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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Fort Donelson
ex
SS Robert E. Lee (1862 - 1863)


Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Sidewheel Steamer:
  • Built in 1860 at Glasgow, Scotland, as the iron-hull commercial steamer SS Giraffe
  • In 1862 she became the Confederate blockade runner SS Robert E. Lee
  • While attempting to reach Wilmington, N.C., 9 November 1863, SS Robert E. Lee was captured by the US Navy ships USS James Adger and USS Iron Age
  • Purchased by the Union Navy in January 1864
  • Converted to a war ship and placed in commission, 29 June 1864, Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Thomas Pickering in command
  • Assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, cruising in blockade of the North Carolina coast through the remainder of 1864
  • Participated in the attack on Fort Fisher, 13 to 22 January 1865
  • Participated in the attack on Fort Anderson, 17-18 February 1865
  • USS Fort Donelson operated with the South Atlantic Squadron until June 1865
  • Decommissioned, 17 August 1865, at Philadelphia
  • Sold for commercial service in October 1865, renamed SS Isabella
  • Sold in 1869 to Chile becoming the Chilean Navy ship Concepcion
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
    Specifications:
    Displacement 900 t.
    Length 284'
    Beam 20'
    Draft 10'
    Speed 11 kts
    Complement unknown
    Armament
    five 12-pdrs
    two 30-pdrs
    Propulsion steam

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    Size Image Description Contributed
    By
    SS Robert E. Lee
    Fort Donelson 61k SS Robert E. Lee, Confederate Blockade Runner-1863. Watercolor by Erik Heyl, 1951, painted for use in his book "Early American Steamers", Volume I. Built in Scotland in 1860 as the commercial steamship SS Giraffe, Robert E. Lee was captured, 9 November 1863, becoming USS Fort Donelson. Sold after the Civil War, she was renamed SS Isabella. In 1869 she became the Chilean Navy ship Concepcion.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 63888, courtesy of Erik Heyl.
    Bill Gonyo
    Fort Donelson 300k SS Robert E. Lee at anchor, location unknown.
    Image from "The Photographic History of The Civil War in Ten Volumes: Volume Six, The Navies". The Review of Reviews Co., New York. 1911. p. 108.
    Robert Hurst
    USS Fort Donelson
    Fort Donelson 70k USS Fort Donelson at anchor, circa 1864-1865. This steamer was previously the Confederate blockade runner SS Robert E. Lee.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 53934
    Bill Gonyo

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS
    USS Fort Donelson
    SS Robert E. Lee
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 20 May 2016