of one twelve-pounder howitzer, four eight-inch guns, and one thirty-two-pounder and two thirty-pounder Parrott rifles. Under Commander …