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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

CSS Water Witch
USS Water Witch (III) (1852 - 1864)

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Sidewheel Steamer Gunboat:
  • Built, date unknown, at Washington Navy Yard
  • Launched in 1851
  • Commissioned USS Water Witch in the winter of 1852-53, LT. Thomas Jefferson Page in command
  • From 1853 to 1856 USS Water Witch conducted surveys along the Atlantic coast of South America
  • Decommissioned, 12 May 1856, at Washington Navy Yard for repairs
  • Recommissioned, 17 September 1858, joining Flag Officer W. B. Shubricks' squadron to Paraguay seeking redress for firing on Water Witch and killing a crew member while the ship was surveying the La Plata River in February 1855
  • Water Witch returned to survey work following the expedition to Paraguay
  • Decommissioned, 1 November 1860, at Philadelphia Navy Yard for repairs
  • Recommissioned, 10 April 1861
  • During the Civil War USS Water Witch participated in the following campaigns/actions:
    Joined the Gulf Blockading Squadron at Pensacola, 2 May 1861, as dispatch boat and mail packet
    Summer 1861 found Water Witch at the mouth of the Mississippi River were she conducted reconnaissance missions
    Water Witch was assigned to the East Gulf Blockading Squadron, 20 January 1862, where she again served as dispatch boat and mail packet
    Captured the Confederate blockade runners, Cornucopia, 13 November 1861 and schooner William Mallory, 5 March 1862
    Decommissioned, April to September 1862, for repairs
    Recommissioned, 6 September 1862, joining the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron at Port Royal, S.C., 18 September
    Participated in the taking of Confederate positions on the St John's River in October
    USS Water Witch was boarded and captured by Confederate forces in Ossabaw Sound, 3 June 1864
    Taken into the Confederate Navy, name retained, LT. W.W. Games CSN in command
  • Final Disposition, burned at White Bluff, GA., 19 December 1864, by the Confederates to prevent capture by Union forces
    Displacement 378 t.
    Length 150'
    Beam 23'
    Draft 9'
    Depth 11' 6"
    Speed 11.5 kts
    Complement 55-64
    As built
    one 32-pdr
    four 32-pdr smoothbores
    one 24-pdr howitzer
    one 30-pdr muzzle loading rifle
    one 12-pdr muzzle loading rifle
    two 12-pdr smoothbores
    one inclined condensing engine (37 1/2" x 6') 180hp
    two boilers
    two sidewheels

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    Size Image Description Contributed
    Sabine (I) 358k Ships of The Paraguay Squadron under way. Ships are from left to right:
    USS Water Witch next the flag-ship
    USS Sabine; next to
    USS Fulton; behind Fulton is
    USS Western Port (later USS Wyandotte); next is
    USS Harriet Lane; behind Harriet Lane is
    USS Supply; and next the bow of
    USS Memphis.
    Artist unknown. Image from Harper's Weekly, New York, 16 October 1858.
    Robert Hurst
    Water Witch 339k Drawing of USS Water Witch under way.
    US Library of Congress photo.
    Bill Gonyo
    Water Witch 285k Drawing of USS Water Witch under way.
    Courtesy the National Civil War Museum.
    Bill Gonyo
    Water Witch 485k Sketch of USS Water Witch by Alfred Rudolph Waud, Inscribed "Gift, J.P. Morgan, 1919." Tommy Trampp
    Water Witch 343k Illustration of USS Water Witch by an unknown artist.
    From the book "La Plata, the Argentine Confederation, and Paraguay", by Thomas Jefferson Page. A part of AppleWood's Military History Series.
    Robert Hurst
    Water Witch 97k Civil War collectors card with wash drawing of USS Water Witch underway, date and location unknown. Tommy Trampp
    Water Witch 25k Wash drawing of USS Water Witch underway.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 60353.
    Tommy Trampp
    Water Witch 251k USS Water Witch at anchor, date and location unknown.
    Photo courtesy of the Peabody Museum of Salem. Photo from "Warships of the Civil War Navies" by Paul H. Silverstone.
    Robert Hurst
    Water Witch 101k Historic marker recording the capture of USS Water Witch by Confederate forces, 19 December 1864. The marker is located on Dancey Ave 0.1 mile from Davidson Ave, Savannah, GA. Undated photo taken by David Seibert. Robert Hurst
    Water Witch 59k Replica of USS Water Witch completed in 2009, sits outside the National Civil War Naval Museum. Photo courtesy of National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus, GA. Tommy Trampp
    Water Witch 63k USS Water Witch reenactment crew during the replicas commissioning in 2009. Photo courtesy of National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus, GA. Tommy Trampp

    USS Water Witch III
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 1 December 2017