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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Mercedita

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Screw Gunboat:
  • Built in 1861 as the wooden steamer Mercedita at Brooklyn N.Y.
  • Launched, date unknown
  • Purchased by the Federal Navy, 31 July 1861, from J. C. Jewett & Co.
  • Commissioned, 8 December 1861, at New York, CDR. H. S. Stellwagon in command
  • During the Civil War USS Mercedita was initially assigned to the Gulf Blockading Squadron, 3 January 1862
    Chased two vessels on 4 January 1862, attempting to run the blockade; Julia and an unidentified ship which ran aground trying to escape and were set afire by their crews
    At West Pass Mercedita near Apalachacola, FL., destroyed the Confederate batteries at St. Vincent’s, 21 March 1862
    Mercedita and USS Sagamore captured Apalachacola 3 April
    Captured blockade runner Bermuda, 27 April and schooners Victoria and Ida, 12 July 1862
  • Transferred to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron arriving at Charleston, 19 September 1863
    Served on the blockade of Charleston Harbor until the end of January 1863
    On the night of the 31 January 1863, Confederate ironclad rams CSS Palmetto State and CSS Chicora slipped out of the main ship channel attacking USS Mercedita
    Palmetto State succeeded in ramming her, ripping a hole in her keel, piercing her boiler, and leaving her in a sinking condition
    Challenged “Surrender or I’ll sink you,” Mercedita. unable to move or bring her guns to bear, struck her colors.
    Making temporary repairs Mercedita proceeded to Port Royal and Philadelphia for complete repairs
  • Attached to the West India Squadron in April 1864 USS Mercedita
    Escort California steamers over part of their route, from New York to Aspinwall
  • Reassigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron in the spring of 1864 operating from Beaufort, N.C.
  • Mercedita joined the West Gulf Squadron in March 1865
  • After the Civil War USS Mercedita was assigned to protecting American citizens and their property in the Caribbean
  • Decommissioned, 14 October 1865, at New York
  • Sold at public auction at New York, 25 October 1865, and redocumented in merchant service 9 November 1865. She was converted to a brigantine 16 June 1879
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
    Displacement 1,000 t.
    Length 183' 6"
    Beam 30' 3"
    Depth of Hold unknown
    Draft 12' 9"
    Speed 11.5 kts
    Complement unknown
    Armament eight 32-pdrs
    Propulsion steam

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    Size Image Description Contributed
    Mercedita 58k Water color of SS Mercedita by Erik Heyl painted for use in his book "Early American Steamers", Volume I.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 63879. Courtesy Krik Heyl.
    Robert Hurst
    Mercedita 86k Watercolor of USS Mercedita at anchor. 1861-65.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 64095-KN (Color). Courtesy Erik Heyl.
    Robert Hurst
    Palmetto State 61k "The Rebel Rams engaging our Blockading Fleet off Charleston, South Carolina, January 31, 1863"
    Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", January-June 1863, page 117, depicting CSS Chicora and CSS Palmetto State attacking USS Mercedita, with USS Keystone State at right
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 59304
    US Naval History and Heritage Command

    USS Mercedita
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)

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    Last Updated 24 March 2017