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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS John Griffith

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

  • Built as the wooden schooner John Griffith, date and location unknown
  • Launched, date unknown
  • Purchased by the Navy,16 September 1861, at New York from B. P. Woolsey
  • Commissioned, 20 January 1862, at New York Navy Yard, LT. K. Randolph Breese in command
  • John Griffith joined CDR. David Porter's Mortar Flotilla at Key West, FL.
  • The schooner sailed with the rest of the flotilla from Key West 3 March and on 11 March anchored at Ship Island, MS.
  • A week later John Griffith was towed across the bar at Pass a l'Outre with Porter's other mortar schooners
  • The mortar boats moved into position 18 April and opened fire on Forts Jackson and St. Philip, John Griffith, was placed along the western bank of the river just below the lower limit of Fort Jackson's fire
  • John Griffith pressed the attack leading the ships of her division on 4 days of the week long bombardment
  • Porter's flotilla retired down the Mississippi via Ship Island to Pensacola, FL.
  • John Griffith 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 fortified city to meet Flag Officer Davis' Western Flotilla
  • John Griffith continued to serve the West Gulf Blockading Squadron until ordered north 18 May 1864
  • Decommissioned for repairs 1 June
  • Re-commissioned 23 August 1864
  • On 24 August,the schooner received orders to sail to Port Royal for service in the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron
  • John Griffith arrived at Port Royal on 8 September and served on blockade duty at the mouth of the Altamaha and Savannah Rivers, GA.
  • On 17 September, John Griffith and USS Sonoma shelled Fort Beaulieu, the Confederate fortress defending the mouths of the Vernon and Burnside Rivers, until the defenders evacuated 21 December
  • The schooner remained on blockade duty until after the end of the war
  • Decommissioned, 21 August 1865, and sold at public auction at Boston Navy Yard to C. Foster 8 September 1865
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
    Displacement 240 t
    Length 113'9"
    Beam unknown
    Draft unknown
    Depth of Hold 8'4"
    Speed unknown
    Complement 39
    one 13" mortar
    two 32-pdrs
    two 12-pdr howitzers

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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 John Griffith
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 12 May 2017