USS Lioness (1857)

Laid down: 1859 at Brownsville, Pennsylvania
Commissioned: 1862
Decommissioned: 1865
In service: 1862-1863
Struck: sold, September 1865
Fate: civilian use until 1869
General characteristics
Displacement: 198 tons
Propulsion: stern-wheel steamer

Built in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania in 1857, the steam ram Lioness was purchased by the War Department and converted to a ram for Colonel Charles Ellet, Jr.'s U.S. Ram Fleet. Commissioned in 1862, Lieutenant Warren D. Crandall in command, she joined the Union flotilla on the western rivers.


After fitting out at Pittsburgh in April 1862, Lioness departed New Albany for Cairo, Illinois 12 May. Scouting Fort Pillow with other rams on 1 June, she participated on 6 June in the Battle of Memphis, a one-sided, Union victory. Lioness then joined other rams and three gunboats, convoying and covering army troops under Colonel Woods in a joint expedition from Helena to the Yazoo River, capturing the USS Fairplay, and destroying newly constructed Confederate batteries 20 miles up the Yazoo. The expedition also dispersed Confederate troops at Greenville, Mississippi, before retiring 27 August.

In December, Lioness was at Mound City, Illinois, preparing for further efforts against Vicksburg. On 6 February, she formed part of the expedition to Yazoo Pass and Greenville, operating there until 12 April. Then she and three other rams supported Colonel Charles R. Ellet’s marine brigade in the Tennessee.

After Southern naval power on the rivers had been wiped out, Lioness was laid up at Mound City until sold in 1865. She served American commerce until sold abroad in 1873.

See also


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here. Lioness article at US Naval Historical Center

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