|USS Calhoun (1851)|
|Laid down:||date unknown|
|Launched:||1851 at New York City|
|Commissioned:||19 March 1862|
|Decommissioned:||6 May 1864|
|Captured:||by Union Navy forces, 23 January 1862|
|Fate:||sold on 4 June 1864 to the Union Army|
|Displacement:||508 long tons (516 t)|
Steam engine |
|Armament:||2 × 32-pounder guns, 1 × 30-pounder rifled gun|
USS Calhoun (1851) was a captured Confederate steamer acquired by the Union Navy from the prize court during the American Civil War. Calhoun was put into service as a gunboat by the Union Navy to patrol navigable waterways of the Confederacy to prevent the South from trading with other countries.
Calhoun was built in 1851 at New York City as Cuba, was commissioned as a privateer by the Confederates on 15 May 1861, and while operating as a Confederate privateer and blockade runner was captured by Colorado off Southwest Pass, Louisiana on 23 January 1862. Commissioned for Federal service under Lieutenant J. E. De-Haven, she joined the West Gulf Blockading Squadron on 19 March 1862.
Civil War service
Assigned to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron
In her service on patrol off the Passes of the Mississippi River, Calhoun established herself as one of the most successful blockading ships, taking part in the capture of 13 ships before 5 May 1862, when she steamed up the Mississippi River for duty in Lake Ponchartrain. Here she continued to add to her score, chasing and capturing a steamer, a gunboat, two schooners, and a sloop. Later in the year, she sought out and captured another sloop in Atchafalaya Bay.
Capture of the Confederate CSS Queen of the West
In early November, Calhoun stood up Berwick Bay and Bayou Teche with two other steamers to engage Confederate shore batteries and the steamer CSS Cotton, barricaded on the Teche. Remaining in the Berwick Bay area on patrol, Calhoun and her consorts climaxed their extremely successful operations on 14 April 1863 when they attacked the cotton-clad steamer CSS Queen of the West. One shot at long range from Calhoun turned the Confederate ship into a torch, and a major threat to Union forces in the area was destroyed. Calhoun continued to add to her distinguished record with her participation in the attack on Fort Butte-a-la-Rose on 20 April, and in August was ordered to base on Ship Island, Mississippi, from which she continued her active and aggressive bombardments of shore positions, and took four more prizes. In the furious assault on Fort Powell the last two weeks of February 1864, Calhoun flew the flag of Admiral David G. Farragut.
Sold to the Union Army in 1864
Turned over to the United States Marshal at New Orleans, Louisiana, on 6 May 1864, Calhoun was sold on 4 June to the Union Army. She served as the Army steamer General Sedgewick for the rest of the Civil War. Sold in 1865, she regained her old name and had a long subsequent career as the SS Calhoun.
- United States Navy
- American Civil War
- Confederate States Navy
- Ships captured in the American Civil War
- Bibliography of American Civil War naval history
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