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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive
USS Essex (II)
USS New Era
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons
Civil War Medal
Built in 1856 as the steamer New Era at St Louis, MO. for the Wiggins Ferry Co.
Purchased by the War Department, 20 September 1861
Converted into a timberclad gunboat by James B. Eads of St. Louis, MO.
Commissioned USS New Era, 4 October 1861, CDR. William D. Porter in command
USS New Era initially operated on the Ohio, Mississippi and Cumberland rivers in October
Converted to a partial ironclad in November, renamed USS Essex
During the Civil War USS Essex participated in the following engagements:
Engagement of Confederate gunboats at Lucas Bend MO. in the Tennessee River, 7 to 11 January 1862
Capture of Fort Henry, TN., 6 February, suffering 11 KIA and 23 WIA
After extensive overhaul including heavier armor USS Essex participated in the assault on Vicksburg on 13 July 1862
Attacked the Confederate ram, CSS Arkansas below Vicksburg, inflicting considerable damage
Steaming south to Baton Rouge, LA. she joined with the Army in repelling a Confederate attack, 5 August
Again attacked CSS Arkansas on 6 August when Arkansas broke down and drifted ashore where she was destroyed by her crew
Refitted at New Orleans, operational control turned over to the Navy, 1 October 1862
Following refit USS Essex participated in the capture of Port Hudson, LA., 8 May to 8 July 1863
Engagement at Donaldsonville, 9 July and although damaged in the battle, carried out her patrol duty at this point through 6 March 1864
Assisted in the capture of Fort de Russy on 15 and 16 March
USS Essex was assigned on 4 May as guardship at Memphis, TN. for the duration of the war
Decommissioned at Mound City, IL., 20 July 1865
Final Disposition, sold 29 November 1865, fate unknown
Displacement 614 t.
Beam 47' 6"
three 9" smoothbore
one 10" smoothbore
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|USS New Ira
||The Gunboat USS New Ira being built at St. Louis.
||USS New Ira underway on the Mississippi River.
|USS Essex (II)
||USS Essex moored at Memphis, TN. with her awnings up, during the Civil War.
Note mortar boats alongside Essex, also with awnings deployed, and small building atop the bluff, toward the left, marked "Pittsburgh COAL", with the Pittsburgh Coal Company's castle symbol between "CO" and "AL".
US Navy photo # NH 54286 from the collections of the US Naval History and Heritage Command
||USS Essex at a Mississippi River area port, circa 1862-65. Note: The original caption identified location and date as Baton Rouge, LA., in July 1862. However, the presence of a mortar boat (at right) indicates that either the date is later or the location is above Vicksburg if the photo was taken in 1862. The original photograph accompanied a claim filed by James A. Payne.
US Navy photo # NH 61567 from the collections of the US Naval History and Heritage Command
||USS Essex coaling at Baton Rouge, LA., in late July 1862, just after she reached the lower Mississippi. Ships of Farragut's fleet are in the background. The original photograph accompanied a claim filed by James A. Payne.
US Navy photo # NH 54289 from the collections of the US Naval History and Heritage Command
||Post card image of USS Essex moored in front of Vicksburg, MS., date unknown.
USS New Era / USS Essex (II)
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
Pook's Turtles by Aryeh Wetherhorn
Last Updated 14 September 2012
This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo|