USS Gamma (aka Picket Boat No. 3) (aka Tug No. 3)

   

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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 Gamma (aka Picket Boat No. 3) (aka Tug No. 3) Type: Screw Steamer Tonnage: 36 (or 62)
Length: 65’ Beam: 14’ Draught: 6’
Speed: Max: 12 knots Complement: Not listed. Class: N/A
Armament: November 1864: 8 Rifled Muskets, 1 Torpedo
Namesake: The third letter in the Greek alphabet.

Images:

01767vDeltaGammaCLOSEUP3

 

Captain(s):
Acting Ensign Henry F. Curtis
Captain Image

Captain 2
Captain Image

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)4

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
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  • Note: On June 17, 1864, this ship is noted as “unarmed; fitting with torpedoes” and “above Wilson’s Wharf” on the James River.5

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

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
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Third Offensive Order of Battle (July 1-31, 1864): Fourth Division (James River) | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (July 31, 1864)6

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Fourth Offensive Order of Battle (August 1-31, 1864): Fourth Division (James River) | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (August 1 & 17, 1864)7,8

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
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  • Note: On August 17, 1864, this ship is noted as a “torpedo boat.”9

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)10,11,12

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  • Notes:
    • On September 16, 1864, this ship is noted as “fitted as torpedo boat.”13
    • On October 1, 1864, this ship is noted as in “James River; fitted as torpedo boat.”14

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

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
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Seventh Offensive Order of Battle (November 1-December 31, 1864): James River, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (November 1 and December 1 & 15, 1864)15,16,17

  • Captain:
    • Not Listed. (November 1 and December 1, 1864)18,19
    • Acting Ensign Henry F. Curtis (December 15, 1864)20
  • Crew Strength:
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  • Notes:
    • On December 5, 1864, this ship is noted as having its name changed to “Gamma.”21
    • On December 15, 1864, this ship is noted as a “Class 4” vessel.22

Eighth Offensive Order of Battle (January 1-February 28, 1865): James River, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865)23,24,25,26

  • Captain: Acting Ensign Henry F. Curtis (January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865)27,28,29,30
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Note: On January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865, this ship is noted as a “Class 4” vessel.31,32,33,34

Ninth Offensive Order of Battle (March 1-April 2, 1865): James River, Va. |  North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (March 18 and April 1, 1865) (Had moved to North Carolina Sounds and reached her destination by April 3, 1865)35,36,37,38

  • Captain: Acting Ensign Henry F. Curtis (March 18 and April 1 & 15, 1865)39,40,41
  • Crew Strength:
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  • Note: On March 18 and April 1 & 15, 1865, this ship is noted as a “Screw Class” vessel.42,43,44

 

Siege of Petersburg Battles:

  • TBD

 

Siege of Petersburg Involvement:45

Gamma was built in 1863 as steamer R. F. Loper at Philadelphia, Pa.; purchased there 3 June 1864; renamed Gamma, but was also called Tug Number 3 and Picket Boat Number 3.

Gamma was assigned as a picket boat in the James River, Ens. Henry F. Curtis in command. She arrived at New Bern, N.C., from the James River 3 April 1865. Placed at the disposal of General W. T. Sherman’s quartermaster, she served in the sounds of North Carolina until close of the Civil War. She was sold by public auction at New York 25 October 1865 to D. Trundy. Redocumented as merchant steamer Peter Smith 13 December 1865, she burned at New York 9 May 1893.

 

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. 90
      3. Deep Bottom, Va., vicinity. Transport Linda of Philadelphia and a monitor Onondaga? on the James. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2018666829/>. SOPO Editor’s Note: This is a closeup of Picket Boats #3 and #4.  The Delta or Picket Boat #4 was originally the Linda of Philadelphia.  The vessel is identified both in the title of the larger image and in the traditional, spot on her stern.  Note the #4 painted on her smokestack. Given this information, it is easy to deduce that the vessel behind her with a “3” on the smokestack is Picket Boat #3, renamed GammaPicket Boat #5, renamed Epsilon, is in the full view of this image.
      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, Volume X, pp. 157158
      6. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 324325
      7. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 370371
      8. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, p. 326
      9. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 370371
      10. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 410412
      11. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 462463
      12. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 514515
      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, Volume XI, pp. 3940
      16. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 140142
      17. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 192194
      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, pp. 140142
      20. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 192194
      21. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 140142
      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. 398400
      24. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 597599
      25. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
      26. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 2021
      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 XII, pp. 7173
      36. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
      37. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
      38. “Gamma.” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/g/gamma.html.
      39. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
      40. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
      41. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
      42. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
      43. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
      44. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
      45. “Gamma.” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/g/gamma.html.

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