WHEELING BUILT STEAMBOATS the USS Signal No. 8

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USS Signal No. 8 Civil War Tin Clad Model by John Bowman

USS Signal No. 8
A.J. Sweeney & Son for Capt. Campbell Sweeney built USS Signal No. 8, a 190-ton stern-wheel steam-powered packet “tinclad” river gunboat, in 1862 at Wheeling, Virginia. A Federal officer of the U.S. Navy requisitioned Signal-reaching Cairo, Illinois on her maiden trip. Campbell sold her to the U.S. Navy for the sum of twenty-two thousand dollars September 22, 1862. She was converted and commissioned a tinclad: USS Signal No. 8. Tinclads got their name from the iron plating, 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick that protected the power plant and pilothouse from small-arms fire. Tinclads provided the naval presence that kept the western waterways under Union control. Signal No. 8 was fitted with ten 24-pounder howitzers. During November and December 1862, Signal took part in expeditions up the Yazoo River, including pioneering mine clearance operations. She was a participant in the capture of Fort Hindman, Arkansas, in January 1863. For much of the first half of that year, she operated on the Yazoo River in support of the campaign to capture Vicksburg, Mississippi. She was once torpedoed at the siege of Vicksburg. Signal patrolled the Mississippi during the remainder of 1863 and into the next year. On May 5, 1864, she was disabled by Confederate artillery fire at Dunn’s Bayou on the Red River, Louisiana, and was destroyed to prevent capture.
This model of the stern-wheel steam-powered tinclad Signal No. 8 by John Bowman is displayed at West Virginia’s Point Pleasant River Museum.

Point Pleasant River Museum John Bowman’s Steamboat Models are Displayed here