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USS Matthew Vassar

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

  • Built, date and location unknown
  • Launched, date unknown
  • Purchased by the Navy, 9 September 1861, at New York
  • Fitted out as a mortar schooner at New York Navy Yard
  • Commissioned USS Matthew Vassar, 25 January 1862, Acting Master Hugh H. Savage in command
  • Assigned to the Mortar Flotilla, organized to neutralize Confederate forts guarding the sea approaches to New Orleans
  • She reached the Mississippi River and crossed the bar at Pass a L'Outre 18 March anchoring in the Mississippi Delta
  • In April Matthew Vassar and the rest of the mortar flotilla conducted a 6-day cannonade against Forts St. Philip and Jackson, New Orleans' main protection from attack from the sea
  • On 24 April, COMO. David Farragut's deep draft ships pushed past the forts and to accept the surrender of New Orleans on 26 April
  • Matthew Vassar and the rest of Porter's flotilla retired to Ship Island MS. to prepare for an attack on Mobile
  • on 15 May USS Matthew Vassar and USS Sea Foam captured blockade running sloops Sarah and New Eagle
  • Matthew Vassar ascended the Mississippi to support Farragut's operations in June against Vicksburg
  • Matthew Vassar spent the rest of the war on blockade duty
  • She captured schooner Florida off Little River Inlet, N.C., 11 January 1863
  • On 3 March a boat crew from Matthew Vassar destroyed a large boat at Little River Inlet, proceeding up the the river to destroy salt works, the boat grounded and the crew was captured by Confederate troops
  • On 27 April, boat crews from USS Matthew Vassar and USS Monticello boarded and destroyed British blockade runner Golden Liner in Murrell's Inlet, S.C.
  • Reassigned to the East Gulf Blockading Squadron, 29 November 1864, Matthew Vassar took her last prize of the war, schooner John Hate, off St. Marks, FL., 3 February 1865
  • Decommissioned, 10 July 1865, at Philadelphia, and was sold at auction there 10 August
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
    Displacement 216 t
    Length 93'7"
    Beam 17'2"
    Draft 8'6"
    Depth of Hold unknown
    Speed unknown
    Complement 29
    one 13" mortar
    two 32-pdrs
    Propulsion sail

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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 Matthew Vassar
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 12 May 2017