USS Calhoun (1851)

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USS Calhoun
USS Calhoun
United States
Name: USS Calhoun
Ordered: as Cuba
Laid down: date unknown
Launched: 1851 at New York City
Commissioned: March 19, 1862
Decommissioned: May 6, 1864
Struck: 1864 (est.)
Captured: by Union Navy forces, January 23, 1862
Fate: sold on June 4, 1864 to the Union Army
General characteristics
Type: Gunboat
Displacement: 508 long tons (516 t)
Length: Unknown
Beam: Unknown
Draft: Unknown
Speed: Unknown
Complement: Unknown
Armament: 2 × 32-pounder guns, 1 × 30-pounder rifled gun

USS Calhoun (1851) was a captured Confederate steamer and blockade runner 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.

Captured by the Union and commissioned as a Union Navy vessel[edit]

Calhoun was built in 1851 at New York City as Cuba, was commissioned as a privateer by the Confederates on May 15, 1861, and while operating as a Confederate privateer and blockade runner was captured by Colorado off Southwest Pass, Louisiana on January 23, 1862. Commissioned for Federal service under Lieutenant J. E. De-Haven, she joined the West Gulf Blockading Squadron on March 19, 1862.

Civil War service[edit]

Assigned to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron[edit]

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 May 5, 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[edit]

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 April 14, 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 April 20, 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[edit]

Turned over to the United States Marshal at New Orleans, Louisiana, on May 6, 1864, Calhoun was sold on June 4 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.

See also[edit]


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entries can be found Confederate service here and Union service here.

External links[edit]