Liberty No. 2 Steamboat Model by John Bowman


Liberty No. 2 at Wheeling’s Wharf May 1861

Liberty No. 2
The side-wheel steam-powered packet Liberty No. 2 was built by the Wilson, Dunlevy & Wheeler Yard at Wheeling, Virginia in 1861 for Capt. Charles Booth. She replaced his 1857 Liberty, recently sold to the Mason City Coal Co. T. Sweeney & Co. of Wheeling placed her machinery. She was placed in the Wheeling-Parkersburg trade in early May of 1861. These were very uncertain times in America. Fort Sumter had been fired upon April 12th and an “Ordinance of Secession” vote was scheduled for May 23rd in the state of Virginia. This Liberty was involved as a transport in U.S. service in 1862. She ferried Union troops from Wheeling to the Kanawha River Battle of Scary Creek, July 17, 1861 then designated the first noteworthy Civil War land battle and the largest battle of the Civil War up to that point. In early April of 1862, working as a troop transport on the Tennessee River, Liberty participated in the flotilla of steamboats moving five divisions of the Army of Tennessee to Pittsburg Landing, where the Battle of Shiloh took place. She ran in the Louisville-Memphis trade from 1864 into 1866 and was running in the Memphis-White River trade in the fall and winter of 1866-1867. In the spring of 1867, she was blown ashore twenty-five miles above Memphis where a log went through her hull aft the wheelhouse. She sank in seven feet of water. In early 1871, she was dismantled in Mound City, Illinois and her engines went into the railroad transfer J.C. McMullin.
This model of the side-wheel steam-powered packet Liberty No. 2 built by John Bowman is on display at West Virginia Independence Hall Wheeling, West Virginia.

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