yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee

 The Tennessee River Voyages of U.S.S. Peosta

by William R. Morris

from the B. R. Jennings collection

click for a larger image

With the fall of Fort Henry in 1862 the Tennessee River was opened to the United States Military force, as a vital transportation artery to the Tennessee Heartland. U.S. Naval dominance was assured by the many heavily armed Gunboats that regularly ran the Tennessee River from Paducah, Kentucky to Florence, Alabama. These boats not only provided an offensive naval capability but also furnished protection to the many U.S. Army and civilian transport steamers that also ran the river. As the Civil War progressed, U.S. Naval forces found themselves adaptable to cooperative amphibious operations with the army. They were able to gather military intelligence and to take ground offensive actions on their own. Perhaps most important, they found themselves in a position to aid the many civilian refugees that sought the safety that they felt could be obtained in the north.

Among the boats that regularly plied the Tennessee River was the 233 ton, heavily armed naval gunboat, the U.S.S. Peosta. The Peosta, a side wheeled steamer, was purchased by Admiral D. D. Porter in 1861 for use by the Navy as a river gunboat. On October 2, 1863 at Paducah, Kentucky the boat was commissioned into service armed with 3-30 pound Parrot Rifled Cannon, 2-32 pounder cannon, 6-24 pounder howitzers, and 2-12 pounder smooth bore cannon. She was 151'2" long with a 34'3' beam. When fully loaded she had a 6' draft. The boat was placed under the command of acting Volunteer Lieutenant Thomas E. Smith. Shortly after commissioning, the boat began receiving the rest of her crew, equipment, and ordinance.

Surviving the U.S.S. Peosta is her Daily Deck Logs for 1863, 1864, and 1865 held by the National Archives . Most of the information presented herein was obtained from these logs. Spelling of names, as best as could be interpreted, is presented as it appeared.

On November 10, 1863 the Peosta conducted her first trip up the Tennessee River escorting a number of transport vessels. The trip was, largely, uneventful. On November 14th the Peosta arrived at the Cravens Landing woodyard were she took on board five cords of wood to feed her hungry boilers. She proceeded up the river to Savannah. There, sighting the U.S.S. Lexington, she dropped anchor. Late that afternoon, while cruising, the Peosta broke her starboard wheel and had to put in at Pittsburg Landing. On November 15th the vessel arrived at Eastport, Mississippi landing alongside a coal barge and replenishing her dwindling supply. After a brief stop at Cravens Woodyard the Peosta continued her voyage down river, arriving at Paducah late the evening of November 17th.

The Peosta was re-supplied at Paducah and started back up the Tennessee River on November 9th. On November 22nd the ship's Captain directed his cutter be put ashore at East Perryville. There, the Peosta's sailors met Captain Taylor and his company of home guards who had captured a total of seven rebels. Six of the captured were of the command of Company I, 6th Tennessee Cavalry, C.S.A. with the remaining prisoner of Company H 10th Tennessee Cavalry, C.S.A. The sailors also received a paroled Union Soldier that was in the company of Captain Taylor. The cutter returned to the Peosta with its human cargo. At or about 3:3Opm the Peosta met the gunboat, U.S.S. Cricket, that was convoying a small fleet of five transport vessels downstream. The Captain of the Cricket graciously received custody of the Confederate Prisoners and the paroled Union Soldier. The following day, while the Peosta was proceeding down stream with the gunboat U.S.S. Robb and two additional transport vessels, she again landed, this time at Birmingham, Kentucky. There she received a Mrs. Yorcum and her son, a Union Soldier of the 2nd Tennessee for passage north. That evening the boat arrived and dropped anchor at Paducah, Kentucky.

