Str Ella

The Ella was a sternwheel wooden hull packet named built in Elizabeth, PA for Capt Adam Poe and others from Georgetown in 1854.  The packet, named to honor his daughter Ella, was rated at 173 tons and worked the Cincnnati to St Louis trade.  On her first trip the Ella also ran to Galena and Dubuque, IA. [1]

Like most Poe family boats, several family members and a few close friends were partners.  The original ownership according to the Certificate of Enrollment of the Customhouse in Pittsburgh, PA is displayed in the following table.


Str Ella

Owners and Partners Share Vol: 6636
Adam Poe 7/16 Enroll No : 98
Andrew Poe 2/16 Cert Date:  
Thomas Poe 2/16 Cert Type::  
George Poe 2/16 Build Locn:  
Henry Smith 1/16 Build Date: 1854
JW Chambers 2/16    


The Ella served during the Civil War transporting troops and supplies.  She was chartered 15 May 1862 for an unknown period of time.  The Ella participated in the White River expedition during Jun – Jul 1862.  Other charted dates were:


Start date              End date

11 Mar                     02 Apr 1862    Vicksburg campaign
13 Apr                     06 Aug 1863
02 Sep 1863           25 Apr 1864
13 Nov 1864           13 Apr 1865


Only dates of service are recorded. [2] 


It is of interest to note that Capt Adam Poe wrote one sentence about his Civil War service in his autobiography/memoirs written in 1887.  It is also worth noting that Capt Adam Poe’s brother-in-law was also steaming on the White River in Jan 1862.  Capt GW Ebert, commanding the Kenton, was transporting Gen Willis Arnold Gorman and the 28th Wisconsin.


On 13 Dec 1865, the Ella was snagged and lost on the Arkansas River near Little Rock.[3]






[1]  Frederick Way, Jr.,Way’s Packet Directory, 1848-1994, (Ohio University Press, Athens 1994), p. 145.
[2]  Charles Dana Gibson and E Kay Gibson, Dictionary of Transports and Combatant Vessels Steam and Sail Employed by the Union Army 1861 – 1868, (Ensign Press, Cambridge, MA 1995), p 99.
[3] Frederick Way, Jr.,Way’s Packet Directory, 1848-1994, (Ohio University Press, Athens 1994), p. 145.

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