USS Marmora (1862)
|Namesake:||Variant spelling of Marmara, an island in the Sea of Marmara|
|Acquired:||17 September 1862|
|Commissioned:||21 October 1862|
|Decommissioned:||7 July 1865|
|Fate:||Sold, 17 August 1865|
|Displacement:||207 long tons (210 t)|
|Length:||155 ft (47 m)|
|Beam:||33 ft 5 in (10.19 m)|
|Draft:||4 ft 6 in (1.37 m)|
|Speed:||6.9 knots (12.8 km/h; 7.9 mph)|
Marmora was built at Monongahela, Pennsylvania, in 1862, was purchased by the Navy at St. Louis, Missouri, on 17 September 1862 from Messrs. Brenan, Nelson, and McDonnell; and commissioned at Carondelet, Missouri, on 21 October 1862, Captain Robert Getty in command.
Early the next morning she stood downriver to join the Mississippi Squadron in operations against the Confederate river stronghold at Vicksburg, Mississippi. Marmora's first action occurred when she attacked and destroyed several barges at Lake Providence, captured two skiffs and demolished a flatboat further down stream. On 29 November Marmora discovered heavy enemy fortifications 20 miles from the mouth of the Yazoo River; taking special care to avoid any encounter with them until in company with the fleet.
On 5 December, Marmora helped to refloat the ram Queen of the West, aground on Paw Paw Island. On 11 December she ran 20 miles up the Yazoo River and discovered several suspicious looking objects floating on the river. When she fired into one of them, a tremendous explosion occurred which shook the ship from stem to stern, though at a distance of 50 feet or more. She carefully avoided the others and left final destruction of the remaining mines to riflemen ashore.
The next day, Marmora led Signal, Cairo, and Pittsburg up the Yazoo until the Union ships sighted several torpedoes. Cairo commenced shelling the right bank and sent out a boat to investigate the nearest torpedo. As the boat towed the torpedo alongside, another exploded under Cairo, ripping the bottom entirely out. As she rapidly sank, Marmora and the other Union ships sent boats to the rescue and saved everyone.
Marmora and her sister ships continued to remove torpedoes and to cooperate with the Army during probing actions seeking to find a weakness in Vicksburg's defenses. On 27 December the squadron heatedly engaged Confederate batteries at Drumgould's Bluff. That day, Admiral David Dixon Porter reported the Yazoo clear of torpedoes within one-half mile of the southern guns.
The next day, his gunboats' mobile fire kept Confederate troops off balance while General Forrest Sherman's troops landed to attempt to capture strong southern works at Chickasaw Bluff, a vantage point upstream from Vicksburg. Two days later, despite excellent support from naval guns. Sherman's troops, hindered by heavy rains and opposed by strongly reinforced Confederate units, withdrew.
Battle of Fort Hindman
Marmora participated in the attack on Fort Hindman, Arkansas, 4 to 11 January 1863, when it was taken; the post was 80 miles above the mouth of the Arkansas River and was consequently important in Union efforts to control the flow of supplies from the west across the Mississippi River at Vicksburg and to southern armies in the east.
Yazoo River operations
In February 1863, Marmora joined four other ships in preparations for the Yazoo River Expedition, departing Helena on 27 March. The joint Army-Navy Expedition captured CSS Fairplay and destroyed newly constructed Confederate batteries 20 miles up the Yazoo.
For the next few months, Marmora concentrated on patrol duty and supply runs. Guerrilla activities caused Marmora to stop at Gaines' Landing on 13 through 15 June to burn houses. Steaming up the White and Little Red Rivers on 8 August, the ships sought information on the location of General Sterling Price's army, the ships found St. Charles, Arkansas, deserted as Union forces had taken it on 16 June and had control of White River. Cavalry from the ships did encounter Confederate resistance on landing at Devall's Bluff on 17 August. In November Marmora worked at the mouth of the Yazoo to prevent Confederate blockade of the river.
Although Union forces had taken Yazoo City, their position was not secure. Confederates attacked the city en masse on 8 March 1864, causing Marmora and other rams to steam to the rescue. Marmora remained off this point with the other ships for several months, as Union forces mounted the campaign in Red River. Three of her sailors were awarded the Medal of Honor for going ashore with a howitzer and assisting in the fight at Yazoo City on 5 March. These men were Seaman William J. Franks, Seaman Bartlett Laffey, and Seaman James Stoddard.
Marmora next returned to Mound City and was placed in reserve while still in commission. After fighting stopped, she decommissioned on 7 July 1865 and was sold at Mound City, Illinois to D. D. Barr on 17 August 1865.
- "Civil War Medal of Honor Recipients (A–L)". Medal of Honor Citations. United States Army Center of Military History. 3 December 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
- "Civil War Medal of Honor Recipients (M–Z)". Medal of Honor Citations. United States Army Center of Military History. 3 December 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- Photo gallery at Naval Historical Center