On December 16th the Peosta, having completed another escort mission, again proceeded up river, this time with a coal barge in tow. Traveling with them were four U. S. Soldiers, rejected recruits J. M. Drake, George Drake, J. H. Williams, and J. A. J. Perry as well as a Dr. Chapman, all desiring transport up river. The coal barge was left at Fort Henry as the vessel proceeded southward, stopping only to destroy any flat boats or barges it found that might be used by the Confederates. On the 20th the boat landed only long enough to take on two soldiers of the 2nd Tennessee Cavalry, U.S. Vols. On the 21st Rebel guerrillas opened small arms fire on the Peosta's sailor pickets at Point Pleasant necessitating a response from the Peosta's heavy cannon. This rain of fire readily dispersed the guerrillas. The following morning, December 22nd 1863 while at Cravens Landing, citizens brought in three rebel prisoners and turned them over to the crew. On December 24th on their return trip the Peosta landed again at East Perryville. There, they took on a lady, three male citizens, and two soldiers all seeking passage northward. Along the route they stopped at Reynoldsburg where they pulled along side the gunboat U.S.S. Tawah. There they received three prisoners, a Lieutenant of Forrest's Cavalry and two guerrillas. Three more citizens came aboard along with a Negro for all seeking transportation to Paducah. On Christmas Day, the Peosta had returned to Paducah and there landed Dr. Chapman, his family, and all passengers.

On December 30th 1863 the Peosta again returned to the Tennessee. On January 4, 1864 the ship landed at Clifton, Wayne County, Tennessee. A military post had been established at Clifton a few days earlier by order of Brigadier General Alvin C. Gillem. Occupying the post at that time were two companies of Unionist Tennesseans and their new recruits who were to become the 2nd Tennessee Mounted Infantry, U.S. Vols. The post was under the command of Major John Murphy who had been temporarily detached from the 5th Tennessee Cavalry, U.S. Vols. At Clifton, around 1:00pm Captain Roberts and 13 privates of the post came aboard the Peosta for passage to Perryville. At about 4:00pm the Peosta landed and Captain Roberts and troops went ashore at Perryville. The Peosta continued on her patrol. On January 6th, 1864 about noon, the Peosta returned to Perryville and picked up Captain Roberts, 26 privates, and one lady who came aboard for passage to Clifton. A little over an hour later all the Peosta's passengers were landed at Clifton at 5:05pm. The Peosta continued her patrol. On the 11th of January the Peosta returned to Clifton. Clifton now had a coal barge anchored near the landing and the Peosta replenished her dwindling supply. On re-coaling the ship the Peosta continued patrolling northward.

On January 13th 1864 the Peosta again returned to Clifton where they received custody of several prisoners from Clifton's Post Provost Marshall. Received were Elias Welles, James Throne, John F. Keeling, George C. Keeling, and Michael Throne, all reported to be of the 23rd Tennessee Infantry, C.S.A. and were turned over to the crew. Also received were Eli G. .James, Carl Murphy, and J. W. Rinehart, of the 9th Tennessee Cavalry, C.S.A. The custody of Hugh Galloway and James Cox of Hook's Guerrililas as well as Thomas Perrett of the 16th Alabama Infantry, C.S.A. John Barry, a supposed spy, was also timed over to the Peosta. On the afternoon of January 16th, Barry was released and was sent ashore. On the Peosta's return to Clifton, January 18th, J.C. Barnett, J.K. and J.C Guill came aboard for passage to East Perryville. Later that day, at about 11:40am, 63 Union Soldiers of the post at Clifton came aboard for passage to Paducah. These soldiers were to be transported to Paducah, thence to Nashville, where they were to be armed and equipped. On receiving the passengers, the Peosta again departed Clifton, proceeding down the river. At about 3:15pm Barnett and Guill were landed at Perryville. The Peosta then continued northward. On the 20th the Peosta landed at Paducah sending their prisoners ashore to Paducah's Provost Marshall, Captain Smith. The 63 Soldiers/Recruits were also sent ashore to continue their journey toward Nashville.

During his stay at Paducah, Lieutenant Commander James W. Shirk, who had been aboard the Peosta during its most recent voyage prepared a report of his observation for Rear Admiral David D. Porter. Shirk indicated that, for the most part, guerrilla activity along the river was restricted to those who preyed upon families, regardless of their sentiment. He also reported the presence of the Clifton Garrison.

After re-provisioning, the Peosta again started up the river on the- 23rd of January 1864. On the 26th the Peosta, having landed at Clifton, began transferring ship's stores to the U.S.S. Key West (another U.S. Navy gunboat). While at Clifton a union soldier, A. Henson, came aboard for passage to Paducah. On January 27th the Peosta had returned to Paducah. The following after noon, Henson departed the ship.

