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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Racer

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

  • Built as the wood schooner Racer, date and location unknown
  • Launched, date unknown
  • Purchased by the Navy, 29 August 1861, at New York City
  • Commissioned USS Racer, 21 January 1862, at New York Navy Yard, Acting Master Alvin Phinney in command
  • Initially armed for blockade service she was reconfigured to for service with CDR. David D. Porter's mortar flotilla
  • Towed by tugs Burlech and T. Carey, schooners USS Racer, USS C. P. Williams and USS John Griffith departed New York, 23 January 1862, reaching Ship Island, MS., 13 March
  • On 18 March Racer with the rest of Porter's mortar flotilla entered the Mississippi River over the bar at Pass a l'Outre
  • Racer participated in the successful attacks of Forts Jackson and St. Philip allowing Farragut's ships to pass the forts leaving New Orleans unprotected from the sea
  • Porter's flotilla retired down the Mississippi via Ship Island to Pensacola, FL.
  • Racer and the rest of the flotilla soon returned to the Mississippi to support Farragut's expedition up the Mississippi at Vicksburg
  • On 20 June, the schooners began shelling Confederate batteries as Farragut raced past the fortress to meet Flag Officer Davis' Western Flotilla
  • On 9 July, Porter received orders sending a dozen schooners including Racer north
  • Racer joined the Potomac Flotilla in September 1862 and operated on the Potomac and the Rappahannock rivers
  • She joined USS Jacob Bell and USS Resolute on 18 July 1863 driving off Confederate troops attacking ship George Peabody, aground at Mathias Point, VA.
  • Shortly thereafter, Racer was transferred to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron and participated in operations against Charleston
  • Decommissioned, 2 September 1865, at New York, and sold at auction, 27 September 1865, to a Mr. White
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
    Displacement 252 t
    Length 105'
    Beam 28'10"
    Draft 9'10"
    Depth of Hold 9'6"
    Speed unknown
    Complement 36
    one 13" mortar
    two 32-pdrs

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    Size Image Description Contributed
    Westfield 103k "Commander Porter's Mortar Flotilla".
    Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 1862, depicting the mortar schooner flotilla commanded by David Dixon Porter during the April 1862 attack on the forts below New Orleans.
    Vessels shown are (from left to right):
    USS Westfield,
    USS Adolph Hugel,
    USS Para,
    USS William Bacon,
    USS Oliver H. Lee,
    USS C.P. Williams,
    USS Henry Janes,
    USS George Mangham,
    USS Racer,
    USS Horace Beals,
    USS Sarah Bruen,
    USS Samuel Rotan,
    USS John Griffith,
    USS Rachel Seaman,
    USS Maria J. Carlton,
    USS Sidney C. Jones,
    USS T.A. Ward,
    USS Sea Foam,
    USS Maria A. Wood,
    USS Octorara (Porter's flagship) and
    USS Matthew Vassar.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 59061
    Robert Hurst

    USS Racer
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 12 May 2017