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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Sciota (I)

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Unadilla Class Screw Gunboat:
  • Laid down in the summer of 1861 at Philadelphia, by Jacob Birley and J. P. Morris and Co.
  • Launched, 15 October 1861
  • Commissioned USS Sciota, 15 December 1861, at Philadelphia Navy Yard, LT. Edward Donaldson in command
  • Assigned to the Gulf Blockading Squadron at Ship Island, MS
    Captured blockade runner Margaret, 6 February 1862
  • Reassigned to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron
    Participated in the action at Forts St. Philip and Fort Jackson running past the forts 24 April 1862
    Participated in the attacks and passed the Confederate forts at Vicksburg, 28 June 1862
    USS Sciota participated in the attack of Galveston, 3 January 1863
    Collided with the Union steamer USS Antona in the Mississippi and sank, 14 July 1863
  • Raised and refitted at New Orleans in late August 1863
  • Sciota returned to blockade duty off the Texas coast in December 1863
    Participated in a reconnaissance of Pass Cavallo, TX. with USS Granite City, 31 December 1863
    Sciota and Granite City participated in the landing of troops at Smith's Landing, TX., 21 January 1864
    Captured schooner Mary Sorly, 4 April 1864
    Captured Prussian schooner Pancha Larispa, 13 September 1864
    Took the British schooner Cora Smyser, 14 September 1864
  • While clearing torpedoes in Mobile Bay, 14 April 1865, Sciota struck a torpedo and sank
  • Raised in July 1865 and sold at public auction at New York, 25 October 1865
  • Subsequent employment as a merchant ship and as a Chilean warship
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
    Displacement 507 t.
    Length 158' 8"
    Beam 28'
    Depth of Hold 12'
    Draft 10' 6"
    Speed 9 kts
    Complement 114 officers and enlisted
    one 11" Dahlgren smoothbore
    one 20-pdr Parrott rifle
    two 24-pdr howitzers
    rigged as a two masted schooner
    two 200 imp 30" stroke horizontal back-acting engines
    single screw

    Click On Image
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    Size Image Description Contributed
    Unadilla 82k Line engraving published in Harper's Weekly, July-December 1861 volume. depicting the ten "90-Day Gunboats" constructed for the U.S. Navy in 1861-62. Ships, as identified in the image are from left to right;
    USS Chippewa
    USS Sciota
    USS Itasca
    USS Winona
    USS Huron
    USS Ottawa
    USS Pembina
    USS Seneca
    USS Unadilla and
    USS Sagamore. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Photo #: NH 59367
    Robert Hurst
    330k USS Sciota shortly after she had been raised after lying sunk by a torpedo in Mobile Bay. Sciota, while hurrying across the bay, ran into a torpedo. A terrific explosion followed and Sciota sank immediately in twelve feet of water. Four of her men were killed and six wounded and the vessel was badly damaged. This was on April 14, 1865. The navy never gives up one of its vessels as a total loss until everything has been done to prove that to be the case; by July 7th Sciota had been raised, repaired, and sent to Pensacola for her armament, with orders to proceed to New York and go into dry-dock. In the picture the man leaning against the bulwark, with one hand on his coat and the other in his trousers pocket, is John S. Pearce, one of the engineers.
    Image from The photographic history of the Civil War - thousands of scenes photographed 1861-65, with text by many special authorities (1911). Authors Miller, Francis Trevelyan, 1877-1959, and Lanier, Robert S. (Robert Sampson), 1880-. Publisher: Review of Reviews Co., New York, 1911 (1910s).
    Robert Hurst

    USS Sciota (I)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01LT. Donaldson, Edward15 December 1861 - 22 July 1862
    02LCDR. Lowary, Reigart Bolivar22 July 1862 - 1 June 1863
    03LCDR. Henry, Edmund W.1 June 1863 - 31 July 1863
    04LCDR. Perkins, George Hamilton31 July 1863 - 13 February 1864
    05LCDR. Gillis, J Hames H.11 March 1864 - 2 October 1864
    06LCDR. Adams Jr., Henry A.2 October 1864 - 3 May 1865
    07Act. Vol. LT. Magune, James W. 3 May 1865 - 25 July 1865
    Courtesy Bill Gonyo

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    Last Updated 9 July 2021