In mid-February, 1864 the Peosta again returned to the Tennessee River. On the 16th she again landed at Clifton where, around 10:30pm both Major John and Lieutenant Thomas Murphy came aboard to confer with the Captain. On the 17th the Peosta got underway, proceeding up river to the General Boat Landing opposite Pittsburg Landing. There, they picked up a Union Scout and crossed him to Pittsburg Landing. Later that afternoon, the Union Scout returned with his wife and furniture. The crew assisted the scout by crossing his wife and furniture to the opposite bank. The Peosta's cruise continued without major incident concluding with her arrival at Paducah on the 19th.

On his return to Cairo, Lieutenant Commander Shirk reported to Admiral Porter a conversation he had with Major Murphy. Murphy had informed him that a number of the Post's officers owned cotton near Florence and Waterloo, Alabama. Shirk was left with the impression that some of these officers might have been taking advantage of their positions to speculate in cotton.

On February 26, 1864 the Peosta returned to the Tennessee. On the 28th she let go anchor off Clifton. Captains of the U.S. Navy Gunboats Tawah and Paw Paw as well as Post Commander, Major Murphy, came aboard for conference. The Peosta continued her patrol without major incident, returning to Clifton on March 1st to re-coal. The Peosta then proceeded down river, arriving at Mound City, Illinois on the 3rd.

March 5th found the Peosta back on the Tennessee River. On March 5th, 1864 she let go anchor off Waverly Landing where she took on board Allen Allenson, a 'colored' of the U.S.S. Tawah. Allenson was to be transported to Clifton. On March 8th having landed at East Perryville, Private Samuel Johnson, Co. C, 7th Tennessee Cavalry, came aboard for passage to Savannah. On March 9th 1864, the Peosta again landed at Clifton to there discharge an amount of paymaster stores The following morning, the ship re-coaled and got underway, proceeding upriver. That afternoon, she discovered a raft that was promptly pulled from shore and destroyed.

During the evening of the 10th at or about 8:30pm, the crew spotted a raft floating downstream with four men aboard. Although the sailors attempted to hail the men, they made no reply. The Peosta's gig and cutter were lowered. Several armed crewmen boarded them and gave chase of the raft while the gunboat proceeded downstream. At about 9:15pm the gig and cutter came along side the Peosta with the rafters aboard. The men were identified as William Moore, Samuel Outlaw, Daniel Outlaw and David Hoyt. The raft was found to be loaded with corn. Everything proving proper the men and raft were released and the Peosta proceeded upstream to Savannah, anchoring for the night. The, following morning, March 11th, having landed at Savannah, Private Johnson went ashore. Shortly thereafter the boat got underway. At or about 9:45am the crew again made a landing and took aboard a rebel deserter, J. Slaughter, and his wife for passage to Paducah. At about 1:30pm the crew responded to an apparent threat to the boat and began shelling the woods near the mouth of Yellow Creek firing in all about 36 rounds. They then proceeded up river, returning in a few hours. There, four of the crew landed and fired a small framed building located near the creek. On March 12th, a Union Soldier signaled the Peosta that there was a party of guerrillas at Pittsburg Landing. The Gunboat proceeded up stream and heavily shelled the area of Pittsburg Landing. The crew then made several other landings attempting to seek out guerrillas as she, proceeded downstream. She finally dropped anchor at Clifton near the naval coal barge. On March 13th, while at Clifton, Captain Berry of the 6th Tennessee Cavalry, U.S. Vols, with five of his men and George Hobson, a Government Agent, came aboard for passage to Paducah. The ship weighed anchor and proceeded downstream. On March 14th, the boat landed at Paducah and the passengers went ashore.

On March 19th, the Peosta again went up the Tennessee, this time with Union Soldiers Preston Henson, J.W. Olden, and Gilbert Falls, who were seeking transportation to Savannah. On March 21st, the boat landed along side the coal barge at Clifton. After re-coaling, the ship proceeded up the river. About 3:00pm the Peosta found the U.S.S. Tawah (who was escorting the steamer S.C. Baker) shelling the woods behind Saltillo. A portion of the Peosta's crew landed and destroyed a number of barrels of molasses, salt, vinegar, flour, sugar, and whiskey to prevent it from falling into rebel hands. They also took aboard 15 boxes of merchandise and stores that were to be left at Clifton. She proceeded up river dropping anchor off Savannah that evening. The following day the three union soldiers were put ashore at Savannah and the Peosta continued up stream. She stopped for a short time near Pittsburg Landing where she again responded to an apparent threat by shelling the woods. On March 23rd the Peosta stopped at Cravens Landing and she took aboard a man and his family for passage north. She stopped across the river at Saltillo where she took aboard three other men for passage to Clifton. She then proceeded down river. At 2:30 the boat landed at Clifton. Major Murphy came aboard and all passengers and cargo were off loaded. The following day, the Peosta again left downstream. In the evening the boat landed at Perryville and took aboard Rich Howard for passage to Paducah. She then proceeded northward Without major incident.

