Planter, a 300-ton side-wheel steamship, was built for commercial use at Charleston, South Carolina, in 1860. In 1861- 62, she served the Confederate Army as an armed transport and dispatch vessel. On 13 May 1862, her pilot, Robert Smalls, boldly steamed her past the Charleston fortifications and turned her over to Federal forces blockading that port. With Planter, Smalls brought several other slaves and a cargo of four guns. He, and the other black crewmen, were awarded half the value of their ship and its cargo.
Planter operated as a unit of the U.S. Navy's South Atlantic Blockading Squadron during 1862. Later in that year, she was transferred to the U.S. Army. Following the Civil War, Planter returned to commercial service. She was lost in 1876.
Civil War Along the Carolina Coast