USS Key West

USS Key West was a steamer built in 1862 at California, Pennsylvania, as "Key West No. 8." She was purchased by the US Navy at Cairo, Illinois on April 16, 1863. The wooden stern-wheel steamer departed Cairo that day for patrol duty in the Tennessee River supporting US Army efforts and protecting Federal positions in the Tennessee Valley from Confederate Cavalry raids. Frequently, as she patrolled the river and escorted transports and supply ships, her guns engaged hit-and-run batteries and bands of riflemen. On October 10, 1864, the USS Key West and other US Navy ships were attacked by a hidden Confederate 6-gun battery at Eastport and a 3-gun battery near Chickasaw. After the Southern guns had set two of the other ships on fire and damaged USS Key West with two rifle shots, the Navy ships retired downstream out-of-range only to be scuttled, along with USS Elfin and USS Tawah by Confederate shore batteries in early November 1864.

Warren Cannon enlisted on March 26, 1863, aboard the USS Key West at Cairo, Illinois. He worked as a coal heaver. He became sick with pneumonia and was sent to the Hospital Pickney - a US Hospital established in the Commercial Hotel in Memphis - from where he deserted on March 10, 1865. Following the War, he lived in Memphis, Tennessee.