USS Badger-Wikipedia Article
USS William Badger (1861) was a whaler acquired by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was used by the Union Navy as a supply ship and ship’s tender in support of the Union Navy blockade of Confederate waterways.
Whaling ship converted to Navy use as a supply ship
William Badger — a wooden-hulled whaling ship — was purchased by the Union Navy on 18 May 1861 from Henry F. Thomas, at New Bedford, Massachusetts. Built in 1829, it was the 100th vessel constructed by master shipbuilder William Badger of Badger’s Island in Kittery, Maine, so it received the name reserved for that honor.
Assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, William Badger served as a stationary supply ship at Hampton Roads, Virginia, into the summer of 1862.
Towed to Beaufort, North Carolina
Late in July, William Badger — laden with a “goodly supply of provisions, clothing, and stores” for the ships of the Union Navy maintaining the blockade off Confederate-held Wilmington, North Carolina — was towed by the steamer State of Georgia to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron base at Beaufort, North Carolina.
She remained there as a supply hulk for the remainder of the Civil War and, on occasion, served as an accommodations vessel.
Sold at auction at Beaufort on 17 October 1865 to a Capt. James Abel, William Badger may have been broken up shortly thereafter, as she is not carried on mercantile lists in succeeding years.
(Schooner: tonnage 200; length 103′; beam 27′; depth of hold 8’6″; draft 10’6″; complement 39; armament 1 13″ mortar, 2 32-pounder smoothbores, 2 12-pounder smoothbores) Arletta—a schooner built in 1860 at Mystic, Conn.—was purchased by the Navy at New York City on 7 September 1861 and commissioned at the New York Navy Yard on 30 January 1862, Acting Master Thomas E. Smith in command. The schooner departed New York on 4 February 1862 as a part of the Mortar Flotilla assembled to become a part of Flag Officer David Glasgow Farragut’s newly established West Gulf Blockading Squadron. Besides sealing off the Confederate coast between Pensacola and the mouth of the Rio Grande, Farragut was charged with leading a Union task force from the Gulf of Mexico up the Mississippi to capture New Orleans. Once he had taken the “Crescent City,” the flag officer was to continue on upstream until he met the warships of the Western Flotilla which were fighting their way down from the Ohio and upper Mississippi. The Lincoln Administration hoped that, if all went well, this strategy would cut the Confederacy in two and thus hasten the end of the rebellion. Two formidable defensive works, however, Forts Jackson and St. Philip, lay on opposite sides of the Mississippi below New Orleans, protecting the Southern metropolis from seaborne enemies. The Mortar Flotilla — commanded by Comdr. David Dixon Porter — had been formed to neutralize the batteries within those Confederate fortresses while Farragut’s deep-draft warships dashed past them to take the city. Following a stop at Key West, Fla., from 18 February to 6 March 1862, Arletta performed blockade duty off Mobile Bay, Ala., from 11 to 15 March and then proceeded to Ship Island, Miss., whence she was towed by revenue cutter Harriet Lane to the Mississippi Delta. She crossed over the bar at Pass a l’Outre on the 18th and entered the river. Much needed to be done before Farragut could launch his attack. His deep-draft steamers had to be worked laboriously over a bar that was far too shoal for them to cross under normal circumstances; surveying parties had to work almost within the shadows of the forts to locate and mark the positions of each schooner during the impending action; and the mortar boats had to be stripped for action and camouflaged with local underbrush and foliage to reduce their vulnerability to Southern artillery. Everything lay in readiness by mid-afternoon of 16 April 1862 when Porter embarked in Arletta and took her—accompanied by two of her sister schooners—upriver to anchor at predetermined sites to test the mortars and their mounts and to determine the ranges of their targets. Confederate cannon fired intermittently upon the small Northern sailing ships, but the Southern rounds all fell short. Meanwhile, Arletta’s mortar answered with five shells, three of which exploded inside Fort Jackson. After an hour’s action, Porter—highly satisfied with the performance of his mortars, gunners, and ships—ordered his captains to retire downstream. The next day, hoping that it would collide with and set fire to one or more of the Union warships, Southerners put the torch to an incendiary-laden fire raft and cast it adrift. When Union lookouts spotted the blazing barge, Arletta launched boats which took the menacing raft in tow, pulled it ashore, and put out the fire. On the morning of 18 April 1862, the steamers of the flotilla towed the schooners into position to begin a steady and prolonged bombardment of the forts. Arletta—assigned to the first division of schooners, commanded by Lt. Watson Smith—got off 96 shells during the first day, but lost one man who was killed by an 8-inch solid shot from Fort Jackson which also briefly put her mortar out of action. For the next few days, the schooners kept up the shelling. Then, during the early hours of the 24th; they greatly increased the tempo of their cannonade to give Farragut’s steam warships the maximum possible support during their run by the forts. That evening, after the flag officer’s force had reached safety beyond range of Southern shot and shell, Arletta and her division mates dropped downriver to Southwest Pass where they anchored to prepare for a return to sea. During ensuing weeks, they operated in the gulf, helping to enforce the blockade while awaiting the return of Farragut and his deep-draft warships to join them in operations against Mobile. The most notable event in Arletta’s service during this period proved to be her chase on 21 May 1862 of a cotton-laden steamer which apparently had slipped out of Mobile Bay. The schooner “. . . put a shot into …” the blockade runner and forced her to jettison cargo in order to escape to windward. Meanwhile, Farragut—perplexed by ambiguous, conflicting, and unrealistic orders—had postponed his attack on Mobile and, instead, had ascended the Mississippi to Vicksburg. There, he found Confederate cliffside fortifications far too strong to be captured without the help of a cooperating ground force many times larger than that which accompanied him. As a result, Farragut dropped downstream with the intention of next striking Mobile. Upon reaching New Orleans, however, he found messages from Washington rebuking him for not remaining near Vicksburg and stating that Northern strategy demanded that he return upstream immediately, clearing the Mississippi as he went, until meeting the Union’s Western Flotilla. At the suggestion of the Army commander in the area, Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, Farragut called ten of his schooners back to the Mississippi to support an attack on Vicksburg. Porter complied by bringing, not just ten, but the whole flotilla. The schooners departed Pensacola on 3 June 1862 and crossed the bar at Pass a l’Outre three days later. Once they were in the river, however, their ascent was delayed until steamers could be obtained from the Army to tow them upstream against the current. When this indispensable support finally became available about a fortnight later, Arletta departed New Orleans and headed up the Mississippi under tow. Southern shore batteries fired upon her as she was passing Grand Gulf, Miss.; but her return fire and that of sister ships silenced the Confederate cannon before they did any damage. Arletta arrived on station just below Vicksburg late in the month and first opened fire on 27 June 1862. Before dawn the following morning, the entire flotilla began shelling the Southern batteries; and the schooners kept up their fire until most of Farragut’s ships had reached safety well out of range of the Vicksburg guns. Over the ensuing days, while they awaited news of events above Vicksburg and further orders from Farragut, Arletta and her sister schooners from time to time bombarded the cliffside forts. In the meantime, events had recently occurred in Virginia which would soon deprive the flag officer of most of these mortar boats. Lee’s Seven Days Campaign in late June and early July 1862, had turned back a Union drive toward Richmond and had penned up the Federal army in a small area at Harrison’s Landing on the northern bank of the James. Support fire from Federal gunboats already operating on the river had helped to save the Union force from destruction; and, on 8 July, Washington—recognizing the value of naval firepower—wired Farragut to send 12 of these schooners to Hampton Roads to reinforce the James River Flotilla. Arletta headed downstream with the largest division of the flotilla on the 11th, stood out to sea on the 17th, and entered Hampton Roads on the 30th. Following repairs at the Norfolk Navy Yard, she was towed up the James by the side-wheeler Satellite on 9 August and, the next day, took station off Claremont Plantation. For most of the rest of the month, she operated in the James to protect McClellan’s troops as they withdrew from the peninsula to return to Northern Virginia to strengthen the defenses of Washington. On 29 August 1862, while the Second Battle of Bull Run was beginning, Arletta headed down the James under tow in preparation for transfer to the Potomac to bolster Union naval power there against possible attacks on the National capital. She left Hampton Roads on the last day of the month and arrived at Washington on 5 September. The schooner remained in that vicinity, ready to help to defend the seat of the Federal Government in the event that Lee’s army—which had crossed the Potomac into Maryland—attack. After the Union stand at Antietam had repelled this invasion of the North, Arletta left Washington on 18 September to begin operations downstream with the Potomac Flotilla. She continued this duty until returning to the Washington Navy Yard at the end of October to have her mortar removed and to be fitted out as an ordnance vessel. Reassigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Arletta departed Washington on 28 November 1862 and arrived at Fort Monroe, Va., on 2 December. There she took on a cargo of ammunition and stores and stood to sea on 23 December, two days before Christmas. She reached the vicinity of Wilmington, N.C., on 4 January 1863 and began delivering ammunition to Union warships on blockade duty, a task she continued into the spring. On 19 April 1863, she headed for Beaufort, N.C., her station for the last two years of the Civil War. On 17 September 1865, Arletta departed the North Carolina Sounds and headed north. She reached the Philadelphia Navy Yard on the 25th and was decommissioned there on 28 September 1865. The schooner was sold on 30 November 1865.
