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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive
USS Satellite (I)
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons
Civil War Medal
Built as a wooden, side-wheel tug in 1854 at New York City
Launched, date unknown
Purchased by the Union Navy at New York, 24 July 1861
Commissioned, USS Satellite, 12 September 1861, at the New York Navy Yard, Acting Master Joseph Spinney in command
Satellite was initially assigned to the Potomac squadron, reaching the Washington Navy Yard, 16 September
The steamer would serve almost two years in the rivers of Tidewater VA. and the Chesapeake Bay
25 September, fired upon by a Confederate battery at Freestone Point, suffered no casualties or damage
18 October, bombarded Confederate positions at Shipping Point, VA.
17 November, Satellite shelled positions below Boyd's Hole
22 December, the steamer silenced the Confederate battery at Boyd's Hole
15 February, provided assistance to USS Harriet Lane after a shell exploded in Harriet Lane's paddle box, disabling her as she passed Shipping Point
20 April, Satellite and USS Island Belle captured sloop, Reindeer, and schooners,
Sarah Ann and Sabine, off Tappahannock
9 June, Satellite was ordered to join Union naval forces on the James River in support of McClellan's drive toward the Confederate capital
Soon after reaching Hampton Roads, she was ordered to protect a submarine, which, it was hoped, would be able to destroy the railroad bridge across the Appomattox River
at Petersburg, and to clear the obstructions from the channel of the James below Drewry's Bluff
Satellite accompanied Alligator up the river but the mission was aborted for tactical
reasons fearing Confederate capture of the vessel
During McClellan's retreat on the Peninsula to Harrison's Landing, Satellite and USS Delaware ascended the Chickahominy
River to strengthen his right flank
27 July, boats from Satellite and USS Yankee ascended Chippoak Creek and captured schooner, J. W. Sturges, and
a schooner-rigged lighter
In mid-August, Satellite, USS Galena and USS Port Royal covered the
retirement as McClellan's rear guard across the Chickahominy toward Fort Monroe
End of August Satellite was transferred to the Potomac to help protect the threatened Federal capital and its line of communications by water
The steamer operated primarily in the Rappahannock River in support of Union army operations
From 12 through 14 May, Satellite participated in an expedition which captured schooners, Sarah Lavinia and Ladies Delight,
21 May, Satellite joined USS Currituck and USS Anacostia in seizing schooner,
Emily, at the mouth of the Rappahannock
A week later, she captured schooners, Sarah and Arctic, up the eastern branch of the Great Wicomico River
Satellite's last score came on 17 August when she captured schooner, Two Brothers, near the Great Wicomico
Captured along with USS Reliance the night of 22 and 23 August 1863, off Windmill Point on the Rappahannock
25 August, Satellite, now in Confederate hands, returned to the mouth of the Rappahannock seizing schooners, Golden Rod, Coquette and Two Brothers
Final Disposition, taken to Port Royal VA., Satellite and Reliance were stripped of useful parts and destroyed on 28 August to prevent recapture.
Displacement 217 t.
Depth of Hold 8'6"
two 8" guns
Propulsion steam, two paddlewheels
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||A Civil War line engravings from Frank Leslie's Illustrated, 1861. The upper engraving depicts the U.S. Potomac Flotilla in the Potomac
between Freestone Point, VA., and Indian Head, MD., to prevent the passage of Confederates from Virginia to Maryland. Features seen include (from left to right):
USS Jacob Bell;
Indian Head, Maryland;
Confederate battery at Freestone Point; and the mouth of the Occoquan River.
The lower engraving depicts a scene in Falls Village, Virginia, which was occupied by Federal troops. It shows Taylor's Tavern and the northern extremity of the town.
US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH NH 59240
||Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", July-December 1861 depicting former civilian tugs
William G. Putnam and Satellite being prepared for Naval service at New York City, circa July-September 1861.
US Navy History and Heritage Command photo # NH 59379
|US Navy History and Heritage Command
USS Satellite (I)
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
Last Updated 17 March 2017
This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo|