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USS Pembina (1861)
USS Pembina under construction
USS Pembina under construction at the shipyard of Thomas Stack, 1861
Career (US) Union Navy Jack
Name: USS Pembina
Builder: Thomas Stack (Williamsburg, NY)
Laid down: not known
Launched: not known
Commissioned: 16 October 1861
Decommissioned: 22 September 1865
Struck: 1865 (est.)
Fate: sold, 30 November 1865
General characteristics
Class & type: Unadilla-class gunboat
Displacement: 691 tons
Tons burthen: 507
Length: 158 ft (48 m) (waterline)
Beam: 28 ft (8.5 m)
Draft: 9 ft 6 in (2.90 m) (max.)
Depth of hold: 12 ft (3.7 m)
Propulsion: 2 × 200 IHP 30-in bore by 18 in stroke horizontal back-acting engines; single screw
Sail plan: Two-masted schooner
Speed: 10 kn (11.5 mph)
Complement: 114
Armament: Original:
1 × 11-in Dahlgren smoothbore
2 × 24-pdr smoothbore
2 × 20-pdr Parrott rifle

USS Pembina was a Unadilla-class gunboat built for the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was used by the Navy to patrol navigable waterways of the Confederacy to prevent the South from trading with other countries.

Constructed in New York City in 1861

Pembina, a screw gunboat built by Thomas Stack and Novelty Iron Works, New York City, was commissioned 16 October 1861, Lt. John P. Bankhead in command.

Operating with the South Atlantic Blockade

By 5 November she had joined the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron and with Ottawa, Seneca, and Pawnee engaged and dispersed a small Confederate Squadron in Port Royal Sound, then fired on Fort Beauregard and Fort Walker. Returning with a larger force on the 7th, she fired on Fort Walker until it was abandoned. Then, on the 9th she covered the occupation of Beaufort, South Carolina.

In early December she penetrated into Wassaw Sound to assist in closing off Savannah, Georgia. By the end of the month she had engaged Confederate positions at Port Royal Ferry and into January 1862 assisted in clearing the Coosaw River. Between 17 January and 18 February she operated in the Wright’s and Mud rivers area, clearing mines from the Savannah River above the mouth of Wright’s River 13–15 February.

Pembina captures her first prize, the Rowena

Continuing to cruise off the Georgia and northern Florida coasts she escorted transports and covered troops as they assaulted Confederate positions and, on 9 April, as they evacuated Jacksonville, Florida. In May she shifted to the Carolina coast for operations in the Stono River where on 6 June seized her first prize the schooner Rowena.

Later shifted to the U.S. Gulf Coast, she captured a second vessel, sloop Elias Beckwith, near Mobile, Alabama, 23 April 1863.

Remaining on the Gulf Coast she seized her third and last blockade runner, the Dutch brig Geziena Hilligonda, carrying medicines, iron and cloth, off Brazos Santiago, Texas, 4 December 1864. After the war she returned to the U.S. East Coast.

Post-war decommissioning and sale

Decommissioned at the Washington Navy Yard 22 September 1865, she was sold, at New York City, 30 November 1865.

See also


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

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