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Tyler (1861-1865)

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USS Tyler, a 575-ton "timberclad" gunboat, was converted from the commercial side-wheel steamship A.O. Tyler, which had been built in 1857 at Cincinnati, Ohio. Acquired in June 1861 for the Army's Western Gunboat Flotilla, she was commissioned in September with officers provided by the Navy. One of the first Federal warships on the Western Rivers, Tyler saw extensive action on the Mississippi and its tributaries throughout the Civil War, beginning in early September 1861 when she engaged CSS Jackson near Hickman, Kentucky. During 1861 and early 1862, she participated in operations on the Ohio, Upper Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers, firing her guns at Confederate forces on several occasions and participating in the capture of a number of enemy vessels and strategic positions.

In April 1862, Tyler played an important role in the Battle of Shiloh. In June, she joined other Union gunboats in operations on the Yazoo River, where she had a running battle with the Confederate ironclad Arkansas on 15 July 1862. Over the following year, Tyler was further employed on the Yazoo and in support of Army campaigns in Arkansas. She was formally transferred from the Army to the Navy in October 1862. From mid-1863 to the end of the Civil War she was mainly active in the Arkansas area and engaged an enemy shore battery at Clarendon, Arkansas, on 24 June 1864. Tyler was placed out of service soon after the end of the great conflict and was sold in August 1865.

This page features all our views of USS Tyler.

Photo #: NH 55826

USS Tyler (1861-1865)


Wash drawing by F. Muller, circa 1900, depicting Tyler anchored off shore, with two mortar rafts tied up to the river bank, in the Mississippi River area during the Civil War.

Courtesy of the U.S. Navy Art Collection, Washington, D.C.



Photo #: NH 95020

USS Tyler (1861-1865)


Anchored on one of the Western Rivers, circa 1862-65. A small cutter is in the foreground and a "City" class ironclad is in the right distance.
Identification of this ship as Tyler is probable, based on photographs of all three "timber-clad" gunboats.

Collection of Commander George M. Bache, USN.



Photo #: NH 49975

USS Tyler (1861-1865)


Tied up by a river bank in the Mississippi River area, during the Civil War, with her crew's laundry hung up to dry.



Photo #: NH 49976

USS Tyler (1861-1865)


Tied up for repairs in the Mississippi River area, during the Civil War. The planking has been removed from the side of her port paddle box.



Photo #: NH 59003-KN (Color)

"Gun-Boats Fitting Out at Cincinnati, Ohio, for Government Service on the Mississippi"

Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 1861. This example has been hand-tinted in water colors.
The scene represents the conversion of the first "timber-clad" gunboats for the Western Gunboat Flotilla, in mid-1861. These ships were Conestoga, Lexington and Tyler, two of which are depicted here.

Courtesy of the U.S. Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC.



Photo #: NH 59004

"The Flotilla of Federal Gunboats for the Protection of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, Under the Command of Captain John Rodgers, U.S.N. -- From a Sketch by our Special Artist at Cairo, Illinois"


Line engraving published in "Frank Leslie's Illustrated ...", 1861, depicting the "timber-clad" gunboats Tyler, Lexington and Conestoga.



Photo #: NH 1997

Battle of Belmont, Missouri
, 7 November 1861

Engraving published in Rear Admiral Henry Walke's "Naval Scenes and Reminiscences of the Civil War in the United States ..." (1877), depicting the first attack by the gunboats Tyler and Lexington.



Photo #: NH 59014

"The retreat -- the Tyler shelling the Rebel troops"


Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 1861, depicting USS Tyler in action during the Battle of Belmont, Missouri, on 7 November 1861. She is followed by several transport steamers.



Photo #: NH 58898

"The Gun-boat Attack on the Water Batteries at Fort Donelson"


Line engraving, based on a sketch by Alexander Simplot, published in "Harper's Weekly", 1862, depicting the bombardment of Fort Donelson, Tennessee, by Federal warships, 14 February 1862. Many of the ships were damaged in this action. As identified on the engraving, they are (from left to right): "Timberclads" Tyler and Conestoga; Ironclads Carondelet, Pittsburg, Louisville and Saint Louis.



Photo #: NH 68448

"Pittsburg Landing. From a photograph taken a few days after the battle."


Engraving after an artwork by J.O. Davidson, published in "Battles and Leaders of the Civil War", Volume I, page 489. It shows six transports at Pittsburg Landing shortly after the Battle of Shiloh, in April 1862. The original caption reads: "Of the six transports, the one farthest up stream, on the right, is the Tycoon, which was dispatched by the Cincinnati Branch of the Sanitary Commission with stores for the wounded. The next steamer is the Tigress, which was General Grant's headquarters boat during the Shiloh campaign. On the opposite side of the river is seen the gun-boat Tyler.



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