On March 25 the Peosta and gunboat U.S.S. Paw Paw found themselves actively involved in repelling Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest's attack on Paducah.

After a few weeks the Peosta again returned to the Tennessee, this time escorting a flotilla of transports. Departing Paducah on May 4th she arrived at the Clifton coal barge on the 6th. The following day the Peosta, having replenished her coal supply, continued up stream returning to Clifton on the 7th. She began conducting river patrols and small shore expeditions at the various landings along the river. On May 9th, while at Clifton Captain Philips of the United States Army and his mule came aboard for passage to Paducah. On May 10 the boat landed and picked up M.P. Heincar, a union Scout who was requesting transportation to Cairo. Later that date, two soldiers of K Company 11th Iowa Cavalry, who had been cut off from their command hailed the boat at Thompson's Landing and were picked up. On May 12 the boat again anchored off Paducah landing Captain Phillips and his mule and later the two cavalrymen. On the boat's arrival at Cairo, Illinois, Union Scout M. P. Heincar went ashore. 

On the 15th of May 1864 the Peosta again proceeded up the Tennessee dropping her anchor off Clifton on the 20th. On the 21st Colonel Murphy came aboard. The following day the boat moved out up river. She stopped at Cravens Landing about 11:30am where a Mrs. Roberts (a widow lady) and her two daughters, all refugees who were seeking transportation to Paducah were picked up. At about 12:20pm the ship's cutter was sent ashore to destroy a small boat that had just been used by someone to cross the river. A short time later the cutter returned carrying prisoner Louis Outlaw. Outlaw had been found in possession of two rifles, a revolver, and a small amount of ammunition for each of the weapons. On May 23rd the boat stopped at Hamburg Landing where Mr. Nelson of the crew went ashore with 15 armed sailors. The boat moved back into the river and drifted for about a mile and again put to shore. There they met Mr. Nelson and sailors now in possession of two horses taken from the Hayes Guerrillas. Throwing a few artillery rounds towards shore the boat continued its trip down stream. About 6:20pm the ship again landed at Clifton. 

About 8:30pm Lieutenant Colonel Owen Haney came aboard with 125 soldiers of the 2nd Tennessee Mounted Infantry, U.S. Vols. The Soldiers assisted the Peosta's sailors in rapidly re-coaling the ship. The Peosta then landed and picked up four head of horses belonging to the officers of Haney's command. They then proceeded up river. At about 7:40am the Peosta put to shore at the mouth of Snake Creek and landed Col. Haney and his command. The gunboat remained nearby until the return of Haney and his men at about 10:30am. The Peosta put in at Hamburg Landing picking up Haney, his men and horses, a prisoner, known only as "Strong" and a captured horse. The sailors also killed and took aboard 5 head of beef cattle, departing a short time later. At 12:30pm the boat again landed, this time at Buell's Landing where a scout was sent up the creek to destroy a boat. At 6:35pm the boat returned to Clifton, landing Haney, his command, and two of the beef cattle. The, boat proceeded back out to the river pulling along side a coal barge. 

On May 25th Private David Neusine, Company E, 6th Tennessee Cavalry, U.S. Vols. Came aboard for passage to Paducah. At 9:10am the sailors also received thirteen rebel prisoners from Clifton's Provost Marshall to also be sent to Paducah. The Peosta got underway soon thereafter. At 7:20pm the boat landed at East Perryville, where a Mrs. Garner came aboard for passage to Paducah. 0n May 26, the boat landed at Paducah and all lady passengers went ashore. Later, at 9:00pm 14 rebel prisoners were turned over to the Paducah's Provost Marshall. 

