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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Owasco

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Unadilla-class Screw Gunboat:
  • The wooden hulled screw gunboat Owasco was built by Charles Mallory, Mystic, CT.
  • Launched, 5 October 1861
  • Delivered to the Navy at New York Navy Yard 6 December 1861
  • Commissioned USS Owasco, there 23 January 1862, LT. John Guest in command
  • Owasco departed New York 5 February joining CDR. David D. Porter's Mortar Flotilla at Key West, FL, 15 February
  • The assembled flotilla including Owasco sailed via Ship Island, MS. for Pass a L'Outre
  • Enroute, 16 March, Owasco captured schooners Eugenia and President
  • Owasco was one of seven gunboats assigned to Porter's mortar flotilla established to neutralize forts St. Philip and Jackson which protected New Orleans against attack from the sea
  • Owasco duties including towing the schooners and helping them navigate safely in the tricky currents of the Mississippi
  • Mid-April Owasco and her sisters moved the schooners into position below the forts
  • 18 to 24 April Owasco supported the attack on the Southern positions with flat trajectory fire
  • After Farragut led his deep draft vessels in a historic dash past the Confederate heavy works New Orleans fell
  • When Farragut ascended the Mississippi for the second time, Owasco helped to tow the schooners up river to a position just below Vicksburg from which they bombarded the Confederate cliffside batteries 28 June as Farragut, raced under the Southern guns to join the Western Flotilla above Vicksburg
  • Owasco participated in the bombardment and capture of Galveston 3 October
  • After continuing blockade duty, she participated in the joint Army-Navy capture of Brazos, TX. 3 November 1863
  • She captured English schooner Fanny 19 April 1864, carrying cargo for Confederate General Magruder from Havana
  • She continued to serve along the coast of Texas through the end of the war
  • Decommissioned at New York Navy Yard, 12 July 1865, and was sold at auction at New York 25 October 1865
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
    Displacement 507 t.
    Length 158'
    Beam 28'
    Depth of Hold 12'
    Draft 6' 9"
    Speed 9 kts
    Complement 91
    one 20-pdr Parrott rifle
    one 11" Dalghren smoothbore
    two 24-pdr howitzers
    Propulsion steam

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    Size Image Description Source
    Owaswco 148k Lithograph of USS Owasco published by Shearman & Hart, New York City, 1861. The original lithograph was issued with different titles to represent many, if not all, of the Civil War 90-day gunboats.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 42926. Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, D.C.
    Robert Hurst
    Owaswco 400k Union mortar steamers bombard Fort Jackson at the Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Philip. From left to right the ships are USS Clifton, USS USS Westfield, USS Owasco, and USS Harriet Lane.
    Signed by J. Davidson. Image from p. 74 of the 1887 book Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, by Robert Underwood Johnson and Clarence Brough Buel, being for the most part contributions by Union and Confederate officers, based upon the Century War Series, volume 2. Courtesy of the British Library from its digital collections.
    Robert Hurst
    Harriet Lane 195k Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 1863. USS Harriet Lane is shown in the left distance, under attack by the Confederate gunboats Neptune and Bayou City. The grounded USS Westfield is at right, being blown up to prevent capture. USS Owasco is in the center of the view.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 59141
    Robert Hurst

    USS Owasco
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 3 February 2017