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USS Whitehall


Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Sidewheel Gunboat:
  • Built in 1850 at Brooklyn N.Y. as a sidewheel ferry
  • Launched, date unknown
  • Purchased by the Union Navy, 10 October 1861, at New York
  • Commissioned USS Whitehall, date unknown, at New York Navy Yard, Acting Master Francis P. Allen in command
  • Whitehall was assigned to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron at Port Royal, S.C.
  • Her unseaworthy condition prevented her completing the voyage south, stopping at Philadelphia and Hampton Roads for emergency repairs
  • The need for blockading vessels was so acute she and USS Shawsheen- towed by USS Connecticut-got underway the 12th to join Flag Officer DuPont but worsening conditions forced them to return to Newport News
  • Ordered north, 13 November 1861 to Baltimore for an extensive overhaul
  • Whitehall was reassigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron in Hampton Roads, 29 November 1861
    On 29 December 1861, Whitehall and eight other steamers engaged CSS Sea Bird in Hampton Roads shortly after the Confederate steamer had captured a water schooner and attacked the Army steamer, Express
    On 2 January 1862, Whitehall got underway for Hatteras Inlet, N.C. but immediately became disabled and returned to Hampton Roads
    Flag Officer Louis M. Goldsborough, commanding the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, called Whitehall "the worst sea boat of all the ferryboats with which I have had to do, and certainly the most unfortunate."
    A survey of the vessel, 22 February 1862, found both her machinery and hull badly deteriorated
    Whitehall saw her final action on 8 and 9 March 1862 against the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia, On 8 March, federal gunboats, including Whitehall, attempted to draw the Rebel vessel away from Union warships anchored off Newport News. Failing this, Whitehall engaged Confederate steamers CSS Patrick Henry and CSS Jamestown, inflicting minor damage
    During the Monitor-Virginia engagement on 9 March 1862, Whitehall and the rest of the Union fleet abstained from direct battle, preferring to fire long-range, ineffective shots at Virginia
    Whitehall suffered three casualties and had parts of her upperworks burned by Confederate shot during the two days of activity.
  • Final Disposition, early on the morning of 10 March 1862 at Old Point Comfort, VA., a flash fire swept and totally destroyed Whitehall. There were no casualties
    Specifications:
    Displacement 326 t.
    Length 126'
    Beam 28'2"
    Depth of Hold unknown
    Draft 8'
    Speed unknown
    Complement unknown
    Armament
    one 32-pdr Parrot rifle
    two 32-pdr smoothbores
    Propulsion steam, two paddlewheels

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