The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 21, July 1917 - April, 1918

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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly \
THE UNITED S-TATES GUNBOAT HARRIET LANE
PI-TILIP C. TUCKER, 3D

In the year 1859 there was launched from Bell's Shipyard in
New York harbor, for the use of the United States revenue serv-
ice, a vessel which was at that time considered the very best of her
type. As she entered the water with due ceremony she was chris-
tened the fHarriet Lane in honor of a very popular girl in Wash-
ington society of that day, the niece of Senator Andrew Johnson
of Tennessee and later, when her uncle became President of the
United States, the lady of the White House.
The Harriet Lane was not a large vessel, being only two hun-
dred and seventy feet in length, of twenty-two feet beam, and
twelve feet from main deck to floor timbers. She was rigged
with two masts as a topsail schooner, and equipped with a double-
right-angled marine engine of low pressure and with side paddle
wheels. She was copper sheathed and copper fastened througlh-
out, and all materials used were of the best. Her berth deck was
seven feet below the main. Abaft the shaft was the captain's
cabin and stateroom, beneath which was a magazine. Next were
the officers' ward room, staterooms and lockers, under which was
another magazine. Midships were the machinery and coal bunk-
ers. Forward were staterooms, the galleys and quarters for the
crew, below which was a third magazine. Her armament con-
sisted of light guns. She was designed for a, revenue cutter and
as such she was used for a little time about New York harbor.
Upon the organization of the expedition to P'araguay under
Commodore Shubrick, she was temporarily detached from the rev-
enue service to serve as one of the vessels of his fleet. In 1861
upon the breaking out of the Civil War she was transferred from
the cutter service to that of the United States Navy, and her first
service was as one of the fleet for the relief of Fort Sumter, on
which expedition, from her deck was fired the first gun of a naval
vessel in that struggle. It was a thirty-two pounder in charge of
Lieutenant W. D. Thompson and its target was the Confederate
'Andrew Thompson, Deposition before Oonfederate Prize Commissioners,
August 2.5, 1863. M1S. in P. C. Tucker 3d Collection, Library of Texas
State Historical Association.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 21, July 1917 - April, 1918. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101073/. Accessed July 29, 2014.