Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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GWIN, William, naval officer, born in Columbus, Bartholomew County, Indiana, 5 December, 1832; died on the Yazoo river, Mississippi, 3 January, 1863. He entered the navy as a midshipman, 7 April, 1847, and was promoted until he was commissioned lieutenant, 16 September, 1855, and lieutenant-commander, 16 July, 1862. At the beginning of the civil war he was assigned to the "Cambridge," doing blockading duty on the Atlantic coast. He was ordered in October, 1861, to the brig "Commodore Perry," and in January, 1862, to the command of the gunboat "Tyler," of the western flotilla, in which he participated in the attacks on Fort Henry and Fort Donelson. He also took part in the battle of Shiloh, and distinguished himself in the expedition up the Yazoo river in company with the "Carondelet," to meet the Confederate ram "Arkansas." After the accidental explosion on the " Mound City" at St. Charles, on White river, by which her commander, Captain Kelly, was badly scalded, Lieutenant-Commander Gwin took charge of the vessel, which he retained until he was transferred to the "Benton," the largest and most powerful of the river fleet. While in command of the latter vessel, and during the attack on Haines's Bluff, on the Yazoo river, he was mortally wounded.
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