USS Penobscot-Wikipedia Article
USS Penobscot (1861) was a steam operated gunboat acquired by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was used by the Navy to patrol navigable waterways of the Confederacy to prevent the South from trading with other countries.
Penobscot, built in ninety days by C.P. Carter, Belfast, Maine, was launched 19 November 1861 and delivered to the Navy at Boston, Massachusetts, 16 January 1862. Assigned initially to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Penobscot destroyed her first Confederate vessel, the schooner Sereta, grounded and abandoned off Shallotte Inlet, North Carolina, 8 June 1862.
On 1 August she seized sloop Lizzie off New Inlet and on 22 October British brig Robert Burns off Cape Fear. Again off Shallotte Inlet 3 November, she forced the British ship Pathfinder aground, then destroyed her. On May 22, 1863 she pursued a Confederate steamer trying to run the blockade near Fort Fisher, Wilmington NC. One shell reached the ship and crashed into the stateroom of the Surgeon, Dr. Edward Pierson of New Jersey . A splinter of wood fractured the doctor’s occipital bone and he died two hours later. Continuing her patrol of the Carolina coast into the summer of 1863, she forced blockade runner Kate ashore at Smith’s Island 12 July.
Shifted then to the Gulf of Mexico, Penobscot joined the blockade ships cruising off the Texas coast. In early January 1864, she provided support for troops landed on the Matagorda Peninsula on 31 December. On 28 February she seized Lilly, a British schooner attempting to run the blockade at Velasco, Texas, to deliver her cargo of powder, and the next day captured schooners Stingray and John Douglas, outward bound with cargoes of cotton. On 12 July, off Galveston, Texas, the “ninety-day” gunboat intercepted the schooner James Williams with a cargo of medicine, coffee, and liquor.
By 1865 the Union stranglehold had achieved its purpose. The South was suffering for the materials necessary to wage war. On 18 February Penobscot made her last interceptions. She forced the schooners Mary Agnes and Louisa ashore at Aransas Pass and on the 19th sent a boat crew to destroy them.
After the war Penobscot returned to the U.S. East Coast. She decommissioned at New York City 31 July 1865 and on 19 October 1869 was sold, at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Nehemiah Gibson.
USS Mount Vernon-Wikipedia Article
USS Mount Vernon was a wooden-screw steamer in the United States Navy.
Mount Vernon was built at Brooklyn, New York, in 1859; chartered by the Navy in May 1861 for three months; purchased by the Navy at New York on 12 September 1861; and commissioned at New York, Commander Oliver S. Glisson in command.
After charter, Mount Vernon convoyed two steamers and two sailing ships to the Gulf of Mexico in May. While in the gulf, she took brigantine East, suspected of communicating with Confederate-held shore territory, and towed damaged Parkersburg from Pensacola, Florida to Key West. Ordered to Fortress Monroe, Virginia, 3 July, Mount Vernon gave refuge to Unionists preparing to travel north.
From 17 July, Mount Vernon patrolled in and off the Rappahannock River, capturing sloop Wild Pigeon in an attempted escape at night 20 July. On 1 September she sailed for Mobjack Bay to relieve Daylight, and in November proceeded to Beaufort, North Carolina. She engaged British schooner Phantom off Cape Lookout 2 December, and on the 31st sent an armed party to aid in firing a ship being used by the Confederates as a beacon.
In continued blockade and patrol service off North Carolina, Mount Vernon took British schooners British Queen on 1 March 1862 and Mary Jane on 24 March 1863. With Cambridge and Fernandina, Mount Vernon chased Confederate schooner Kate ashore near Fort Casswell 2 April, and later in the month captured St. George.
After joining in the attack on Confederate batteries at Sewell’s Point 2 May, Mount Vernon returned to blockade duty, playing a key role in the Navy’s efforts to block the flow of materials from overseas and from one point to another in the Confederacy. She took Constitution 23 May, forced an unknown schooner to ground and set herself on fire 26 June, then in July took up close blockade of New Inlet and Little River Inlet. With Cambridge, in December Mount Vernon chased another schooner ashore, a feat duplicated on 12 June 1863. Mount Vernon, James Adger, and Iroquois together cut out a blockade runner on 1 August near New Inlet.
