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USS Wamsutta (1853)
Career (US) Naval jack of the United States (1865–1867) US flag 34 stars.svg
Name: USS Wamsutta
Namesake: Wamsutta, (c. 1634-1662), a Native American leader
Laid down: date unknown
Launched: 1853
Acquired: 20 September 1861
Commissioned: 14 March 1862
Decommissioned: 3 December 1862
In service: 2 February 1863
Out of service: 29 June 1865
Struck: 1865 (est.)
Fate: sold, 20 July 1865
General characteristics
Displacement: 270 tons
Length: 129' 3"
Beam: 26' 8"
Draught: 11'
Propulsion: steam engine
Speed: 9 knots
Complement: not known
Armament: four 32-pounder guns
one 20-pounder Parrott rifle

USS Wamsutta (1853) was a steamer constructed for service with the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was used by the Union Navy as a gunboat in support of the Union Navy blockade of Confederate waterways.

Constructed in New Jersey as WamsuttaEdit

Wamsutta—a screw steamer built in 1853 at Hoboken, New Jersey—was purchased by the Union Navy on 20 September 1861 at New York City from H. Haldrege; and commissioned on 14 March 1862, Acting Volunteer Lieutenant William L. Stone in command.

Assigned to the South Atlantic BlockadeEdit

Wamsutta was assigned to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron and arrived in Port Royal, South Carolina, harbor on 14 April 1862. The next day, she received orders to report to Comdr. Edmund Lanier, in Alabama, for blockade and reconnaissance duty in St. Simon's Sound, Georgia.

Battle of the Riceboro RiverEdit

On 27 April, while on an expedition to destroy a brig believed to be near Dorchester, Georgia, Wamsutta and Potamska engaged a company of dismounted Confederate cavalry on Woodville Island in the Riceboro River. The battle lasted 40 minutes. Wamsutta suffered two casualties and received superficial damage to her port side.

On 8 May, again accompanied by Potomska, Wamsutta proceeded to Darien, Georgia, to capture stored lighthouse machinery. However, a search of the town on the 9th found nothing, and the two gunboats withdrew that evening. Wamsutta remained off Darien, blockading Doboy Sound, Georgia.

On 4 August 1862, Wamsutta departed Doboy Sound to blockade St. Catherine's Sound, Georgia. There, she and Brazileira captured the schooner Defiance on 19 September. On 8 November, a broken air pump forced Wamsutta to Port Royal, South Carolina, for repairs. Ultimately, she proceeded to the New York Navy Yard where she was decommissioned on 3 December 1862.

Recommissioned and returned to duty with the blockadeEdit

Wamsutta was recommissioned there on 2 February 1863 and returned to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, arriving off Port Royal on the 13th. Five days later, she proceeded to Doboy Sound to tow Fernandina into position to blockade the entrance to the sound.

Operating in the Georgia soundsEdit

On the 28th, Wamsutta was ordered to Sapelo Sound, Georgia, to relieve Potomska and remained until ordered to Wassaw Sound, Georgia, on 29 March to relieve Marblehead. By 1 May, Wamsutta lay off Charleston, South Carolina, but spent the remainder of May and the first two weeks of June repairing and re-provisioning in Port Royal. Wamsutta arrived back off Sapelo Sound on 15 June 1863. Four days later, she was relieved by Midnight and ordered to proceed to Doboy Sound to relieve Fernandina. After serving there for most of the summer, Wamsutta headed north on 5 September for repairs in the Philadelphia Navy Yard. She was decommissioned there on 14 September 1863.

Reactivated after repairs and returned to the blockadeEdit

Wamsutta was reactivated on 24 April 1864 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was ordered back to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. She arrived in Port Royal harbor on 6 May and was assigned to blockade duty off Georgetown, South Carolina.

Capturing and burning the British runner RoseEdit

On 3 June, she chased the British steamer Rose aground there and burned the blockade runner. On 9 June, while reconnoitering Confederate island batteries scattered about Winjah Bay, South Carolina, she drew sporadic fire from shore batteries.

On 14 July, Wamsutta returned to duty in Charleston and carried out frequent operations against Confederate vessels from her anchorage off Morris Island, South Carolina.

On 22 October, she helped chase the blockade runner Flora aground near Fort Moultrie, South Carolina. On 5 December 1864, she drove off an unidentified blockade runner attempting to slip into port. On 4 February 1865, Wamsutta and Potomska ran another schooner aground, but the crew of the potential prize burned the ship before the Federals could take possession of her. Finally, two days later, Wamsutta turned back a blockade runner attempting to reach Charleston.

End-of-war operations and decommissioningEdit

Late in April, Wamsutta was reassigned to duty off St. Simon's Island, Georgia. She remained there through May and sailed for the Portsmouth Navy Yard (Kittery, Maine) early in June. She was decommissioned at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on 29 June 1865 and was sold at public auction there on 20 July to Otis Seabury.

See alsoEdit


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

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