From: Dictionary of American Fighting Ships

De Soto

Hernando De Soto, a Spanish explorer, discovered the Mississippi River in 1541.

(SwStr: t. 1,675; l. 253'; b. 38'; dr. 16'; s. 8 k.; cpl. 130; a. 8 32-pdr., 1 30-pdr. r. The first De Soto, a side wheel steamer, was purchased 21 August 1861 at New York and outfitted by New York Navy Yard, Commander W. M. Walker in command. Arriving at Fort Pickens, Fla., 2 December 1861 with ordnance stores for vessels in the Gulf of Mexico, she served with the West Gulf Blockading Squadron until October 1862, capturing six blockade runners. After repairs at Philadelphia Navy Yard from November 1862 to February 1863, De Soto arrived at Key West, Fla., 15 February to resume her successful cruising in the Gulf, making 17 additional captures before departing 10 June 1864 for repairs at Portsmouth, N.H. She was decommissioned upon her arrival 16 June 1864. Sent to Baltimore, Md., 12 January 1865 for the installation of new boilers, De Soto was recommissioned there 12 August 1865 and stood out for Norfolk 7 September. De Soto joined the newly organized North Atlantic Squadron whose cruising ground covered the Atlantic Ocean from Maine to the northern coast of South America and the Gulf of Mexico. During her first cruise from 7 September 1865 to 12 December 1867, she was damaged when a heavy earthquake shock on 18 November 1867 drove her on some iron piles at St. Thomas, West Indies. After repairs at Norfolk, she made another cruise in the Caribbean from 3 March to 28 August 1868, then returned to New York Navy Yard. De Soto was decommissioned there 11 September 1868 and sold 30 September 1868.Transcribed by Yves HUBERT (