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USS Curlew (1862)
Career (US) Naval jack of the United States (1865–1867) Flag of the United States (1863-1865).svg
Ordered: as Florence
Laid down: date unknown
Launched: 1862 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Acquired: 17 December 1862
Commissioned: 16 February 1863
Decommissioned: 5 July 1865
Struck: 1865 (est.)
Fate: sold, 17 August 1865
General characteristics
Displacement: 196 tons
Length: 159 ft (48 m)
Beam: 32 ft 1 in (9.78 m)
Draught: 4 ft (1.2 m)
Propulsion: steam engine
stern wheel-propelled
Speed: 4 knots
Complement: not known
Armament: eight 24-pounder howitzers

USS Curlew (1862) was a Union Navy steamship purchased during the second year of the American Civil War.

Curlew was a light draft vessel, capable of sailing up shallow streams. She was outfitted with eight heavy howitzers, designed for bombardment, and was assigned to the blockade of the Confederate States of America. Because of the light draft and the howitzers, she was assigned as a mortar gunboat, and she operated on Southern waterways during the course of the war.

Built in Pennsylvania in 1862Edit

Curlew, a stern-wheel steamer, was built in 1862 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as Florence; purchased by the United States Navy on 17 December 1862; converted to a light-draft gunboat and renamed Curlew; and commissioned 16 February 1863, acting Master G. Hentig in command. She was named for the curlew, a large bird having long legs and a long, slender, downward-curved bill.

Civil War operationsEdit

Mississippi River operationsEdit

Sailing from Cairo, Illinois, on 17 February 1863, Curlew joined Admiral David Dixon Porter's fleet for patrol and convoy duty in the Mississippi River and its tributaries. She had occasional skirmishes with the enemy on shore, including those during an expedition with Union Army troops on 2 June 1863 to engage Confederate troops on the Arkansas shore near Island No. 67 and Island No. 68. From 12 to 20 July 1863 Curlew joined other vessels for an expedition into the Red River, Black River, Tensas River, and Ouachita River during which they captured the steamer Louisville'], one of the finest Mississippi River packets, and the steamer Elmira'’, and destroyed stores, two smaller steamers, a large sawmill, and 30,000 feet of lumber.

Service on the Ohio and Tennessee RiversEdit

Curlew served in the Ohio River and the Tennessee River from 23 December 1863 until 14 January 1864, when she arrived at Mound City, Illinois, for repairs. She sailed on 12 March carrying a party from the U.S. Coast Survey for a survey of Grand Gulf, Mississippi, returning to Mound City on 31 May. On 24 May she had a heavy engagement with a 12-gun battery at Gaines Landing, Arkansas, during which she was struck several times.

Returning to Mississippi River operationsEdit

Curlew stood down the Mississippi River again on 30 June 1864 and cruised between Natchez, Mississippi and Vicksburg, Mississippi, having several encounters with enemy land forces. On 24 October she sailed up river to patrol the Ohio River and the Tennessee River.

From February to 17 June 1865 Curlew conducted surveys in the river around Cairo, Illinois, and Mound City, Illinois.


Curlew was decommissioned on 5 July 1865 and sold 17 August 1865.


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

See alsoEdit

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