Steamboats were often commissioned into service to move soldiers and supplies during the Civil War. The Ohio River, a dividing line between the North and South, saw quite a bit of action. One event involved the Hazel Dell, which did transport service during the war.
During the foggy, early morning hours of the 14th of October 1862, rebel forces attacked the steamer Hazel Dell as she pulled into the wharf at Caseyville, Union County, Kentucky. Upon reaching the wharf, a number of guerrillas jumped aboard and took possession of the boat.
The rebels, numbering about 2000, were stationed nearby and were commanded by Col. Anderson of the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry, Col. Johnson and Col. Martin. The rebels proceeded to take about $3000 worth of boots, shoes, clothing, sugar, coffee, lead and powder. Anything edible and wearable was confiscated plus even the boat's medicine chest was taken.
The U.S. mail agent, Mr. Duncan, and Lieut. Col. Olney of Shawneetown, Illinois, were taken prisoners and the mail was confiscated. Also taken were eight or ten free persons of color from Shawneetown
Capt. Clark, who had just purchased the Hazel Dell one month before the encounter with the rebel troops, was given the choice of paying $3000 in cash or have his boat burned. He refused to pay and the rebels agreed not to burn the boat. Col. Johnson told Capt. Clark that he should not expect to make regular trips as the rebels now had sufficient force to command the river and if he did not catch him at one point, he would at another.
The leader of the rebels said his orders were to burn and destroy any boat found on the Ohio River after the first of November.
After being released, the Hazel Dell started across the river to where the steamer Campbell was located. Men on board the Campbell thought the Hazel Dell was in possession of the guerrillas and fired two shots at her, but no one was injured.
It was later reported that the mail taken from the Hazel Dell was recovered.
Advertisement, Evansville Daily Journal, Wed., 17 Sep 1862, p. 2
"Outrage on the Hazel Dell," Evansville Daily Journal, Fri., 17 Oct 1862, p. 2.
"The Hazel Dell," Evansville Daily Journal, Sat., 18 Oct 1862, p. 2.
Frederick Way, Jr., Compiler. Way's Packet Directory, 1848-1994, Revised Edition (Athens, OH:
Ohio University Press, 1983), p. 209. #2560, Hazel Dell.
Published 8 Nov 2018, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog, http://wkygenealogy.blogspot.com/