USS Tritonia (1863)

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History
United States
Ordered: as Sarah S. B. Gary
Laid down: date unknown
Launched: 1863
Acquired: 1 December 1863
Commissioned: 23 April 1864
Decommissioned: circa October 1866
Struck: 1866 (est.)
Homeport: New Orleans, Louisiana
Fate: sold, 5 October 1866
General characteristics
Displacement: 202 tons
Length: 178'
Beam: 22' 4"
Draught: not known
Propulsion:
Speed: not known
Complement: not known
Armament:
  • one heavy 12-pounder gun
  • one light 12-pounder gun

USS Tritonia (1863) was a 202-ton steamer commissioned by the Union Navy during the American Civil War.

She served the Union Navy’s struggle against the Confederate States of America in a variety of ways: as a tugboat, a patrol gunboat, a dispatch boat, a salvage ship, a minesweeper, and as a small (202 ton) transport.

Steamer constructed in Connecticut in 1863[edit]

Tritonia—a side-wheel steamer built as Sarah S. B. Gary in 1863 at East Haddam, Connecticut—was purchased by the Navy at Hartford, Connecticut, on 1 December 1863; and commissioned at the New York Navy Yard on 23 April 1864, Lt. Roswell H. Lamson in command.

Civil War operations[edit]

Clearing mines and debris in Virginia’s James River[edit]

With USS Stepping Stones and USS Delaware, Tritonia served in a special torpedo and picket division established in the James River, Virginia, on 12 May 1864. The division patrolled the river to keep it clear of Confederate vessels, torpedoes (mines), and fire rafts.

Assigned to the West Gulf blockade[edit]

On 26 July, Tritonia left the division for duty with the West Gulf Blockading Squadron. She arrived in Mississippi Sound on 5 August, the day of Admiral David Farragut's victory in Mobile Bay, and spent the remainder of the month operating as a dispatch vessel between New Orleans, Louisiana, and that historic body of water.

Destroying valuable salt works[edit]

On 8 and 9 September, boat crews from Tritonia, USS Rodolph, USS Stockdale, and Army transport USS Planter destroyed several large Confederate salt works at Salt House Point in Bon Secours Bay, Alabama.[1]

As they returned to Mobile Bay on 11 September, the vessels were fired upon but suffered no casualties.

Continued blockade duty along the Gulf[edit]

Tritonia resumed blockade duty, towing the captured schooner Medora to New Orleans, Louisiana, on 15 December for adjudication. She then operated in Mobile Bay until the end of the war and later at Pensacola, Florida, and New Orleans, Louisiana.

Post-war services with U.S. Army troops[edit]

On 29 January 1866, Tritonia carried a company of U.S. Army troops up the Tombigbee River and recaptured the steamer Belfast which had been seized by guerrillas and taken up that stream. The joint expedition also recovered the steamer's cargo of cotton and captured five guerrillas as well.

Decommissioning, sale and subsequent maritime career[edit]

Tritonia was sold at public auction at New York City on 5 October 1866; redocumented as Belle Brown on 19 November; and lost at sea in 1880.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Vicinity of Salt Works and Camp Anderson: "Salt Is Eminently Contraband"". Historical Marker Database. Retrieved 24 September 2015. 

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