Arriving Newport News, Virginia early in 1864, Mount Vernon remained there until May 1864. She was in the group of Union ships attacked by North Carolina off the mouth of Cape Fear River in May, and she searched for Florida in July. She joined in the abortive attack on Fort Fisher 23 and 24 December, and renewed the attack in mid-January 1865.
Decommissioning at New York on 27 June 1865, she was sold at public auction 12 July 1865.
USS Connecticut (1861) was a large steamer acquired by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. Her primary task was to prevent ships from penetrating the Union blockade of Southern ports.
Connecticut, a side wheel steamer, was built in 1861 by William Webb, New York City; purchased by the Navy 18 July 1861; and commissioned 23 August 1861, Commander M. Woodhull in command.
Connecticut sailed on her first voyage 25 August 1861, delivered men and supplies to ships on the blockade along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts as far as Galveston, Texas, and returned to New York 29 September. Following two patrols, from 16 to 24 October and from 10 November to 17 December in search of CS cruiser CSS Nashville, Connecticut returned to cargo duty, making five voyages similar to her first between 7 January and 15 November 1862. She also captured four schooners with valuable cargo during this period.
Out of commission for repairs at New York from 24 November to 15 December 1862, Connecticut left in tow of USS Montauk (1862) 24 December for duty as convoy and tow ship off Aspinwall, Panama, until returning to New York 6 June 1863.
During Connecticut’s next cruise, from 10 August 1863 to 25 July 1864, she operated most successfully with the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron off Virginia and North Carolina. She captured five vessels and drove a sixth ashore, abandoned and burned by its crew. Included were the English steamer Minnie, captured 9 May 1864 with a cargo of cotton, tobacco, turpentine, and gold, one of the most valuable prizes taken during the war; and the British steamer Greyhound, taken on 10 May, which carried in addition to her cargo of cotton, tobacco, and turpentine, the famous Confederate spy Belle Boyd.
Following another cruise carrying men to the fleet between 30 July and 5 October 1864, Connecticut was placed out of commission at Boston, Massachusetts, from 7 October 1864 to 17 February 1865. Her last cruise from 21 February to 3 August 1865 was in the West Indies and on the U.S. East Coast, searching for Confederate privateers and towing monitors from Port Royal, South Carolina, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Connecticut was decommissioned 11 August 1865 at Philadelphia Navy Yard and sold 21 September 1865.
USS Fahkee (1862) was a steamer purchased by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was built in 1862 at Williamsburg, New York, purchased by the Navy on 15 July 1863; and commissioned on 24 September 1863 with Acting Master F. R. Webb in command.
The Union Navy used her as a collier and freight supply ship assigned to assist Union Navy ships patrolling Confederate waterways.
A coal and freight supply ship, Fahkee served the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron from the time of her commissioning to the close of the war. She carried cargo from New York City, Norfolk, Virginia, and Newport News, Virginia to the fleet on the North Carolina coast, as well as giving towing services and patrolling on blockade at frequent intervals.
Fahkee first came under fire on 3 January 1864 in Lockwood’s Folly Inlet near Wilmington, North Carolina, when she passed through musket and shell fire from the shore to investigate Bendigo, a blockade runner grounded and afire. Fahkee shelled the ship to further her destruction, which was completed the next day by other ships.
While blockading Wilmington, North Carolina, in the spring and summer of 1864, Fahkee was several times fired upon by Confederate shore batteries, and on 24 August, engaged a blockade runner. Returning to the same area after a voyage to New York and Hampton Roads, she twice fired on grounded blockade runners in December. In January 1865, she carried cargo from Norfolk to Beaufort and to the fleet operating against Fort Fisher.
In April 1865, at the close of the war, Fahkee was assigned to the South Atlantic Squadron, and from Port Royal, South Carolina, provisioned ships at Charleston, South Carolina, and those cruising the coast of the Carolinas. She also cruised with the Squadron off Cuba before arriving at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 19 June.
Fahkee was decommissioned on 28 June, and sold in Philadelphia on 10 August.
USS Keystone State was a wooden sidewheel steamer that served in the Union Navy during the American Civil War.
Keystone State was built at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1853 by J. W. Lynn. She was chartered by the Navy on 19 April 1861 from the Ocean Steam Navigation Co. at Philadelphia, and purchased on 10 June 1861. She commissioned at Philadelphia Navy Yard on 19 July 1861, Commander G. H. Scott in command.
