Today in History:

Baron de Kalb (1862-1863), ex-Saint Louis

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USS Saint Louis, a 512-ton Cairo class ironclad river gunboat, was built at Saint Louis, Missouri, for the U.S. Army's Western Gunboat Flotilla. Commissioned in January 1862, she participated in battles at Forts Henry and Donelson, Tennessee, and Columbus, Kentucky, during the month of February. Saint Louis was badly hit and disabled by Confederate cannon fire during the action at Fort Donelson. From March into May 1862, she was involved in operations to capture enemy Mississippi River fortifications at Island Number Ten and Fort Pillow, then was present during actions off Memphis, Tennessee, and in the White River, Arkansas, in June.

In September 1862, Saint Louis was renamed Baron de Kalb as part of the process of transferring the Western Gunboat Flotilla to the Navy. During November and December 1862, she took part in operations on the Yazoo River. Early in the new year, Baron de Kalb participated in the capture of Fort Hindman, Arkansas, then returned to the Yazoo for further operations. On 13 July 1863, during an expedition on that river, she was sunk by a Confederate mine.

This page features views of and on board USS Baron de Kalb (including those when she was named St. Louis) and provides links to pictures of her actions.

For additional images, showing USS Baron de Kalb's Civil War actions, see:

  • USS Baron de Kalb (ex-Saint Louis) -- Actions and Activities.

    Photo #: NH 78178

    USS Baron de Kalb (1862-1863)

    (Name changed from Saint Louis in September 1862)

    Line engraving by George Perine & Co., New York, circa 1865.



    Photo #: NH 59547

    USS Saint Louis (1862-1863)

    (Renamed Baron de Kalb in September 1862)

    Watercolor by Oscar Parkes.

    Courtesy of Dr. Oscar Parkes, London, England, 1936.



    Photo #: NH 56663

    "City" Class ironclad gunboats


    Off Cairo, Illinois, in 1863, with barges moored in the foreground.
    These ships are (from left to right):
    USS Baron de Kalb (1862-1863);
    USS Cincinnati (1862-1865) and
    USS Mound City (1862-1865).
    Boats are tied astern of Baron de Kalb and Cincinnati.



    Photo #: NH 56663-A

    "City" Class ironclad gunboats


    Off Cairo, Illinois, in 1863, with barges moored in the foreground.
    These ships are (from left to right):
    USS Baron de Kalb (1862-1863);
    USS Cincinnati (1862-1865) and
    USS Mound City (1862-1865).
    Boats are tied astern of Baron de Kalb and Cincinnati.

    Courtesy of Paul H. Silverstone, 1981.



    Online Image: 94KB; 740 x 475 pixels

    Note:
    This image shows somewhat more on the right side and somewhat less on the left side than Photo # NH 56663. Ship images are also not quite as sharp, though trees in the distance are much more distinct.

    Photo #: NH 59002

    "Commodore Foote's Gun-boat Flotilla on the Mississippi"


    Line engraving after a sketch by Alexander Simplot, published in "Harper's Weekly", 1862.
    Ships are identified below the image as (from left to right): Mound City, Essex, Cairo, Saint Louis, Louisville, Benton, Pittsburg and Lexington.



    Photo #: NH 59018

    "Gun-Deck of One of the Mississippi Gun-Boats Engaged in the Attack on Fort Henry"


    Line engraving after a sketch by Alexander Simplot, published in "Harper's Weekly", 1862.
    It depicts a gun deck scene on board one of the "City" class ironclad gunboats. Of the seven ships of that class, Carondelet, Cincinnati and Saint Louis were present during the attack on Fort Henry, Tennessee, on 6 February 1862.



    Photo #: 165-C-703

    "City" Class armored gunboats


    Under construction by James Eads, at St. Louis, Missouri, prior to October 1861.
    This view shows four ships being built in pairs, at two levels on the shore, with casemate side timbers largely installed. Vertical timbers extending above the slanting casemate sides are framing for the ships' paddle-wheel boxes.
    The four ships of this class built at St. Louis were Carondelet, Louisville, Pittsburg and Saint Louis.
    Note building and flagpole in the right background, timber stockpile in the foreground, and twin rudder posts at the ships' sterns with the paddle raceway between them.

    Photograph from the Collections of the U.S. National Archives.

    Photo #: 165-C-702

    "City" Class armored gunboats


    Under construction by James Eads, at St. Louis, Missouri, prior to October 1861.
    This view looks along the main deck on one gunboat, with its boilers in the foreground and casemate timbers at the sides. Another vessel is beyond, with some spar deck beams atop the casemate side timbers and upright framing in place for her wheel box.
    The four ships of this class built at St. Louis were Carondelet, Louisville, Pittsburg and Saint Louis.
    Note flagpole in the left background.

    Photograph from the Collections of the U.S. National Archives.

    Photo #: NH 59001

    "United States Mississippi Gun-boats being built at Carondelet, near St. Louis, Missouri"


    Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 5 October 1861.
    It depicts, rather inaccurately, the construction of four of the "City" class ironclads by James Eads, including Carondelet, Louisville, Pittsburg and Saint Louis.



    For additional images, showing USS Baron de Kalb's Civil War actions, see:

  • USS Baron de Kalb (ex-Saint Louis) -- Actions and Activities.

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