Linden SwStr


(SwStr: t. 177; 1. 1~4'; b. 31'; dph. 4'; a. 624-pdr. how.)

Linden, a wooden sidewheel steamer, was built in 1860 at Belle Vernon, Pa.; purchased bg the Navy at Cincinnati, Ohio, 20 November 1862; and commissioned at Cairo, Ill., 3 January 1863, Acting .Master Thomas E. Smith in command.

She departed Cairo 9 January escorting charter steamer Home and five coal barges to memphis. After convoy duty up and down the Mississippi, Linden was ordered to cooperate with General Grant in cutting a canal between the Red and Black Rivers through Tens Bayou. The project was pressed vigorously but as Porter later noted ". . . there were miles of forest to work through and trees to be cut down. The swift current drove the steamers (Army transports) against the trees and injured them so much that this plan had to be abandoned."

Throughout the winter and spring of 1863, Linden continued to support operations against the Confederate river stronghold at Vicksburg. She remained above the fortress when Porter and his gunboats dashed under Vicksburg's guns to support Grant's campaign from before. On 29 April with seven other Union Navy chips, three mortar boats and 10 large Army transports, Linden began a feigned attack on the Confederate batteries at Haynes Bluff on the Yazoo above Vicksburg The movement was designed to prevent southern reinforcement at Grand Gulf where Grant was about to land his troops water crossing the Mississippi.

That day the expedition proceeded as far as Chickasaw Bayou. On the 30th the task force moved up the Yazoo and landed troops who marched up ". . . the levee, making quite a display, and a threatening one also." Naval gunfire supported the demonstration until Grant had safely (ferried his men across the river and landed at Bruinsburg. Then the diversionary troops withdrew from Haynes Bluff, reembarked, and the expedition returned to the mouth of the Yazoo.

Grant then daringly abandoned his supply lines, drove deep into Mississippi, and defeated converging Confederate forces in detail in several spectacular victories before turning back toward the river to threaten~l Vicks" burg in reverse. At mid May, Porter ordered J,Linden back up the Yazoo to assist the Army in encircling the southern river stronghold and to supply the Union Army. When Confederate troops were cut ok at Snyder's Blue, the Union ships pushed on to Haynes Bluff which the South was evacuating. when these heavy works fell the gunboat again advanced and began to shell the hill batteries at Vicksburg. On 18 May Linden while escorting Ave Army transports on the Mississippi silenced a masked battery at Island No. 82; then covered troops who landed and destroyed buildings in the area. On 21 May, Linden Baron' De Kalb Choctaw, Forest Rose and Petrel descended the Yazoo to Yazoo City, Miss. and forced the Confederate Navy to destroy three "powerful steamers, rams, and a fine Navy Yard" to prevent their capture. On the 20th Linden` and Forest Rose reconnoitered Quiver River, Miss., and n boat expedition from the ships captured and burned Dew Drop and Emma Bett.

The tireless efforts of both Navy and Army bore fruit when Vicksburg's dogged defenders Finally hauled down the Confederate flag 4 July giving the United States one of its greatest birthday presents, freedom to navigate the Mississippi from source to Gulf.

In the coming months Linden performed valuable but unspectacular service on reconnaissance and convoy missions on the Mississippi and its tributaries. On 22 February 1864, while attempting to aid transport Ad. Hines Lind en struck a snag 15 miles up the Arkansas River and sank.