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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Shawsheen


Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Sidewheel Tug:
  • Built in 1855 at New York City
  • Launched, date unknown
  • Purchased by the US Navy at New York as Young America, 21 September 1861
  • Commissioned USS Shawsheen, date unknown, Acting Lieutenant Edmund R. Colhoun was apparently placed in command
  • Assigned to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Shawsheen arrived in Hampton Roads early in November damaged and unable to proceed further south under her own power
  • The need for blockading vessels was so acute she and USS Whitehall- towed by USS Connecticut-got underway the 12th to join Flag Officer DuPont but worsening conditions forced them to return to Newport News
  • The tactical situation in the Hampton Roads area required Shawsheen to forego repairs in a northern shipyard, thus the tug remained at Newport News helping to guard USS Congress and USS Cumberland
    On 23 November Shawsheen and USS John L. Lockwood bombarded a Confederate camp above Newport News on the Yorktown Road
    On 2 December Shawsheen engaged the Confederate steamer, CSS Patrick Henry as she attacked the Union warships in Hampton Roads
  • Shawsheen joined the task force at Hatteras Inlet, N.C., 2 January 1862
    Participated, 7 February, in the bombardment and conquest of Roanoke Island
    On 10 February joined other Union naval forces in engaging Southern batteries and a Confederate naval force near Elizabeth City, N.C. destroying the fort and and capturing CSS Ellis, sank CSS Seabird
    On 18 May 1862, Shawsheen and USS Hunchback captured schooner, G. H. Smoot, in Potecase Creek, N.C.
    On 9 July, joined Commodore Perry and USS Ceres in an expedition up the Roanoke River to Hamilton, N.C. to land their troops at Hamilton where steamer, Wilson, was captured
    On 12 December, Shawsheen and three other Union ships began an expedition up the Nuese River to support an Army thrust up that stream to destroy railroad bridges and track near Goldsboro, N.C., but low water prevented their getting more than 15 miles up stream and they returned four days later.
    On the night of 13 and 14 March 1863, Shawsheen, with Hunchback, Hetzel, and Ceres, beat off a surprise attack on Fort Anderson on the Nuese River
    On 26 May, Shawsheen joined Ceres and USS Brinker in an expedition up the Nuese during which they captured a number of small schooners and boats and covered the landing of Union troops
    Captured schooner Henry Clay, 22 June in Bay River up Spring Creek
    On 20 July Shawsheen took five schooners; Sally, Helen Jane, Elizabeth, Dolphin, and James Brice near Cedar Island, in the Nuese River
    On 29 July she captured schooner, Telegraph, in Rose Bay, N.C.
  • Ordered to Hampton Roads, 3 September for overhaul at the Norfolk Navy Yard and at Baltimore
  • After overhaul Shawsheen was assigned Newport News, operating on the James and York rivers and their tributaries supporting ground operations
    On 1 May 1864, she and General Putnam operated in the Pamunkey River protecting Union troops occupying West Point, VA.
    On 7 May Shawsheen was ordered to drag the James River above Chaffin's Bluff
  • Final Disposition, while anchored near Turkey Bend, Confederate forces surprised and undisabled the ship, she was set on fire and destroyed by and explosion after the crew rowed ashore
    Specifications:
    Displacement 180 t.
    Length 118'
    Beam 22'6"
    Depth of Hold 7'3"
    Draft unknown
    Speed unknown
    Complement 40
    Armament
    two 20-pdr Parrot rifles
    Propulsion steam, two paddlewheels

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    Size Image Description Source
    Hetzel 154k "The Battle at New Bern -- Repulse of the Rebels, March 14, 1863."
    Line engraving, published in "Harper's Weekly", 11 April 1863, depicting the action at Fort Anderson, Neuse River, North Carolina. U.S. Navy gunboats USS Hunchback, USS Hetzel, USS Ceres> and USS Shawsheen are firing from the river at Confederate forces, as Union artillery and infantry move into position on the near shore.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 95121
    Robert Hurst

    USS Shawsheen
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 7 January 2017