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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Prairie Bird


Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Wooden Stern-wheel Steamer (Tinclad #11):
  • Purchased as SS Mary Miller at Cincinnati, O., 19 December 1862
  • Fitted out for Naval service at Cairo, II.
  • Commissioned USS Prairie Bird in January 1863, Acting Master J. C. Moore in command
  • During the Civil War USS Prairie Bird was assigned to the Mississippi Squadron
    Prior to joining the squadron Prairie Bird assisted USS Juliet, grounded 20 miles below Island No. 10
    At Memphis was assigned to escorting a provision ship to the Yazoo, where she joined the Mississippi Squadron in March 1863
    Assigned to the a station above the White River to protect a coal depot
    Reassigned in mid-March to Greenville
    In April, she operated at the mouth of the White River
    In May, she returned to Memphis
    Remaining in the Arkansas-White River area into the following spring, she reconnoitered the Sunflower River, as far as Lake George and Silver Creek, with USS Petrel in March 1864
    In April USS Prairie Bird steamed with USS Petrel and USS Freestone up the Yazoo to fire on and pass Yazoo City in support of an Army operation against that city
    On 22 April, Prairie Bird, having received engine damage, rescued survivors from Petrel, then retired to Vicksburg for repairs.
    Assigned to the 6th District, Mississippi Squadron, for most of the remainder of the war, USS Prairie Bird operated between Vicksburg and the Arkansas River
    21 July she seized the steamer SS Union for violation of revenue laws and giving "aid and comfort to the enemy."
    23 July Prairie Bird rescued 350 of 500 passengers aboard SS B. M. Runyan, sunk off Skipwith’s Landing
    11 August she engaged the enemy battery at Gaines Landing, AR., in support of operations there
    December 1864, Prairie Bird joined with other vessels and Army units to cut the rebel communications in Mississippi and on the 31st assisted blowing the railway bridge over the Big Black River
    Prairie Bird remained in the 6th District until March 1865.
    Decommissioned in July 1865 at Mound City, IL.
    Sold by public auction to Henry Morton
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
    Specifications:
    Displacement 171 t.
    Length 150' 10"
    Beam 29' 3"
    Depth 4' 2"
    Draft 5'
    Speed 6 kts
    Complement unknown
    Armament
    eight 24-pdrs
    Propulsion steam

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    Size Image Description Contributed
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    Prairie Bird 82k USS Prairie Bird photographed off Vicksburg, MS., circa 1864-65. Note: identification number "11" painted on Prairie Bird's pilothouse; Vicksburg courthouse on the hilltop in left center.
    US Navy History and Heritage Command photo # NH 42359.
    Aryeh Wetherhorn

    USS Prairie Bird
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 7 July 2011