Confederate acquisition of Grampus and Mohawk


First Sergeant
Oct 1, 2010
southern california
The following is abstracted from an article titled "The Tennessee Rebels" appearing in the New York Times of June 9, 1861.
"A few days since, says the Pittsburgh Chronicle, we noticed the seizure at Memphis, of two boats, the Grampus and Mohawk, owned by Capt. Chester, of this city. Mr. C. has returned home, and gives the following account of the matter. He states that he left New-Orleans on the 20th ult., with his tow-boats, for the purpose of bringing them home. At Vicksburg he was informed that he would have trouble in getting through the blockade of Memphis. Accordingly, to aid him in getting through, when he reached the place where the Kentucky, a Memphis boat, had exploded, he took her in tow, and towed her to Memphis, three hundred miles. He arried at Memphis, on Saturday, May 25, and applied to Gen. Pillow for a permit to pass the battery above, and at the same time informing him of the fact of his having towed up the Kentucky. The General was busy, and referred him to the blockade committee, to whom he stated his case. They told him he could not be permitted to pass. He then told them he had a tow at Kentucky City, which he wished to go up and bring down. He was told they had let one d--d boat, the Bellwood pass for a like purpose, but she had never returned. To this he replied that he had met the Bellwood below Memphis, going down with her tow. But the committee refused to let him pass with his boats, alleging that the Cairoites would seize and keep them, and they might as well have the boats as the Cairoites. On Monday, the 27th, he sent Capt. LME and Mr. Valentine, an attorney of Memphis, to the committee in his behalf, to obtain the release of his boats, if possible, and also of a barge of nut coal, left by him at Memphis, which had been seized before his arrival there. The result of their visit was announced in the following note:
'Memphis, Monday, May 27, 1861.
Mr. Thomas Chester - Dear Sir: I have succeeded in getting your coal and tow-boats released from the Blockade Committee, and they instructed me to say to you that you can drop them below the city or use them in any of the Southern waters, subject to the control of the Confederate States in case of necessity.
Respectfully, H. Valentine
Capt. Chester was informed, privately, that the note was worded as above "just to keep him in spirits"; that the Confederate States just neded such boats as his and also the coal, and had been on the lookout for them, to be used as transports. Despairing of getting his property home, and it being utterly valueless to him under the restrictions imposed, Capt. Chester abandoned the boats and left Memphis on the 28th ult., arriving here last week. He states that the boats are worth $25,000, and the barge of coal about $2,000, making at total of $27,000, which there is little prospect of his recovering, and the loss of which may ruin him pecuniarly."
Both Grampus and Mohawk ended up under the aegis of the Confederate Army, armed with light field guns and deployed on the river as scout boats and seeing at least one action. Grampus was recovered among the scuttled vessels at Island No. 10 and reportedly restored to its original owner.
Apr 26, 2020
She was commanded by Marsh Miller of Pickett's Memphis Sappers and Miners. He became quite a thorn in the Union fleet's side. Attached is a pic of her. Don't have much on the Mohawk.