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USS Bloomer (1856)
Career (US) Union Navy Jack
Laid down: date unknown
Launched: 1856 at New Albany, Indiana
Acquired: 24 January 1863
Commissioned: 24 January 1863
Out of service: June 1865 (sank)
Struck: 1865 (est.)
Fate: sold, 22 September 1865
General characteristics
Displacement: 130 tons
Length: not known
Beam: not known
Draught: not known
Propulsion: steam engine
stern wheel-propelled
Speed: not known
Complement: 49
Armament: one 32-pounder gun
one 12-pounder rifled gun

USS Bloomer (1856) was a stern-wheel steamer acquired by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was used by the Union Navy as a gunboat with orders to patrol navigable waterways of the Confederacy to prevent the South from trading with other countries.

An unofficial acquisition of a stern-wheeled steamer[edit | edit source]

Bloomer—a stern-wheel steamer built in 1856 at New Albany, Indiana—was laid up at the outbreak of the Civil War in the Choctawhatchee River in Alabama, about a mile south of Geneva, Alabama, by her owner, a loyal Union man. On 27 December 1862, a joint expedition composed of officers and men of Potomac and troops of the 91st New York State Volunteers, led by Lieutenant James H. Stewart took possession of her and delivered her to the Pensacola Navy Yard where she was repaired and armed. A small crew was placed on board and, on 24 January 1863, Acting Ensign Edwin Crissey assumed command. The ship was put in operation without being sent to an admiralty court to be libelled.

Civil War service[edit | edit source]

Destroying 380 salt works and the town of St. Andrews[edit | edit source]

Although she spent most of her naval career operating in the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, her most notable service occurred in December 1863 during a brief tour of duty with the East Gulf Blockading Squadron. This operation in St. Andrew's Bay, Florida—in which she was assisted by her tender, the sloop Caroline, and the bark Restless—resulted in the destruction of 380 different salt works and of much of the town of St. Andrew's. Her commanding officer received high praise for Bloomer's part in the successful accomplishment of this mission.

Bloomer finally acquired officially by the Union Navy[edit | edit source]

Near the very end of 1863, Bloomer was at last ordered to the prize court of New Orleans, Louisiana, to be libelled. The final decree in the case, rendered on 4 January 1865, declared this was not a case of "prize" but of "salvage." Early in 1865, she was finally purchased by the United States Navy and continued on duty on the coast of Florida in the vicinity of Pensacola, Florida.

Bloomer sinks, is raised, and is sold into commercial service[edit | edit source]

In June 1865 she sank in East Pass, Santa Rosa Island, Florida. After the wreck was raised, it was sold on 22 September 1865 to S. P. Griffin & Co., of Woolsey, Florida. Redocumented as Emma on 5 April 1866, the vessel served a private owner until 1868 when she was sold to a foreign purchaser and disappeared from American shipping records.

 The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies of the War 
of the Rebellion (ORN) lists the Bloomer both as a sidewheeler,
and, later as a sternwheeler.
One of the persons from Geneva who assisted in the raid was a
pilot named Jones, who is not otherwise identified; however, records
of the ORN Show that a Thomas G. Jones was, at one time,
in command of the Bloomer, after she was captured—perhaps
in reward for his services.

References[edit | edit source]

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
See Also, "A Federal Raid into Southeast Alabama" Allen W. Jones,
Alabama Review, October, 1961.
Bloomer was a 130 ton sidewheeler

Official records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of
the Rebellion, Series II, Volume 1, page 46.
For Elias Bruner's version of the raid, see:
Official records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of
the Rebellion. / Series I - Volume 19: West Gulf Blockading Squadron
(15 July 1862 - 14 March 1863) pages 424-429.

To see Acting Assistant Engineer, 3rd Class Thomas G. Jones in command of Bloomer on 15 January 1865, see:

Official records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the
Rebellion, Series I-Volume 22:West Gulf Blocking Squadron
(1 January 1865-January 31, 1866), page 12
http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/moa/pageviewer?frames=1&coll=moa&view=50&root=%2Fmoa%2Fofre%2Fofre0022%2F&tif=00034.TIF&cite=http%3A%2F%2Fcdl.library.cornell.edu%2Fcgi-bin%2Fmoa%2Fmoa-cgi%3Fnotisid%3DANU4547-0022 Curiously, the above shows Bloomer as a stern wheeler.

Narrative of Destruction of Salt works:

Official records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the
Rebellion. / Series I - Volume 17: Gulf Blockading Squadron
(16 December 1861 - 21 February 1862); East Gulf Blockading
Squadron (22 December 1862 - 17 July 1865), pages 593-601

See also[edit | edit source]

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