Chartered to search for Confederate raider CSS Sumter, she shared in the capture of Hiawatha at Hampton Roads on 10 May 1861. When her charter expired on 23 May, she returned to Philadelphia, where she was purchased, fitted out, and commissioned. She left the Delaware Capes on 21 July and cruised in the West Indies seeking Confederate blockade runners in Caribbean ports. On the high seas, she captured Saloon on 10 October and towed her to Philadelphia via Key West, Florida.
At Philadelphia, Cdr. William Edgar Leroy took command of the ship on 12 November. The sidewheeler stood down the Delaware River and out to sea on 8 December, visited Bermuda, and arrived Hampton Roads the day after Christmas. She got underway on 9 January 1862, and joined the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron at Charleston, South Carolina on 13 January.
Ordered to the Florida coast, she engaged Confederate batteries at Amelia Island on 18 January and captured schooner Mars on 5 February.
Keystone State arrived at Port Royal, South Carolina for replacement on 18 March, and got underway again on 29 March. She chased a blockade runner and fired at another on 3 April, but both escaped. On 10 April, she chased schooner Liverpool of Nassau ashore where she was burned to the water’s edge. Schooner Dixie fell prey to the vigilant blockader on 15 April, steamer Elizabeth then struck her colors on 29 May, and schooner Cora surrendered two days later. Keystone State took blockade runner Sarah off Charleston on 20 June and pursued an unidentified steamer all day and night of 24 June before giving up the chase. She took schooner Fanny attempting to slip into Charleston with a cargo of salt on 22 August.
However, this was dangerous work, and Keystone State well earned her long list of prizes. On 31 January 1863, she discovered a ship off Charleston, stood fast, and fired at her. The ship responded in kind, from time to time hitting the blockader. At 06:00, a shot ripped into Keystone State‘s steam drum, scalding an officer and 19 men to death and wounding another 20. Later that morning, Memphis towed Keystone State to Port Royal for repairs. Ready for action again, she got underway on George Washington’s Birthday (22 February) for blockading station off St. Simons Sound, Georgia, where she served until departing for Philadelphia on 2 June for repairs at the Navy Yard, where she decommissioned on 10 June.
Keystone State recommissioned on 3 October, Cdr. Edward Donaldson in command, and stood out from Delaware Capes on 27 October. Three days later she joined the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron at Wilmington, North Carolina. While cruising off Wilmington, the veteran side wheeler captured the steamer Margaret and Jessie on 5 November. On 29 May 1864, she picked up 235 bales of cotton which had been thrown overboard by a chase; and the next day she captured steamer Caledonia. She took steamer Suez off Beaufort, North Carolina on 5 June and steamer Rouen at sea July 2. On 26 July, she chased a steamer which escaped after throwing her cargo of cotton overboard. Keystone State then picked up over 60 bales. On a similar occasion on 8 August, she salvaged 225 bales. On 24 August, she chased and captured steamer Lilian and, with Gettysburg, picked up 58 bales. On 5 September, with Quaker City, she chased and fired at steamer Elsie. A shell exploded in the blockade runner’s forward hold, starting a fire which Keystone State extinguished. Keystone State then escorted her prize to Beaufort, North Carolina.
During the fall of 1864, the sidewheeler continued blockade duty off the North Carolina coast; and, as winter set in, she prepared to attack Fort Fisher, which protected the important Confederate port of Wilmington. Shortly after dawn on Christmas Eve, Keystone State, steaming with the reserve squadron of the fleet in line of battle, got under way toward Fort Fisher. Her guns, firing over and between the ships in the first echelon, supported troops as they landed and fought to take the fort. However, late in the afternoon, the Union Army commander, General Benjamin Franklin Butler, decided that the Confederate works could not be taken and ordered his troops to reembark. Keystone State withdrew to Beaufort.
Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter, the Union Navy commander, was not to be thwarted. He renewed the attack on Fort Fisher on 13 January 1865 with a force of 59 warships. He sent some 2,000 sailors and marines ashore to aid the 8,000 Army troops led by Major General Alfred H. Terry. After three days of bitter fighting, the bravely defended Confederate fortress fell, closing the South’s last supply line with Europe. Keystone State reached the scene before dawn on 16 January and received the wounded.
After the capture of Wilmington, the sidewheeler continued to operate along the Carolina coast supporting clean-up operations which snuffed out Southern resistance. She got underway on 13 March towing monitor Montauk to Hampton Roads, and arrived at Baltimore, Maryland on 20 March. Keystone State decommissioned on 25 March and was sold at auction at Washington, D.C. on 15 September to M. O. Roberts. She was redocumented as SS San Francisco on 22 December, and operated in merchant service until 1879.