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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Marblehead (I)


Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Unadilla Class Screw Gunboat:
  • Laid down, date unknown, by G. W. Jackman, Newburyport, MA.
  • Launched, 16 October 1861
  • Commissioned, 8 March 1862, LCDR. Somerville Nicholson in command
  • USS Marblehead was assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron;
  • Participated in operations along the York and Pamunkey Rivers in Virginia
  • Took part in the shelling of Confederate positions at Yorktown, 1 May 1862
  • Reassigned to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron in June 1862;
  • USS Marblehead patrolled off the southern east coast in search of Confederate vessels
  • Periodically engaged in operations on the Stono River, S.C., in support of the Union defenders of James Island
  • Marblehead and USS Pawnee came under fire, 25 December 1863, on the Stono River, during the battle Marblehead sustained 20 hits but was still able to capture two of the enemy's 8" seacoast howitzers
  • Assigned as practice ship for the Naval Academy at Newport, R.I., 2 June 1864
  • USS Marblehead resumed coastal patrol in July 1864
  • Returned to Newport in December 1864 to again assume the duties of midshipman practice ship
  • Decommissioned, 19 September 1866, at Washington Navy Yard
  • Recommissioned the following month and assigned to the North Atlantic Squadron, operating in the Caribbean for the next 2 years
  • Returned to New York Navy Yard, 18 August 1868
  • Decommissioned 4 September 1868, at New York Navy Yard
  • Sold, 30 September, 1868
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
    Specifications:
    Displacement 691 t.
    Length 158' 4"
    Beam 28'
    Depth unknown
    Draft 10' 6"
    Speed 11 kts
    Complement 81
    Armament
    one 11" gun smoothbore
    two 24-pdrs
    one 20-pdr
    Propulsion steam

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    Size Image Description Contributed
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    Marblehead 87k USS Marblehead, photographed by Byron, New York, probably in 1864-68 after she was rearmed with all guns mounted on the broadside. Note rowing launch amidships, with a flag flying from its stern.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 46630
    Tommy Trampp
    Marblehead 149k Halftone image, copied from "Deeds of Valor", Volume II, page 51, published by the Perrien-Keydel Company, Detroit, 1907. Shows one of Marblehead's gun crews returning the Confederate fire. The man at left, wearing a nightshirt and holding a sword, is the ship's Commanding Officer, LCDR. Richard W. Meade, Jr., who had been suddenly awakened when the enemy opened fire.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 79920
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Marblehead 91k Boatswain's Mate William Farley, USN, was born in 1835 in Whitefield, Maine. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy from that state and served as a Boatswain's Mate on board USS Marblehead during the American Civil War. While off Legareville, Stono River, South Carolina, 25 December 1863, Farley inspired his men to keep a rapid and effective fire on the enemy as Marblehead engaged Confederates on John's Island. The enemy eventually abandoned his position leaving munitions behind. For his performance on that occasion, Boatswain's Mate Farley was awarded the Medal of Honor.

    Medal of Honor citation of Boatswain's Mate William Farley, USN (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 24): "Served on board the U.S.S. Marblehead off Legareville, Stono River, 25 December 1863, during an engagement with the enemy on John's Island. Behaving in a gallant manner, FARLEY animated his men and kept up a rapid and effective fire on the enemy throughout the engagement which resulted in the enemy's abandonment of his positions, leaving a caisson and one gun behind."

    Reverse of a Medal of Honor awarded to Boatswain's Mate William Farley, USN, of USS Marblehead for inspiring his men to keep a rapid and effective fire during an engagement with a Confederate battery on John's Island, Stono River, South Carolina, 25 December 1863.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 105629

    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Marblehead 106k Quartermaster James Miller, USN was born in Denmark in 1835 or 1836 (sources vary). He served in the Navy during the Civil War, accredited as a Massachusetts resident, and was a member of the crew of USS Marblehead (1862-1865) in 1863. He distinguished himself by continuing to take soundings while under fire during an engagement with Confederate artillery on the Stono River, South Carolina, 25 December 1863. For his courageous conduct on this occasion, Quartermaster James Miller was awarded the Medal of Honor and promoted to Acting Master's Mate.
    The destroyer USS Miller (DD-535) was named in honor of Quartermaster Miller.

    Medal of Honor citation of Quartermaster James Miller (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 39): "Served as quartermaster on board the U.S. Steam Gunboat Marblehead off Legareville, Stono River, 25 December 1863, during an engagement with the enemy on John's Island. Acting courageously under the fierce hostile fire, MILLER behaved gallantly throughout the engagement, which resulted in the enemy's withdrawal and abandonment of his arms."
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 105629

    US Naval History and Heritage Command

    USS Marblehead (I)
    DANFS history entry located at the US Naval History an Heritage Command
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    Last Updated 21 September 2012