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USS Lafayette (I)

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Sidewheel Ironclad Ram:
  • Built in 1848, as the sidewheel steamer Aleck Scott at St. Louis, MO
  • Purchased by the War Department in 1861, for use as a quartermaster ship, renamed Fort Henry, 18 May 1862
  • Converted to an ironclad ram at St. Louis, renamed Lafayette, 8 September 1862
  • Transferred to the Navy, 1 October 1862
  • Commissioned at Cairo, IL. USS Lafayette, 27 February 1863, Capt. Henry Walke in command.
  • During the Civil War USS Lafayette performed the following service:
    Mississippi Squadron at Vicksburg
    Passed the guns at Vicksburg, 6 April 1863
    Siege of the Confederate works at Grand Gulf
    Red River Expedition 4 May 1863
    Red River Expedition 12 - 15 March 1864, Fort De Russey
    Capture of Alexandria, LA., 16 March 1864
    Lower Mississippi from 1864 to 1865, safeguarding river transportation from attack
  • Decommissioned, 23 July 1865, and was laid up at New Orleans until sold there on 28 March 1866 for $10,770.
  • Final Disposition, taken to St. Louis in 1866 where she was dismantled for scrap
    Displacement 1,193 t.
    Length 280'
    Beam 45'
    Draft 9'
    Speed 4 kts
    2.5" iron
    2" rubber casemate
    Complement unknown
    two 11" Dahlgren smoothbores
    four 9" Dahlgren smoothbores
    two 100-pdr Parrott rifles
    two 24-pdr howitzers
    two 12-pdr howitzers
    Propulsion steam

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    Size Image Description Contributed
    Merchant Service
    111k Steamer Aleck Scott tied at a river landing, circa 1848-1861, location unknown.
    University of Wisconsin-Madison LaCrosse Steamboat Collection
    John Spivey
    USS Lafayette (I)
    Lafayette 128k
    Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette (6 September 1757 – 20 May 1834), was a French aristocrat and military officer who fought in the American Revolutionary War. A close friend of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson, Lafayette was a key figure in the French Revolution of 1789 and the July Revolution of 1830.
    Tommy Trampp
    Black Hawk 549k General Pope's division boarding steamers at the levee,Cairo, IL. in May 1862 to reinforce General Hallack near Corinth, MS. Steamers include New Uncle Sam, Yankey and Aleck Scott. Illustration from "The Illustrated London News", 31 May 1862. Tommy Trampp
    Benton 358k "Admiral Porter's Fleet Running the Rebel Blockade of the Mississippi at Vicksburg, April 16th 1863." Text under the print's title reads: "At half past ten P.M. the boats left their moorings & steamed down the river, the Benton, Admiral Porter, taking the lead -- as they approached the point opposite the town, a terrible concentrated fire of the center, upper and lower batteries, both water and bluff, were directed upon the channel, which here ran within one hundred yards of the shore. At the same moment innumerable floats of turpentine and other combustible materials were set ablaze. In the face of all this fire, the boats made their way with but little loss except the transport Henry Clay which was set on fire & sunk."
    Ships depicted are (from the front to the rear:
    USS Benton (flagship);
    USS Lafayette with
    USS General Price alongside;
    USS Louisville;
    USS Mound City;
    USS Pittsburgh;
    USS Carondelet; transports
    SS Silver Wave;
    SS Forest Queen;
    SS Henry Clay; and
    SS Tuscumbia.
    Currier & Ives, New York. Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Academy Museum, Beverley R. Robinson Collection.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 76557-KN (Color)
    Robert Hurst
    Choctaw 48k "Attack on Grand Gulf," 29 April 1863, from Harper's Weekly.
    The attack by USS Benton,
    USS Lafayette,
    USS Tuscumbia,
    USS Carondelet,
    USS Louisville,
    USS Mound City, and
    USS Pittsburgh.
    Tommy Trampp
    Benton 155k "Battle of Grand Gulf, First position, R. Ad. D.D. Porter Commanding". Engraving published in Rear Admiral Henry Walke's Naval Scenes and Reminiscences of the Civil War in the United States ... (1877), depicting U.S. Navy ironclads engaging Confederate batteries at Grand Gulf, Mississippi, 29 April 1863. US ships present, as identified on the print, are (from left-center to right):
    USS Benton,
    USS Tuscumbia,
    USS Pittsburgh,
    USS Lafayette,
    USS Louisville,
    USS Baron de Kalb (Identified in the engraving as St. Louis) and
    USS Carondelet,.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 1852
    Robert Hurst
    Battle of Grand Gulf
    192k Battle of Grand Gulf, Second Position. The Battle of Grand Gulf was fought on April 29, 1863, during the American Civil War. During Major General Ulysses S. Grant's Vicksburg campaign, Union Army forces had failed in attempts to bypass the strategic city of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Grant decided move his army south, cross the Mississippi River, and then advance on Vicksburg. Seven Union Navy ironclad warships commanded by Admiral David Dixon Porter bombarded Confederate fortifications at Grand Gulf, Mississippi, in preparation for a crossing of the river. Union fire was able to silence one of the two Confederate fortifications at Grand Gulf, but the position was still strong enough that Grant decided to cross the river elsewhere.
    USS Benton, mislabeled as Trenton
    USS Lafayette,
    USS Tuscumbia,
    USS Carondelet,
    USS Louisville,
    USS Mound City, and
    USS Pittsburgh.
    From p. 592 of the 1887 book 'Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, being for the most part contributions by Union and Confederate officers, based upon ̉the Century War Series"', volume 3. Uploaded by the British Library to Flickr
    Tommy Trampp
    Lafayette 113k "The Western Iron-clad Gun-boat Ram Choctaw".
    Line engraving published in Harper's Weekly, 1863. It actually depicts USS Lafayette, not USS Choctaw.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 58716
    Robert Hurst
    Layafette 69k USS Lafayette dressed with flags for some occasion, in the Mississippi River area during 1863-65.
    US Navy photo # NH 2739
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Lafayette 66k USS Lafayette dressed with flags, in the Mississippi River area during 1863-65.
    US Navy photo # NH 51192 from the collections of the US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Aryeh Wetherhorn
    Lafayette 87k USS Lafayette dressed with flags, in the Mississippi River area during 1863-65.
    US Navy photo # NH 49988
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Lafayette 107k Colored lithograph after an original artwork by William Jefferson, published circa 1864 of USS Lafayette, courtesy of the U.S. Navy Art Collection, Washington, D.C.
    US Navy photo # NH 69897-KN (Color)
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    177k The side-wheel ironclad ram USS Lafayette, sketch by Midshipman D. M. N. Stouffer, circa 1864-65, Library of Congress. Robert Hurst

    USS Lafayette (I)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 15 June 2023