(Sch.: t. 66; cpl. 15; a. 1 heavy 12-pdr. sb.)
The first Sam Houston, also called Samuel Houston, was a small schooner which, before the Civil War, had operated along the Texas coast. During the first months of the conflict, she served as a pilot boat. On 18 June 1861, Secretary of the Navy Welles was warned that the little schooner was about to sail from Galveston to carry $100,000 in gold to Havana to purchase "arms and munitions of war."
On 7 July 1861, South Carolina captured Sam Houston off Galveston, and the steamer's commanding officer, Comdr. James Alden, took her into the Federal Navy as a tender. She served the Gulf Blockading Squadron, for the most part as a dispatch vessel operating between Pensacola Bay and blockading ships stationed along the gulf coast. No records have been found giving details of her commissioning; but, late in October 1862, she was commanded by Acting Master George W. Wood.
On 2 October 1861, she captured 4-ton schooner, Reindeer, off San Luis Pass, Texas. She removed its cargo of salt before sinking the prize.
The Report of the Secretary of the Navy for 1865 states that Sam Houston was entitled to share in the capture of schooner, Solidad Cos, taken by South Carolina on 11 September.
After Federal naval jurisdiction in the gulf was divided early in 1862, Sam Houston operated in the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, performing widely varied duties through the end of the war. For almost a year after peace returned, she served as a pilot boat of the Gulf Squadron. She was sold at New Orleans on 25 April 1866 to J.B. Walton.