first Cincinnati , a stern-wheel casemate gunboat, was built in 1861 under
a War Department contract by James Eads, St. Louis, Mo., and commissioned
at Mound City, Ill., 16 January 1862, naval Lieutenant G. M. Bache in command.
Assigned to duty with the Army in the Western Gunboat Flotilla under naval Flag Officer A. H. Foote, Cincinnati participated in the attack and capture of Fort Henry (6 February 1862); the operations against Island No. 10 (12 March-7 April 1862); the engagement with the Confederate gunboat fleet at Plum Point Bend and the bombardment of Fort Pillow (10 May 1862). This important series of operations was aimed at splitting the Confederacy. During the last engagement Cincinnati , the lead vessel, was repeatedly struck by enemy rams and sunk.
Raised and returned to service, Cincinnati was transferred to the Navy Department 1 October 1862 with other vessels of the Western Gunboat Flotilla. She participated in the Army-Navy operation against Port of Arkansas and installations on the White River in January 1863, then was ordered to the Yazoo River where she took part in Steele's Bayou Expedition (14-27 March 1863). Joining the attack on the Vicksburg batteries (27 May 1863), Cincinnati came under heavy fire and was sunk for the second time, suffering 40 casualties.
Raised again in August 1863 Cincinnati returned to patrol duty on the Mississippi River and its tributaries until February 1865 when she was transferred to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron. She patrolled off Mobile Bay and in the Mississippi Sounds until placed out of commission 4 August 1865 at Algiers, La. She was sold at New Orleans 28 March 1866.