By: Martin Donell Kohout

Type: General Entry

Published: December 1, 1994

The USS Clifton, a side-wheel steam ferryboat that saw action along the Texas coast during the Civil War, was built in Brooklyn, New York, in 1861. The United States Navy bought her in December of that year and placed acting lieutenant C. H. Baldwin in command. The Clifton left New York on February 22, 1862, and joined Commander David D. Porter's mortar flotilla at Ship Island, Mississippi, on March 18. She participated in the capture of forts Jackson and St. Philip below New Orleans in late April and had to be refloated by the Sachem when she ran aground below Fort Morgan in May. The Clifton also took part in the attack on the Confederate batteries at Vicksburg, Mississippi, in June. On June 28 she took a shot through her boiler that killed seven men, but she also assisted in the capture of Galveston (October 4–9). She captured the bark H. McGuin in Bay St. Louis near Gulfport, Mississippi, on July 18, 1863, and attacked Sibley's Brigade on a reconnaissance up the Atchafalaya River and Bayou Teche in Louisiana on July 28. She was captured by the Confederates at Sabine Pass, Texas, on September 8. The Clifton ran aground at Sabine Pass on March 21, 1864, while trying to run the Union blockade and was burned by the Confederates to prevent her capture. See also SABINE PASS, BATTLE OF, and GALVESTON, BATTLE OF.

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (8 vols., Washington: U.S. Navy, 1959–81).
Time Periods:
  • Civil War

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Martin Donell Kohout, “Clifton,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 24, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994

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