|USS Antelope (1861)|
|Ordered:||as Lavinia Logan|
|Laid down:||date unknown|
|Out of service:||1864|
steam engine; |
stern paddle wheel
|Armament:||two 30-pounder (rifled barrel) guns, and four 24-pounder (smooth bore) guns|
Supporting Union Army efforts along the Mississippi
During the first years of the Civil War, the Federal War Department used Lavinia Logan—a chartered stern-wheel steamer built in 1861 at Parkersburg, Virginia (now West Virginia) -- to support operations of the Union Army along the streams of the Mississippi River drainage system, especially Major General Ulysses S. Grant's efforts to capture Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Following the fall of that Confederate river fortress in the summer of 1863, Lavinia Logan seems to have returned to private hands for a time. In any case, the Union Navy acquired the vessel at Louisville, Kentucky, in the spring of 1864; and, on 26 May of that year, Rear Admiral David D. Porter wrote to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles reporting the purchase and recommending that her name be changed to Antelope. Apparently, he had acquired the ship to meet Rear Admiral Farragut's need for light-draft gunboats and had her hull covered with iron plates by naval shipfitters at Mound City, Illinois.
Participating in the West Gulf Blockading Squadron
Antelope first appears on the list of vessels composing the West Gulf Blockading Squadron on 15 August 1864 with the notation that she was then at New Orleans, Louisiana.
Antelope floods while pumps try to keep up
On 31 August 1864, the paperwork on her purchase was finally completed. By 4 September, the tinclad—commanded by Acting Master John Ross—was at Pass a l’Outre where she had relieved the sidewheeler Meteor. While she was there, she began taking on considerable water; and her leaks steadily increased. An inspection of the inside of her hull revealed that ". . . the leak was not confined to any one place, but extended to all parts of the bottom sides." After she had been on station for a full week, Ross reported ". . . the condition of the vessel and that I was obliged to keep up 60 pounds of steam to work the steam pumps, as we could not keep her free by the hand pumps."
The ship was relieved as soon as possible and ordered back to New Orleans, Louisiana, for repairs. On the evening of 22 September, during her trip upriver, Antelope came upon Suffolk—abandoned and in a sinking condition—and towed that Army transport to shoal water where she would be safe on the flats. Antelope then resumed her ascent of the river.
Antelope beaches herself to prevent her total loss
About 4:30 a.m., upon learning that his ship was sinking, Ross ". . . ordered the helm hard aport, to beach her . . . ."While filling rapidly, Antelope grounded enabling her crew to save her ordnance and equipment. No record of efforts to salvage the ship has been found.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
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