USS Elk (1863)

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USS Elk (1864-1865).jpg
United States
Ordered: as Countess
Laid down: date unknown
Launched: date unknown
Acquired: 8 December 1863
Commissioned: 6 May 1864
Decommissioned: circa May 1865
Struck: 1865 (est.)
Fate: sold, 24 August 1865
General characteristics
Displacement: 162 tons
Length: 156 ft (48 m)
Beam: 29 ft (8.8 m)
Depth of hold: 3 ft 10 in (1.17 m)
Speed: not known
Complement: 65
  • two 32-pounder guns
  • four 24-pounder smoothbore guns

USS Elk (1863) was a steamer acquired by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was used by the Union Navy as a convoy and patrol vessel on Confederate waterways.

Acquisition and name change to Elk[edit]

Elk, a side wheel steamer, was purchased by Admiral David Dixon Porter 8 December 1863 as Countess. She was renamed Elk 26 January 1864, and commissioned 6 May 1864, Lieutenant Commander J. H. Gillis in command.

Assigned to the West Gulf Blockade[edit]

Assigned to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, Elk operated in the waters off New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mobile, Alabama, and in the lower Mississippi River. She was constantly on the move and frequently traded fire with Confederate forces, exchanging shots with batteries off Dog River 11 March 1865, and shelling enemy pickets at Cedar Point, Florida, on 18 and 19 March. She also captured two vessels while on patrol and sent them into New Orleans for condemnation.

Fighting fires ashore during an emergency in Mobile, Alabama[edit]

When the magazine and ordnance stores in Mobile blew up 25 May 1865 setting fire to cotton and cotton presses and causing a general conflagration, men from Elk's crew went ashore to fight fires.

After the war, Elk was laid up at New Orleans, and was sold there 24 August 1865.