USS Charles Phelps

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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 Charles Phelps Type: Coal Supply Hulk Tonnage: 363
Length: 110’ Beam: 27’4” Draught: Loaded: 17’, Light: 9’
Speed: Complement: 23 men Class:
Armament: February 2, 1864: No battery.
Namesake: Merchant name retained.

Images:

Image Needed (Does One Exist?)

 

Captain(s):
Acting Ensign William Ottiwell
Captain Image

Captain 2
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Captain 3
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First Offensive Order of Battle (June 13-18, 1864): Newport News, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (June 17, 1864)3

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Note: The Charles Phelps served as a coal supply hulk for the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the entire Siege of Petersburg. She was stationed at Craney Island, Va. throughout this time period.4,5

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

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Note: The Charles Phelps served as a coal supply hulk for the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the entire Siege of Petersburg. She was stationed at Craney Island, Va. throughout this time period.6

Third Offensive Order of Battle (July 1-31, 1864): Fourth Division (James River) | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (July 31, 1864)7

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Notes:
    • On July 31, 1864, this ship is noted as at “coal depot, Craney Island, in charge of colliers.”8
    • The Charles Phelps served as a coal supply hulk for the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the entire Siege of Petersburg. She was stationed at Craney Island, Va. throughout this time period.9

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

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Note: The Charles Phelps served as a coal supply hulk for the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the entire Siege of Petersburg. She was stationed at Craney Island, Va. throughout this time period. 11,12

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 & 16 and October 1, 1864)13,14,15

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Note: The Charles Phelps served as a coal supply hulk for the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the entire Siege of Petersburg. She was stationed at Craney Island, Va. throughout this time period.16,17,18,19

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

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Note: The Charles Phelps served as a coal supply hulk for the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the entire Siege of Petersburg. She was stationed at Craney Island, Va. throughout this time period.20

Seventh Offensive Order of Battle (November 1-December 31, 1864): Craney Island, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (November 1 and December 15, 1864)21,22

  • Captain: Acting Ensign William Ottiwell (November 1 and December 15, 1864)23,24
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Notes:
    • On December 15, 1864, this ship is noted as a “Class 4” vessel.25
    • The Charles Phelps served as a coal supply hulk for the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the entire Siege of Petersburg. She was stationed at Craney Island, Va. throughout this time period.26

Eighth Offensive Order of Battle (January 1-February 28, 1865): Craney Island, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865)27,28,29,30

  • Captain: Acting Ensign William Ottiwell (January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865)31,32,33,34
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Notes:
    • On January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865, this ship is noted as a “Class 4” vessel and a “hulk.”35,36,37,38
    • The Charles Phelps served as a coal supply hulk for the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the entire Siege of Petersburg. She was stationed at Craney Island, Va. throughout this time period.39

Ninth Offensive Order of Battle (March 1-April 2, 1865): Craney Island, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (March 18 and April 1 & 15, 1865)4041,42

  • Captain: Acting Ensign William Ottiwell (March 18 and April 1 & 15, 1865)43,44,45
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Note: The Charles Phelps served as a coal supply hulk for the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the entire Siege of Petersburg. She was stationed at Craney Island, Va. throughout this time period.46,47,48,49

 

Siege of Petersburg Battles:

  • None

 

Siege of Petersburg Involvement:50

Charles Phelps was built in 1848 at New London, Conn., as a whaler; purchased at New Bedford, Mass., 24 June 1861; and commissioned later in the year, Acting Master W. F. North in command.

Assigned as a coal supply ship for the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Charles Phelps served in Hampton Roads, Va., throughout the Civil War. Her support of the Squadron’s steamers was as critical a contribution to their mission of cutting the Confederacy off from overseas supply as a modern-day oiler’s logistic support is to the operations of the fleet. She was sold at New York 25 October 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. 54
    3. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 157158
    4. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 157158
    5. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 54
    6. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 54
    7. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 324325
    8. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 324325
    9. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 54
    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, pp. 370371
    12. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 54
    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. 514515
    16. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 410412
    17. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 462463
    18. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 514515
    19. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 54
    20. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 54
    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. 192194
    23. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 3940
    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. 54
    27. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 398400
    28. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 597599
    29. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
    30. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 2021
    31. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 398400
    32. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 597599
    33. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
    34. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 2021
    35. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 398400
    36. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 597599
    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 XII, pp. 2021
    39. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 54
    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: This one indicates the Charles Phelps was at “Norfolk”, but I’m fairly certain she was still serving as a coal hulk at Craney Island, given she was there on both March 18 and April 15.
    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, Volume XII, pp. 7173
    44. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
    45. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
    46. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
    47. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
    48. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
    49. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 54
    50. “Charles Phelps.” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/c/charles-phelps.html.

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