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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Calhoun


Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal
Personnel Awards

Purple Heart (LCDR Thomas McKean Buchanan and 2 others KIA and 5 WIA, 14 January 1862)

Sidewheel steamer:
  • Built in 1851 as SS Cuba at New York
  • Commissioned as a privateer by the Confederates, 15 May 1861
  • Captured by Federal forces, 23 January 1862, at the Mississippi River's Head of Passes
  • Commissioned USS Calhoun, soon after , LT. J. E. De-Haven in command
  • During the Civil War USS Calhoun participated in the following campaigns/actions
    Assigned to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, 19 March 1862, operating in the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico area
    Turned over to the US Marshal at New Orleans, 6 May 1864
    Sold, 4 June 1864, to the US Army, renamed General Sedgewick
    Sold by the government in 1865 for commercial service, name reverted to SS Calhoun
  • Final Disposition, broken up in 1883
    Specifications:
    Displacement 508 t.
    Length unknown
    Beam unknown
    Draft unknown
    Depth unknown
    Speed unknown
    Complement unknown
    Armament
    one 30-pdr Parrott rifle
    two 32-pdrs
    Propulsion steam

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    Size Image Description Source
    Calhoun 138k
    Namesake
    John Caldwell Calhoun was a Representative and a Senator from South Carolina and a Vice President of the United States; born near Calhoun Mills, Abbeville District (now Mount Carmel, McCormick County), S.C., March 18, 1782; attended the common schools and private academies; graduated from Yale College in 1804; studied law, admitted to the bar in 1807, and commenced practice in Abbeville, S.C.; also engaged in agricultural pursuits; member, State house of representatives 1808-1809; elected as a Democratic Republican to the Twelfth and to the three succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1811, to November 3, 1817, when he resigned; Secretary of War in the Cabinet of President James Monroe 1817-1825; elected vice president of the United States in 1824 with President John Quincy Adams; reelected in 1828 with President Andrew Jackson and served from March 4, 1825, to December 28, 1832, when he resigned, having been elected as a Democratic Republican (later Nullifier) to the United States Senate on December 12, 1832, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Robert Y. Hayne; reelected in 1834 and 1840 and served from December 29, 1832, until his resignation, effective March 3, 1843; Secretary of State in the Cabinet of President John Tyler 1844-1845; again elected to the United States Senate, as a Democrat, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Daniel E. Huger; reelected in 1846 and served from November 26, 1845, until his death in Washington, D.C., March 31, 1850; chairman, Committee on Finance (Twenty-ninth Congress); interment in St. Philip’s Churchyard, Charleston, S.C.
    Biography courtesy of the United States Congress.
    Portrait courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery
    Bill Gonyo
    Calhoun 51k Watercolor of steamship Calhoun by Erik Heyl, 1963, prepared for use in his book "Early American Steamers", Volume III. Originally built in 1851, Calhoun was a Confederate warship in 1861-62 and became USS Calhoun in 1862.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo #: NH 66951, courtesy of Erik Heyl.
    Tommy Trampp
    Calhoun 42k Watercolor of USS Calhoun by Erik Heyl, 1963, prepared for use in his book "Early American Steamers", Volume III. Originally built in 1851, USS Calhoun became the US Army steamer General Sedgewick in 1864.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo #: NH 66952, courtesy of Erik Heyl.
    Tommy Trampp
    Calhoun 69k Watercolor of USS Calhoun artwork by Assistant Engineer John Everding, USN, circa 1862-64.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo #: NH 55004-KN (color), courtesy of Erik Heyl.
    US Navy History and Heritage Command
    Kinsman 183k "The Fight at Corney's Bridge, Bayou Teche, Louisiana, and Destruction of the Rebel Gun-boat 'Cotton,', January 14, 1863." A line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 1863, showing the Confederate gunboat CSS J. A. Cotton engaging Federal gunboats, as Confederate troops fire from the shore. U.S. Navy ships in this engagement were USS Kinsman, USS Estrella, USS Diana and USS Calhoun.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 58767
    Bill Gonyo and Tommy Trampp
    J.A. Cotton 155k "Engagement at Butte la Rose"
    Line engraving after a sketch by H. Holtz, published in "Harper's Weekly", 1863, depicting the U.S. Navy gunboats USS Estrella, USS Calhoun, USS Arizona and USS Clifton (listed clockwise from lower right) engaging the Confederate gunboat CSS J.A. Cotton off Butte a la Rose, Louisiana, on 20 April 1863. Confederate Fort Burton (shown at left) was captured on the same day.
    An original engraved print titled,"Engagement at Butte la Rose." published in "Harper's Weekly" dated May 30, 1863.
    Tommy Trampp
    Queen of the West 186k "Destruction of the 'Queen of the West' by Union Gun-Boats."
    Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 1863, depicting CSS Queen of the West being destroyed in Grand Lake, Louisiana, during an attack by USS Estrella (extreme left), USS Calhoun (extreme right) and USS Arizona (second from right), 14 April 1863.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 58759
    Robert Hurst
    Calhoun 225k Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", April 1864, depicting the bombardment of Fort Powell, in Grant's Pass between Mississippi Sound and Mobile Bay, Alabama. The steamer at right is USS Calhoun, flagship during this operation. Tommy Trampp
    Calhoun 69k 1860s CIVIL WAR CDV PHOTO OF US NAVY OFFICER KILLED IN ACTION LCDR Thomas McKean Buchanan, USS CALHOUN KIA"
    During the fierce battle that Lieutenant Commander Buchanan was killed. Admiral Farragut reported Buchanan's death as follows: "Sir, It becomes my painful duty to report to you the death of Lieutenant Commander Thomas McKean Buchanan who lost his life yesterday January 14 in an attack upon the rebel steamer CSN Cotton and the batteries erected at the obstructions in the river Teche. The USS Calhoun lost also two men and had five wounded. Lieutenant Commander Buchanan was one of our most gallant and persevering young officers He informed me two days ago that he thought the enemy was about to make an attack on him and that he would anticipate them. In reply to my letter in which I enjoined him to do his whole duty on this occasion, he assured me, that I need give myself no uneasiness upon that score as they had all determined to go down rather than surrender. It appears however that he lost his life by pushing forward according to General Weitzel account too recklessly but his efforts were fully successful and drove the enemy from his positions as will be seen by the reports of Lieutenant Commander AP Cooke and General Weitzel. copies of which are hereto appended Our forces are now endeavoring to pull up the obstructions and follow the Cotton up the Teche. / Very respectfully your obedient servant DG FARRAGUT Rear Admiral."
    Tommy Trampp

    USS Calhoun
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 7 January 2017