Please report any broken links or trouble you might come across to the Webmaster. Please take a moment to let us know so that we can correct any problems and make your visit as enjoyable and as informative as possible.

NavSource Online:
Gunboat Photo Archive


Sassacus Class Sidewheel Gunboat:

  • The first Mendota was laid down by F. Z. Tucker, Brooklyn, NY
  • Launched 13 January 1863
  • Commissioned USS Mendota 2 May 1864
  • Decommissioned 12 May 1865
  • Sold 7 December 1867
  • Fate unknown.


  • Displacement 1,074 t.
  • Length 205'
  • Beam 35'
  • Draft 8'
  • Speed 11 kts.
  • Armament: Two 100-pounders, four 9" smoothbore, two 24-pounders, and two 20-pounders
  • Propulsion: Steam, side-wheeler.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Mendota 133k Original photo caption:

    Our fine frigates of the War of 1812 were armed with carronades and long guns. Gunnery became more scientific in the years preceding the Civil War, and Dahlgren and Rodman smooth bores and Parrott rifled guns were the chief dependence of the Navy. The picture is an actual photograph of a Civil War gun crew on the Mendota, a steamer of 974 tons, mounting two 100-pounders, two 20-pounders, four 9-inch guns, and two 24-pounders
    U.S. Navy photo courtesy Office of Naval Records and Library

    Replacement photo: Enlisted personnel are bringing the Parrott gun into position on board the "Mendota." The gun crew are wearing Navy colts and cutlasses at their sides to repel boarders; do hand to hand fighting on a shore excursions, or to capture a Rebel ship if necessary. The lone Marine is wearing a “Kepi” at the rear of the gun
    National Archives photo
    Original photo: Darryl Baker
    Replacement photo: Bill Gonyo
    Mendota 393k James River at Deep Bottom, Virginia
    Library of Congress photo
    Bill Gonyo
    Mendota 270k Stereoscopic image of the Officers of gunboat Mendota
    Photo by Matthew Brady
    National Archives Identifier 111-B-601
    Dave Tooley
    Mendota 146k Photo from "Civil War Sea Battles - Shipwrecks in he War Between the States" by Edward Stokes Miller Tommy Trampp
    Photo added 3 November 2020
    Mendota 382k Ship's officers and crew on the foredeck, 1864-65
    Photographed by Matthew Brady
    U.S. Navy photo NH 59439
    Naval History and Heritage Command
    Mendota 169k Ship's officers and crew on the foredeck of USS Mendota, 1864-65
    Photographed by Matthew Brady
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 59439
    Robert Hurst
    Mendota 113k Original photo: James River, c. 1864
    Replacement photo: Photo by Matthew Brady, 1 January 1864
    National Archives photo ARC 524597
    Original photo: National Archives
    Replacement photo: Robert Hurst
    Mendota 158k 10 July 1864
    Courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographic Division
    Bill Gonyo
    Mendota 42k Gunboat Mendota on James River, 1 August 1864
    Matthew Brady Collection
    DVIC Photo HD-SN-99-01854
    Defense Visual Information Center
    Mendota 186k c. 1864
    James River, VA
    Library of Congress photo
    Bill Gonyo
    Mendota 235k Acting Ensign Winslow B. Barnes received his commission on 8 March 1864. He served his enlistment aboard the gunboat USS Mendota for the remainder of the war until he resignation was approved. He separated from the U.S. Navy on 26 April 1865. His only command was the schooner William H. Dennis loaded with 800 tons of coal to sail a resupply from the James River to Beaufort, S.C. with a crew of eleven men led by CDR Edward T. Nichols. This is the only mention of Barnes in the “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships: Mendota, a sidewheel gunboat, was launched 13 January 1863 by F. Z. Tucker, Brooklyn, N.Y.; acquired by the Navy 1 February 1864; and commissioned 2 May 1864, Comdr. E. T. Nichols in command.

    From the day of her commissioning in 1864, Mendota was assigned to the James River (Va.) Division, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. The first 10 months she served as a picket ship near Four Mile Creek. Her guns were used to prevent the establishment of Confederate batteries or entrenchments which would threaten river communications or imperil a small Union Army base camp. Action on 28 July was particularly intense. During her last 2 months of service she directed ship movements at Hampton Roads and also at the mouth of the Delaware River.

    After the war Mendota decommissioned 12 May 1865 and was laid up at League Island, Philadelphia, until sold 7 December 1867.

    Back To The Main Photo Index Back To the Patrol Craft/Gunboat/Submarine Chaser Ship Index Back To The Gunboat Photo Index

    Comments, Suggestions, E-mail Webmaster

    This page created and maintained by Joseph M. Radigan
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History