USS Baron DeKalb
|Ordered:||as the St. Louis|
|Laid down:||date unknown|
|Launched:||12 October 1861 at Carondelet, Missouri|
|Acquired:||1 October 1862|
|In service:||circa 1 October 1862|
|Out of service:||13 July 1863|
|Fate:||sunk by mine, 13 July 1863|
|Length:||175 ft (53 m)|
|Beam:||51 ft 2 in (15.60 m)|
|Draught:||6 ft (1.8 m)|
|Propulsion:||steam engine - Center Wheel, 2 horizontal HP engines (22" X 6"), 5 boilers|
|Speed:||9 mph (14 km/h)|
|Complement:||251 officers and enlisted|
|Armament:||one 10-inch smoothbore
two 8-inch rifles
two 9-inch smoothbores
six 32-pounder smoothbores
two 30-pounder rifled guns
|Armour:||2.5" on the casemates,
1.25" on the pilothouse
The USS Baron DeKalb, named after General Baron DeKalb of Hüttendorf near Erlangen, in present-day Bavaria, was originally named Saint Louis, and was one of seven City class ironclads built at Carondelet, Missouri and Mound City, Illinois, for the United States Navy's Western Gunboat Flotilla.
These ironclads were shallow draft with a center driven paddle wheel. They were partially armored and slow and very hard to steer in the currents of rivers. This ironclad was also vulnerable to plunging fire and also by hits in their un-armored areas. Called "Pook Turtles" for the designer, they did yeoman service through 4 years of war and were present at almost every battle on the Mississippi River and its tributaries.
Originally built as the St. Louis, the stern wheel casemate gunboat was built by James B. Eads, Carondelet, Missouri, for the U.S. War Department. She was launched as St. Louis, Missouri, 12 October 1861 and joined the Western Gunboat Fleet.
During 1862 St. Louis, under the command of Lieutenant L. Paulding, was attached to Rear Admiral Andrew Hull Foote's squadron and participated in the capture of Fort Henry on the Tennessee River (6 February 1862). She served as flagship for the squadron when it assisted the Union Army at the capture of Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River (14-16 February 1862). Between April and June 1862, she operated against Fort Pillow, Tennessee.
St. Louis was renamed Baron De Kalb 8 September 1862.
On 1 October 1862 Baron De Kalb was transferred to the Navy Department. During 21-28 December she took part in the Yazoo Expedition and participated in the action at Drumgould's Bluff (28 December).
During 1863 Baron De Kalb took part in the capture of Arkansas Post (10-11 January); expedition up the White River (12-14 January); Yazoo Pass Expedition (20 February-5 April); action at Fort Pemberton (11-13 March); action at Haines' Bluff (29 April-2 May, 18 May); action at Yazoo City, Mississippi (20-23 May); and the Yazoo River Expedition (24-31 May).