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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Pocahontas (I)
USS Despatch (II) (1856 - 1860)

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Screw Steamer / Sloop of War:
  • Built at Medford, MA., in 1852 as the screw steamer SS City of Boston
  • Purchased by the US Navy 20 March 1855
  • Commissioned, USS Despatch, 17 January 1856, LT. T. M. Crossan in command
  • Decommissioned, 4 July 1856
  • Recommissioned, 1 March 1858
  • Decommissioned, 2 January 1859, at Norfolk, VA.
  • Rebuilt at Norfolk Navy Yard, enlarged to 694 tons, reclassified a second class sloop, renamed USS Pocahontas 27 January 1860
  • Recommissioned USS Pocahontas, 19 March 1860, CDR. S. F. Hazzard in command
  • During the Civil War USS Pocahontas participated in the following actions:
    Attempted relief of Ft. Sumter at Charleston, S.C. in April 1861
    Patrolled the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers and Chesapeake Bay protecting water approaches to Washington, seized steamer SS James Guy, 21 May and fired on and damaged CSS George Page 7 July
  • Assigned to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, 15 October 1861
    Capture Port Royal Sound 7 November, 1861
    Operated along the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, performing blockade duty
    Capture of Tybee Island, GA., 24 November 1861
    Assisted in towing ships of the “Stone Fleet” to Maffitt’s channel and sank them 20 through 26 January, 1862
    The expedition which captured St. Simon’s Island and Brunswick, GA., and Fernandia, FL., 23 February to 15 March 1862
    Capture steamer SS Nina on Black River , 14 August 1862
  • Assigned to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, after repairs at Philadelphia
    Blockade duty off Mobile Bay capturing British steamer Antona, 6 January 1863
    Destroyed blockade running sloop Josephine, 5 March 1863
  • Decommissioned for repairs, 7 September 1863,
    Recommissioned, 16 March 1864, returning the West Gulf Blockading Squadron for blockade duty along the Gulf Coast for the remainder of the war
  • Decommissioned, 31 July 1865, at New York Navy Yard
  • Sold at New York, 30 November 1865, reduced to a bark, renamed Abby Bacon in commercial service until 1868
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
    Displacement 558 t. / 694 t.
    Length 169' 6"
    Beam 26' 3"
    Depth 18' 6"
    Draft unknown
    Speed 11 kts
    Complement unknown
    four 32-pdrs
    one 10-pdr
    one 20-pdr Parrott rifle
    Propulsion steam

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    Pocahontas 382k
    Pocahontas (born Matoaka, known as Amonute, c. 1596–1617) was a Native American[2][3][4] notable for her association with the colonial settlement at Jamestown, Virginia. Pocahontas was the daughter of Powhatan, the paramount chief[2] of a network of tributary tribal nations in the Tsenacommacah, encompassing the Tidewater region of Virginia. In a well-known historical anecdote, she is said to have saved the life of a Native American captive, Englishman John Smith, in 1607 by placing her head upon his own when her father raised his war club to execute him. Some historians have suggested that this story, as told by Smith, is untrue.
    Portrait engraving by Simon de Passe, 1616
    Tommy Trampp
    Pocahontas 171k USS Pocahontas at rest, probably taken at or near Edisto Island, Massachusetts, 1 January 1865 by Henry P. Moore (1835-1911).
    US Library of Congress photos.
    Bill Gonyo
    Pocahontas 96k USS Pocahontas captures the British blockade runner SS Antona in Mobile (note misspelled ship names). Drawing by Alfred Rudolph Waud (1828-1891), artist; William Waud (-1878). This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID ppmsca.21372. Bob Hurst
    Issac Smith 75k "Bombardment and Capture of Port Royal, South Carolina, 7 November 1861" Engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", July-December 1861 volume, pages 760-761. It depicts Federal warships, under Flag Officer Samuel F. DuPont, USN, bombarding Fort Beauregard (at right) and Fort Walker (at left). The Confederate squadron commanded by Commodore Josiah Tattnall is in the left center distance. Subjects identified below the image bottom are (from left): tug Mercury,
    Fort Walker,
    USS Wabash (DuPont's flagship),
    steamer Screamer (?),
    USS Susquehanna,
    CSS Huntsville, Commo. Tattnall, (probably mis-identified as no record exists that CSS Huntsville served in the defenses of Port Royal, S.C.
    USS Bienville,
    USS Pembina,
    USS Seneca,
    USS Ottawa,
    USS Unadilla,
    USS Pawnee,
    USS Mohican,
    USS Isaac Smith,
    USS Curlew; (probably mis-identified as no record exists that USS Curlew served with South Atlantic Blockading Squadron),
    USS Vandalia,
    USS Penguin,
    USS Pocahontas,
    USS Seminole,
    Fort Beauregard,
    USS R.B. Forbes
    and "Rebel Camp".
    US Navy photo # NH 59256
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Pocahontas 197k USS Pocahontas pivot guns and crews, 1862.
    Cropped photo from the Gladstone Collection courtesy of the Library of Congress
    Bill Gonyo
    142k Photograph of a painting by Clary Ray (1896) of USS Pocahontas underway in stormy weather.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 42635
    Robert Hurst
    Pocahontas 305k Acting Ensign Isaac J. McKinley served about the USS Pocahontas during her assignment as part of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron in 1865.
    Photo from the Heritage Auctions November 2011 Catalog.
    Bill Gonyo

    USS Dispatch (II) / USS Pocahontas (I)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 24 April 2023