On June 13th, the Peosta returned to the Tennessee escorting a number of transport vessels. At Reynoldsburg the boat picked up 14 Union Soldiers on furlough who were bound for Clifton. Robert Houstel, a citizen, also came aboard for passage to Perryville. On June 16 Houstel was put ashore at his destination. On June 17 the boat returned to Clifton. While there Edgar Cherry came aboard for passage to Savannah. The following day, on reaching Savannah at 12:20pm Cherry was put ashore. On June 19th, Mr. Phillips of the crew and several armed men left the boat at the mouth of Snake Creek returning some time later. it was in this area that the Peosta meet the gunboat U.S.S. Undine and started a joint patrol. 

On June 20th the boat landed at Savannah. There they received a number of furloughed soldiers seeking passage to Johnsonville. Later that morning Edgar Cherry and Miss Irwin returned to the vessel and sought transportation down river. 

On June 21st, the Peosta proceeded downstream landing near Saltillo at 3:30am. Detachments from the Peosta and the Undine proceeded inland. Both boats then drifted downstream to Point Pleasant. There the naval detachment returned with two prisoners. One prisoner, H. Patten was found to be a noted guerrilla and was promptly shot on the bank. The other, John Watson, a Lieutenant in the Regular C.S.A. was received as a prisoner and taken aboard to be transported to Paducah. At about 7:45am the boats landed at Clifton. Three furloughed soldiers of the 10th Tennessee Infantry, U.S. Vols. came aboard for transportation to Johnsonville. Additionally R.D. Murphy and B. Hinkle came aboard for passage down river. Dr. Jonathan Ellis, an Assistant Surgeon of the 2nd Tennessee Mounted Infantry, U.S. Vols. came aboard for passenger to Paducah. The boat then proceeded downstream. At about 2:30 the Peosta stopped at the landing of Buzzard Roost where they picked up Stephen Boyd and Thomas McClanahan for passage down river. On June 22nd the Peosta landed at Johnsonville along side a coal barge. There, the three 10th Tennessee soldiers went ashore. Also landing were R.D. Murphy, B. Hinkle, Stephen Boyd and Thomas McClanahan. The Peosta again got underway. On June 23rd the Peosta landed at Birmingham, KY were Mrs. Ellis, wife of Dr. Ellis, came aboard for passage to Paducah. Later that afternoon, on the Peosta's arrival, the Ellis family went ashore at Paducah. 

On the 19th of December 1864, a few days following the Battle of Nashville, the Peosta again found herself sailing upstream on the Tennessee. Confederate General John Bell Hood's Army of Tennessee was in full retreat from Nashville and headed southward towards the Tennessee River. On December 23rd after some minor action and much damage from floating logs and debris, the ship arrived at Cravens Landing. There they sadly stopped to bury Seaman John 0rean, who had died along the way. They then proceeded up river, re-coaling and patrolling in the area. 

On December 24th the crew responded to a hail from Union Soldier Joel C. Gabriel and picked him up. At about 4:10 the Peosta sent a tug ashore to pick up a number of refugees at Savannah. It returned with John Wood and George Arkenbauer, both soldiers of the 42 Ill., who had been captured and had escaped. Also with them were refugees J.C. Hunt, J. M. Rackley, M.S. Polk, W.W. Thornton, as well as Jacob Collins, a deserter from the Rebel Army. As they drifted down stream, the tug again returned with 3 ladies and a small boy, E. N. Ginn, H. H. Wlliams, and J.R. Lowe, all refugees. The Peosta continued an active patrol up and down the river breaking up groups of rebels, destroying boats and capturing goods when they could. 

January 1865 found the Peosta still on the Tennessee. On January 2nd at about 5:30pm Private Thomas Tilley of the 122nd Illinois infantry came board for passage up the River. 0n January 4th, the crew made a landing at Clifton where they received on board a total 19 officers and 460 men of the 72nd and 95th Ohio and 10th Minn. inf. to be transported up river in convoy. On January 5th, the Peosta landed at Chickasaw, Alabama and put ashore 50 scouts. The Peosta remained off shore nearby. At about 3:00am the following morning, 15 of the scouts returned with 15 rebel prisoners. The Peosta remained in this area crossing and re-crossing the scouts across the icy waters of the Tennessee. During this time, the Peosta remained on the Tennessee conducting her patrols between Perryville, Tennessee and Eastport, Mississippi. 

On January 17th 1865 at about 11:35am a detail of sailors from the Peosta went ashore at Savannah. They returned around noon with R. W. Bain, an escaped Federal Soldier from Corinth, later turning him over to a Provost Marshall. On January 18th 1865 the Peosta returned to Cravens Landing to pick up refugees. 

