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USS Hendrick Hudson
USS Hendrick Hudson
Hendrick Hudson
Career (US)
Ordered: as Florida
Laid down: date unknown
Launched: 1859
Acquired: 20 September 1862
Commissioned: 30 December 1862
Decommissioned: 8 August 1865
Captured: by Union Navy forces
6 April 1862
Fate: sold, 12 September 1865
General characteristics
Displacement: 460 tons
Length: 171 ft (52 m)
Beam: 29 ft 11 in (9.12 m)
Draught: depth of hold 9' 6"
Propulsion: steam engine
screw-propelled
with sail assist
Speed: 11 knots
Complement: not known
Armament: four 8” guns
two 20-pounder cannon

USS Hendrick Hudson (1859) was a schooner-rigged screw steamer captured by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was used by the Navy as a gunboat in support of the Union blockade of the ports of the Confederate States of America.

Service in the Confederate Navy[edit | edit source]

Hendrick Hudson was built as Florida in 1859 at Greenpoint, New York. She was taken into the Confederate States Navy in 1862 as CSS Florida. [Note 1]

Hendrick Hudson captured[edit | edit source]

Hendrick Hudson was captured by USS Pursuit while attempting to run the blockade at St. Andrews Bay, Florida on 6 April 1862. She was taken to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for adjudication, where she was condemned and purchased by the United States Department of the Navy from the prize court on 20 September 1862. Renamed Hendrick Hudson, she commissioned 30 December 1862 at Philadelphia, Acting Master John E. Giddings commanding.

Assigned to the East Gulf Blockade[edit | edit source]

Assigned to the East Gulf Blockading Squadron, Hendrick Hudson sailed to Hampton Roads, Virginia, arriving 3 January 1863, and from there proceeded to her blockading station off East Pass, St. George's Sound, Florida. On station 1 February, Hendrick Hudson began her long months of arduous blockade duty, working to shut off commerce through the multitude of small inlets and passes of the Florida coast.

Capturing blockade runners[edit | edit source]

She remained off St. George's Sound until late August 1863, capturing schooner Margaret on 1 February and schooner Teresa on 16 April. She then retired to Boston, Massachusetts for repairs and refitting, returning to a new station off the mouth of the Suwannee River on 28 December.

Resuming her blockading duties, Hendrick Hudson encountered a small schooner off Key West, Florida on 21 March 1864 and stood toward her. The blockade runner, Wild Pigeon, suddenly turned across Hendrick Hudson's bow, however, and was inadvertently rammed and sunk. None of her assorted cargo could be recovered.

Shore party engages Confederate soldiers[edit | edit source]

The steamer continued her blockading duties through 1864, spending much of her time in busy Tampa Bay and St. Marks, Florida. A group of her men went ashore on an expedition on 12 November and engaged some Confederate soldiers briefly, in one of the many forays ashore by personnel of the East Gulf Squadron.

Expedition in support of Union Army troops[edit | edit source]

Hendrick Hudson participated 27 February to 7 March 1865 in an expedition with Union Army units in the vicinity of St. Marks, Florida. The steamer helped blockade the river and some of her crew went ashore with the Army in an attempt to capture Confederate positions in what came to be known as the Battle of Natural Bridge. Two of the ship's sailors were awarded the Medal of Honor for their part in this battle: Seaman John Mack and Coxswain George Schutt.[2]

Post-war decommissioning and subsequent career[edit | edit source]

Following the end of the U.S. Civil War, Hendrick Hudson was not retained in the squadron, and was ordered north 15 July 1865. She decommissioned 8 August 1865 at Philadelphia and was sold on 12 September. The ship was subsequently redocumented SS Hendrick Hudson and operated in commercial service until she was lost near Havana, Cuba on 13 November 1867.

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Conflicting sources: The Confederate States Navy Research Library, Mobile, Alabama claims: *The first cruiser built overseas in England.[1]

References[edit | edit source]

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entries can be found Confederate service here and Union service here.

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