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Ship Information (from DANFS)1,2:

Name: USS Canonicus Type: Single Turret Monitor Tonnage: 1,034
Length: 225’ Beam: 43’8” Draught: Forward: 12’8”, Aft: 13’3”, Loaded: 13’7”, Light: 13’
Speed: Max: 7 knots, Avg.: 5 knots Complement: 85 men Class: Canonicus
Armament:June 30, Sept. 30, Oct. 17, Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, 1864 and Jan. 13, June 30, 1865: 2 15″ Dahlgren Smoothbores

March 31, 1865: 2 15″ Dahlgren Smoothbores, 1 heavy 12-pdr., 1 light 12-pdr.

Namesake: Canonicus, a chief of the Narragansett Indians, befriended Roger Williams, and presented him with a large tract of land for the Rhode Island colony.

Images:

James River, Va. U.S.S. monitor Canonicus taking on coal from a schooner3

 

Captain(s):
Commander Enoch G. Parrott
EnochGParrottUSNavy4

Lieutenant Commander George E. Belknap
GeorgeEBelknapUSNavyV40P19755

Captain 3
Captain Image

 

First Offensive Order of Battle (June 13-18, 1864): James River, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (June 17, 1864)6

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Note: On June 17, 1864, this ship is noted as at “Trent’s Reach” and also “above Wilson’s Wharf” on the James River.7

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

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament: 2 x 15″ Dahlgren Smoothbores (June 30, 1864)8

Third Offensive Order of Battle (July 1-31, 1864): Fourth Division (James River) | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (July 31, 1864)9

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:

Fourth Offensive Order of Battle (August 1-31, 1864): Fourth Division (James River) | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (August 1 & 17, 1864)10,11

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:

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

Second Division (Hampton Roads and James River) | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (September 1, 1864)12,13

Norfolk Navy Yard, Va. (repairing) | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (September 16 and October 1, 1864)14

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament: 2 x 15″ Dahlgren Smoothbores (September 30, 1864)15
  • Note: On September 16 and October 1, 1864, this ship is noted as “Second Division, repairing.”16,17

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

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament: 2 x 15″ Dahlgren Smoothbores (October 17, 1864)18

Seventh Offensive Order of Battle (November 1-December 31, 1864): James River, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (November 1 and December 5, 1864)19,20

  • Captain:
    • Commander Enoch G. Parrott (November 1, 1864)21
    • Lieutenant Commander George E. Belknap (December 5, 1864)22
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament: 2 x 15″ Dahlgren Smoothbores (November 1 and December 31, 1864)23,24

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

  • Not Present.
  • Armament: 2 x 15″ Dahlgren Smoothbores (January 31, 1865)25

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

  • Not Present.
  • Armament: 2 x 15″ Dahlgren Smoothbores, 1 heavy 12-pdr., 1 light 12-pdr. (March 31, 1865)26

 

Siege of Petersburg Battles:

 

Siege of Petersburg Involvement:30

The first Canonicus, a single-turret monitor, was launched 1 August 1863 by Harrison Loring, Boston, Mass., and commissioned 16 April 1864 at Boston, Commander E. G. Parrott in command.

Canonicus sailed from Boston 22 April 1864 and arrived at Newport News, Va., 3 May for service with the James River Flotilla. Her heavy guns pounded Confederate batteries at strong points along the James on 21 June, 16 August, and 5-6 December.

Reassigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, the monitor arrived at Beaufort, N.C., 15 December 1864, and took part in the heated attacks on Fort Fisher, N.C. In the first engagement on 24 and 25 December, Canonicus was hit four times, but suffered no casualties and only minor damage while her own well-directed fire put two guns of Fort Fisher’s battery out of action. On 13 January 1865, during the second attack, Canonicus felt the full effect of the Confederate fire, receiving 36 hits. Twice her flag was shot away, twice gallantly replaced. Miraculously, none of her men was killed, and only three wounded. Again, she dismounted two of the Fort’s guns.

In February 1865, Canonicus joined the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron off Charleston, S.C., and during the closing months of the war aided in the capture of several blockade runners off the South Carolina coast, as well as voyaging to Havana, Cuba, in search of CSS Stonewall.

The monitor entered Philadelphia Navy Yard 25 June 1869, and was decommissioned 5 days later. Renamed Scylla 15 June 1869, she was reassigned her former name 10 August 1869. Recommissioned 22 January 1872, Canonicus cruised in coastal waters in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico when not out of commission, as she was frequently during this time. Her final decommissioning took place at Pensacola, Fla., in 1877, and she performed no further service until sold 19 February 1908.

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. 51
    3. James River, Va. U.S.S. monitor Canonicus taking on coal from a schooner. (Between 1860 and 1865) Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2018666833/>.
    4. Enoch G. Parrott image. MOLLUS-Mass Civil War Photograph Collection, Volume 64, Page 3186.  United States Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle, PA.
    5. George E. Belknap image.  MOLLUS-Mass Civil War Photograph Collection, Vol. 40, Page 1975.  United States Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle, PA.
    6. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 157158
    7. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 157158
    8. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 51
    9. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 324325
    10. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 370371
    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. 410412
    13. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 462463
    14. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 514515
    15. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 51
    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, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 51
    19. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 3940
    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. 3940
    22. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 140142
    23. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 51
    24. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 51
    25. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 51
    26. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 51
    27. “Canonicus I (Monitor).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/c/canonicus-i.html.
    28. “Canonicus I (Monitor).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/c/canonicus-i.html.
    29. “Canonicus I (Monitor).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/c/canonicus-i.html.
    30. “Canonicus I (Monitor).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/c/canonicus-i.html.

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