On the 16th of February the Peosta landed at Clifton and there picked up 25 mounted soldiers of the 2nd Tennessee Mounted infantry (they having recently returned from Gallitian, Tennessee). The soldiers were put ashore at Rhoades Landing about 4:00am the morning of the 17th. The Peosta then backed out into the river and waited. Around 6:45am the mounted soldiers returned meeting the Peosta at West Perryville. They had with them with seven newly captured guerrilla prisoners who were received onboard and promptly placed in irons. Among them was the notorious guerrilla Captain Blackburn. Around 8:15 that evening the ship returned to Clifton, landing the soldiers and anchoring off shore. 

On the morning of the 18th the Peosta, still at Clifton, received and crossed 20 mounted soldiers of the 2nd Tennessee, to the west bank of the river around 4:30am. Around 9:30am the soldiers returned, this time having a single captured guerrilla with them. Again the Peosta crossed the river, loaded the soldiers and landing them at Clifton. The Tennesseans took with them the newly captured guerrilla and Captain Blackburn. 

Captain Charles Shipman, Company D, 2nd Tennessee Mounted infantry, brought 14 rebel prisoners aboard the Peosta to be transported to Paducah. 

Things were apparently heating up for the civilian population and several people actively sought the safety of Paducah in preference to the lower Tennessee Valley. Along with Shipman and his prisoners, the Peosta transported Clifton area refugees A. S. Cotham with his wife and five children, Moses Hill with wife and two children and a "colored' woman, John Thompson and Eli Boyd. All of these men were recently discharged Federal Soldiers of the 2nd Tennessee Mounted infantry. The Peosta got underway about 11:00am proceeding northward. Near noon the boat put to shore at Matthews Landing and received the additional refugees John Swafford, R.J. Dyer and wife, Miss Zimmerman, Miss Phillips, and Miss Swafford. Around 2:00pm they landed at Buzzard Roost where refugees Mrs Boyer, her daughter, and Mrs. Smith came aboard. At 3:35 the Peosta stopped at East Perryville where they took on board Albert Shelton (a rebel deserter) and George A. Partridge (a discharged Confederate Soldier). Around 5:00pm the Peosta stopped at Rhoads Landing where they picked up Mrs. Guther and three children, Mrs. Burk, Mrs. Bledson, and Mrs. Darraby with her two children (all refugees). On the 19th the ship arrived at Paducah. All 20 prisoners were handed to the post Provost Marshall by Capt. Shipman. The refugees made their own arrangements. 

February 24th found the Peosta returning to the Tennessee River running towards Gravely Springs Landing and the large troop concentrations in the area. On March 3rd the boat landed at Saltillo where they took on board W.A. Etheridge and family, refugees seeking transportation to Paducah. On March 4th they made their way to Paducah. 

On March 10th the Peosta landed at Johnsonville and picked up lieutenant Barnett with 6 new recruits for passage to Clifton. As they made their way up the river they discovered two canoes lying along the bank which they brought aboard. On March 11 around 2:30am the Peosta arrived at Perryville. Lt. Barnett and two of his men took one of the captured canoes and went ashore. At 9:45am the Peosta landed at Clifton and put ashore the remaining four recruits. There Major T.A. Smith of the 6th Tennessee Cavalry obtained passage to Saltillo. 

On March 12th about 12:30am a detachment of sailors armed with Spencer Rifles went ashore near Crump Landing to conduct a scout. At around 4:30am the scouting party returned with Samuel Perkins, a guerrilla. After their return the Peosta's pickets were fired upon. Shots were exchanged between the reinforced pickets and their foe resulting in the wounding of two of the attackers and the killing of a horse. On the 12th Perkins and refugees were transferred to the U.S.S. St. Claire for transportation north. 

On the 14th of March 1865 the Peosta's pickets standing post near the Florence Bridge met an army officer with lady prisoner, Susanna Palmer. Both the officer and his prisoner were sent across the river. 

On March 17th after midnight the Peosta landed at Crumps Landing and sent out scouts. They returned with six prisoners at 5:30am who were found to be within the Peostas lines. That afternoon a detachment of the crew exchanged small arms fire with rebels across the river from Savannah. Such patrols and exchanges between the crew of the Peosta and area guerrillas were repeated during the next few days. 

On March 29th the Peosta landed at Savannah and received additional refugees seeking transportation northward. Coming on board were John Kernodle and family, two Miss Youngs, two Miss Pikes with a bale of cotton and H. Robertson. On the 30th the ship again reached Paducah. There, on March 31st Robertson's body was put ashore, he having died the previous evening. 

On May 1st the Peosta started up the Tennessee River again. On May 9th at Cravens Landing the crew received a Mrs. Davidson with four small children, refugees seeking transportation. That evening a portion of the Peosta's crew again went ashore on a scout. They returned having landed at West Point the Peosta's scouting party returning, reporting that they had killed the rebel guerrilla Bill Johnson and brought with them his property, a horse and mule with them. 

The Peosta, like many of the other gunboats and transports, is a part of Tennessee Valley history. For good or bad, the ship and her crew certainly touched the lives of many Tennessee River Valley people. It should not be forgotten. 

People Mentioned: 

Allenson, Allen: a Black crewman of the U.S.S. Tawah 

Bain, R.W.: An escaped federal soldier from Corinth, MS. 

Barnett, Lieutenant: 

Barry, John: Captured suspected Confederate Spy. 

Berry, Captain: 6th Tennessee Cavalry. Refers to Captain Joseph E. Berry, Company H, 6th Tennessee Cavalry, U.S. Vols. 

Blackburn, Captain: a Captured Confederate guerrilla. Likely refers to Captain J. W. Blackburn, a guerrilla leader who was likely involved in the attack of elements of the 2nd Tennessee Mounted infantry at Centerville, Tennessee September, 1864. 

Boyd, Eli: Private H Company 2nd Tennessee Mounted infantry. 

Chapman, Dr.: 

Cotham, A.S.; 2nd Lieutenant Alfred S. Cotham, C Company 2nd Tennessee Mounted Infantry. 

Cox, James: Captured member of Hook's Guerrillas 

Drake, George: Rejected Union Soldier 

Drake, J.M.: Rejected Union Soldier 

Ellis, Dr. Jonathan: Assistant Regimental Surgeon, 2nd Tennessee Mounted Infantry, U.S. Vols., a resident of Birmingham, Kentucky. 

Falls, Gilbert: A Union Soldier 

Galloway, Hugh: Captured member of Hook's Guerrillas 

Gabriel, Joel C.: A Union Soldier 

Haney, Lieutenant Colonel Owen: Born in Dublin, Ireland, an officer of the 2nd Tennessee Mounted Infantry. 

Hayes Guerrillas: Refers to the band lead by Captain Bert Hayes, formerly of Company H 21st (Wilson's) Tennessee Cavalry, C.S.A. 

Heincar, M.P.: A Union Scout 

Henson, A.: Union Soldier, likely refers to Sergeant Alfred Henson, Company C 2nd Tennessee Mounted Infantry. U.S. Vols. 

Henson, Preson: Union Soldier 

Hill, Moses: Private Moses Hill Company C 2nd Tennessee Mounted Infantry, U.S. Vols. 

Hobson, George: A Government Agent 

Hooks Guerrillas: James, Eli G.: Captured Confederate of the 9th Tennessee cavalry. 

Johnson, Bill: A guerrilla 

Johnson, Private Samuel: Company C 7th Tennessee Cavalry, U.S. Vols. 

Keeling, George C.: Captured Confederate of the 23rd Tennessee Infantry 

Keeling, John F.: Captured Confederate of the 23rd Tennessee Infantry 

Murphy, Carl: Captured Confederate of the 9th Tennessee Cavalry 

Neusine, Private David: Co. E 6th Tennessee Cavalry, U.S. Vols. Not specifically identified member of this unit. 

Olden, J. W.: A Union Soldier 

Orean, John: A sailor of the U.S.S. Peosta buried at Cravens Landing, Tennessee. 

Palmer, Suzanna: A Federal Prisoner at Florence, Alabama. 

Partridge, George A.: A discharged Confederate Soldier 

Patten, H.: A notorious confederate guerrilla. 

Perkins, Samuel 

Perrett, Thomas: Captured Confederate of the 16th Alabama Infantry 

Perry, J.A.J.: Rejected Union Soldier 

Phillips, Captain: A Union Soldier. May refer to Captain William W. Phillips Company G 10th Tennessee Infantry, U.S. Vols. 

Slaughter, J.: A deserted Confederate, not specifically identified. 

Strong: A member of Hayes Guerrillas. 

Rinehart, J. W.: Captured Confederate of the 9th Tennessee Cavalry 

Roberts, Captain: Captain Andrew J. Roberts Company C 2nd Tennessee Mounted Infantry, U.S. Vols. 

Shelton, Albert: A rebel deserter 

Shipman, Captain Charles: Captain Company D 2nd Tennessee Mounted Infantry, U.S. Vols. 

Smith, Major T.A.: 6th Tennessee Cavalry, U.S. Vols. Likely refers to Colonel (then Major) 

William J. Smith, 6th Tennessee Cavalry, U.S. Vols. 

Taylor, Captain; Captain John W. Taylor, Company F (The Perry County jayhawkers) 2nd Tennessee Mounted Infantry, U.S. Vols. 

Thompson, John: Private Company H 2nd Tennessee Mounted Infantry, U.S. Vols. 

Throne, James: Captured Confederate of the 23rd Tennessee Infantry. May refer to Private James Thorne, Company G, 23rd Tennessee Infantry 

Throne, Michael: Captured Confederate of the 23rd Tennessee Infantry 

Watson, John: a Lieutenant in the regular C.S.A. 

Welles, Elias: Captured Confederate of the 23rd Tennessee infantry, likely refers Elias Wells Company D 23 Tennessee Infantry. 

Williams, J. H.: Rejected Union Soldier 

Yorcum : A soldier of the- 2nd Tennessee. 

Place Names:

Buells Landing: Although not directly addressed on contemporary maps, this landing is believed to be located across the river from Pittsburg Landing. It was used during the Battle of Shiloh to ferry General D.C. Buell's Army of the Ohio across the river to reinforce General U.S. Grants Amy of the Tennessee. May also be known as the General Boat Landing. 

Buzzard Roost: Unknown at the time of this writing. 

Cravens Landing: Located on the North bank in Hardin County, Tennessee at the end of Hookers bend and slightly upstream and opposite Cerro Gordo. 

Crumps Landing: Located on the north bank about 2 miles west of the town of Savannah in Hardin County, Tennessee. Site of the current community of Crump. 

East & West Perryville: During the time of the Civil War, there existed two Perryvilles, one on either side of the river. West Perryville of Decatur County survives as simply Perryville. The community of East Perryville is gone. 

General Boat Landing: Across from Pittsburg Landing: Refer to Buell's Landing 

Gravely Springs Landing: Located near Colbert Shoals, Lauderdale county, Alabama, likely along the right-of-way of the Natchez Trace Parkway. 

Hamburg Landing: Located on the west bank in Hardin County, Tennessee about 3 miles south of Pittsburg Landing. This community still survives. 

Matthews Landing: Unknown at the time of this writing 

Pittsburg Landing: Also know as Shiloh National Military Park, located in Hardin County, Tennessee on the west bank about 5 miles south of Crump Landing. 

Point Pleasant: Located about 1 mile north of present day Saltillo along the north bank in Decatur County, Tennessee. 

Rhoads Landing: Unknown at the time, of this writing 

Snake Creek: Borders Shiloh National Military Park to the north in Hardin County, Tennessee and drains into the Tennessee River from the west. 

Reynoldsburg: Site of the post of Company G 2nd Tennessee Mounted infantry, this landing, now submerged, was located on the east bank about 1 1/2 miles north of old Johnsonville in Humphreys County, Tennessee generally, across the river from the Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park. 

Thompson's Landing: Now submerged by Kentucky Lake, this landing was located on the west bank, about one mile south of Birdsong Creek in Benton County, Tennessee. 

Waverly Landing: Now submerged, this landing was located on the east bank in Humphreys County about 1/2 mile north of old Reynoldsburg. 

Other Sources:

* March, C.C. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion Series 11, Volume I Parts I to 4. Washington. 1921.

* The National Archives MicrofiIm Publications F296 Deck Logs of the U.S.S. Peosta 1863,1864&1865 

* Gillem, Brig. Gen. Alvin. Orders to Major John Murphy. December 23, 1863.

* Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume 25.

* Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Naval forces on Western Waters page 768.

USS Peosta from Warships and Naval Battles of the Civil War By Tony Gibbons

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