USS Banshee

   

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in Union Navy

Editor’s Note: Do you have information on this ship’s role at the Siege of Petersburg?  Please contact us using the Contact button in the menu at the top of the screen.  We are happy to exchange information with other researchers.

Ship Information (from DANFS)1,2:

Name: USS Banshee Type: Sidewheel Steamer Tonnage: 533
Length: 220’ Beam: 20’ 4” Draught: 10’, Nov. 25, 1864: 7’6”; Loaded, Forward: 7 ½’; Aft, 8 ½’; Light, Forward: 6’; aft: 6 ½‘
Speed: Max under steam: 15 knots; in a seaway: 12 knots Complement: Not listed. Class: N/A (one of a kind)
Armament: June 30, December 31, 1864, and March 3, 1865: 1 30-pdr. Parrot rifle; 2 heavy 12-lbrs. S. B.
Namesake: Banshee is a female spirt of Irish and Scottish folklore.

Images:

SOPO Editor’s Note: The image below is THE reason the Banshee is currently included in my list of ships which were involved in the Siege of Petersburg. Mike Willegal has a great web site with his interests, one of which is modeling City Point, Virginia on a specific date, December 4, 1864. On that page, he seems to have discovered the USS Banshee in the James River near City Point in a Library of Congress image (LC-USZ62-102109) image.  Andy Hall, owner of the always excellent Dead Confederates web site and Civil War Navy expert, compared Mike’s image with a painting of the Banshee by Samuel Walters (also reproduced below) side by side, and it seems clear these ships are one and the same. Note especially the smokestacks angled slightly aft and the distinctive wheelhouse.  See this Civil War Talk discussion for more. As far as I know, NO OTHER IMAGE OF THE BANSHEE EXISTS!  As a result of Mike’s keen eye and Andy’s naval knowledge, I’ve added USS Banshee to my master list of Union naval vessels at the Siege of Petersburg.  All of that said (deep breath, whew!), I need your help.  The lists of vessels in the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron in the Official Records of the Navy do not place the Banshee any nearer City Point than Norfolk, and only during the 7th and 8th Offensives from November 1864 to February 1865.  Ideally, I’d like to determine which dates the Banshee might have sauntered up the James to City Point. If you can find or know of sources which place the Banshee in the James River on certain dates, please Contact me.

Maybe USS Banshee www.loc.gov/item/90715555/3

 

4

 

Captain(s):
Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Walter H. Garfield
Captain Image Needed

Captain 2
Captain Image

Captain 3
Captain Image

 

First Offensive Order of Battle (June 13-18, 1864):

Not present at the Siege of Petersburg.5

Ordered to report from New York City to Hampton Roads for further orders (June 14, 1864)6

  • Captain: Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Walter H. Garfield (June 14, 1864)7,8
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:

Second Offensive Order of Battle (June 19-30, 1864):

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament: 1 x 30-pdr. Parrot rifle; 2 x heavy 12-lbrs. Smoothbore (June 30, 1864)9

Third Offensive Order of Battle (July 1-31, 1864):

Away in North Carolina coaling at Beaufort, not present at the Siege of Petersburg.(July 31, 1864)10

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:

Fourth Offensive Order of Battle (August 1-31, 1864):

Not present on the James River. (August 1, 1864)11

Repairing at Norfolk, VA. (at least August 16 and 17, 1864)12,13,14

Moved to Baltimore, MD. (August 19, 1864)15,16

 

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:

Fifth Offensive Order of Battle (September 1-October 13, 1864):

Away at Baltimore, MD (repairing), not present at the Siege of Petersburg. (October 1, 1864)17

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:

Sixth Offensive Order of Battle (October 14-31, 1864):

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:

Seventh Offensive Order of Battle (November 1-December 31, 1864):

Away at Baltimore, MD (repairing), not present at the Siege of Petersburg. (November 1, 1864)18

Not present on the James River. (November 12, 1864)19

Away near Wilmington, NC, not present at the Siege of Petersburg. (December 5, 1864)20

Norfolk Navy Yard, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (December 15, 1864)21

  • Captain: Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Walter H. Garfield (November 1 and December 5 & 15, 1864)22,23,24
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
    • 3  x “guns” (December 15, 1864)25
    • 1 x 30-pdr. Parrot rifle; 2 x heavy 12-lbr. Smoothbores (December 31, 1864)26
  • Note: On December 15, 1864, this ship is noted as a “Class 4” vessel.27

Eighth Offensive Order of Battle (January 1-February 28, 1865):

Norfolk, Va. (repairing) | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (January 1, 1865)28

Joined the Potomac Flotilla (January 16, 1865)29

No longer present at the Siege of Petersburg after January 16, 1865.30,31,32,33

  • Captain: Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Walter H. Garfield (January 1 & February 1, 1865)34,35
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament: 3 x “guns” (January 1 and February 1, 1865)36,37
  • Note: On January 1 and February 1, 1865, this ship is noted as a “Class 4” vessel.38,39

Ninth Offensive Order of Battle (March 1-April 2, 1865):

No longer present at the Siege of Petersburg.40,41,42

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament: 1 x 30-pdr. Parrot rifle; 2 x heavy 12-lbrs. Smoothbore (March 3, 1865)9

 

Siege of Petersburg Battles:

  • TBD

 

Siege of Petersburg Involvement:44

The first Banshee was built in 1862 by Jones, Quiggin and Co., Liverpool, England; captured by Fulton and Grand Gulf off Wilmington, N.C., 21 November 1863, while attempting to run the blockade; purchased 12 March 1864 from the New York Prize Court; and fitted out as a gunboat. On 14 June 1864 Acting Volunteer Lieutenant W[alter]. H. Garfield was ordered to take command of Banshee and proceed to Wilmington, N.C., for duty with the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Banshee served with the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron until 3 January 1865, taking part in the attack on Fort Fisher (24 December 1864). She joined the Potomac Flotilla 16 January 1865 and was sold at New York 30 November 1865.

Bibliography:

    Siege of Petersburg Documents Which Mention This Unit:

      Sources:

      1. “DANFS.” Naval History and Heritage Command, www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs.html.
      2. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 42
      3. Cropped closeup view of what is believed to be USS Banshee taken from View of transports, barges, etc., City Point, Virginia. (Between 1861 and 1865) Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/90715555/>.
      4. Painting “PS Banshee” by Samuel Walters, now in the Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool, England, UK.
      5. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 157158
      6. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume X, p. 148
      7. “Banshee I (SwStr).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/b/banshee-i.html.
      8. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume X, p. 148
      9. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 42
      10. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 324325
      11. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, p. 326
      12. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 370371
      13. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 410412
      14. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 462463
      15. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 410412
      16. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 462463
      17. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 514515
      18. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 3940
      19. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, p. 61
      20. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 140142
      21. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 192194
      22. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 3940
      23. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 140142
      24. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 192194
      25. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 192194
      26. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 42
      27. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 192194
      28. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 398400
      29. “Banshee I (SwStr).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/b/banshee-i.html.
      30. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 597599
      31. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
      32. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 2021
      33. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 5455
      34. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 398400
      35. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
      36. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 398400
      37. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
      38. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 398400
      39. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
      40. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
      41. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
      42. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
      43. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 42
      44. “Banshee I (SwStr).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/b/banshee-i.html.

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