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 Hunchback Type: Sidewheel Steamer Tonnage: 517 (or 518)
Length: 179’ Beam: 29’ Draught: 9’
Speed: Max: 12 knots, Avg.: 6 knots Complement: Not listed. Class: Not listed.
Armament: April 25, 1863: 4 9” Dahlgren Smoothbores, 1 100-pdr. Parrott rifle, 1 12-pdr. Rifle, 1 12-pdr. Howitzer

December 6, 1864: 4 9” Dahlgren Smoothbores, 1 100-pdr. Parrott rifle, 1 12-pdr. Howitzer

March 21, 1865: 5 9” Dahlgren Smoothbores, 1 100-pdr. Parrott rifle, 1 12-pdr. Rifle, 1 12-pdr. Howitzer

Namesake: A former name retained.

Images:

USS Hunchback NH 594303

 

Captain(s):
Lieutenant Joseph P. Fyffe
Captain Image

Captain 2
Captain Image

Captain 3
Captain Image

 

First Offensive Order of Battle (June 13-18, 1864): James River | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (June 17, 1864)4

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Note: On June 17, 1864, this ship is noted as at “Deep Bottom” and “above Newport News” on the James River.5

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

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:

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

  • 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)7,8

  • 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 & 16 and October 1, 1864)9,10,11

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Note: On September 16 and October 1, 1864, this ship is noted as in “James River.”12,13

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

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:

Seventh Offensive Order of Battle (November 1-December 31, 1864): James River, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (November 1 and December 5 & 15, 1864)14,15,16

  • Captain: Lieutenant Joseph P. Fyffe (November 1 and December 5 & 15, 1864)17,18,19
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
    • 4 x 9” Dahlgren Smoothbores, 1 x 100-pdr. Parrott rifle, 1 x 12-pdr. Howitzer (December 6, 1864)20
    • 7 x “guns” (December 15, 1864)21
  • Notes:
    • On November 12, 1864, this ship was located in the James River at “Curles Neck” and was classified as a “ferryboat.”22
    • On December 15, 1864, this ship is noted as a “Class 4” vessel.23

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 & 25, 1865) (Ordered to Sounds of North Carolina February 15, 1865 but apparently returned to the James River by February 25)24,25,26,27,28

  • Captain: Lieutenant Joseph P. Fyffe (January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865)29,30,31,32
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament: 7 x “guns” (January 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865)33, 34,35
  • Note: On January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865, this ship is noted as a “Class 4” vessel. 36,37,38,39

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

  • Not Present.
  • Armament: 5 x 9” Dahlgren Smoothbores, 1 x 100-pdr. Parrott rifle, 1 x 12-pdr. Rifle, 1 x 12-pdr. Howitzer (March 21, 1865)40
  • Note: Hunchback had moved to the Sounds of North Carolina on March 17, 1865 and remained there at least through April 15, 1865, after the Siege of Petersburg had ended.41,42

 

Siege of Petersburg Battles:

 

Siege of Petersburg Involvement:44

Hunchback, a wooden steam ferryboat, was built in 1852 at New York City and was purchased by the Navy 16 December 1861. She sailed to Hampton Roads soon afterward and commissioned there 3 January 1862, Acting Lt. Edmund R. Colhoun in command.

Early in 1864 she repaired at Baltimore, and returned to Hampton Roads in May. She towed monitor Saugus up the James River 5 May, staying to shell Confederate troop positions in the continuing stalemate there. It was subsequently decided to keep her in the James, and she was occupied during the next months convoying and occasionally shelling Confederate positions. Hunchback also carried dispatches during this period, and was based at Deep Bottom, on the James.

Just before the end of the war 17 March 1865, Hunchback returned to her old patrol station, the sounds of North Carolina. After another expedition up the Chowan River 1 April, she was sent north, and decommissioned at New York 12 June 1865. She was sold 12 July 1865 to the New York & Brooklyn Ferry Co., was renamed General Grant in 1866, and remained in service until 1880.

 

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. 104
    3. “NH 59430 USS Hunchback (1862-65).” Naval History and Heritage Command, www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/our-collections/photography/people—special-topics/african-americans-in-the-navy/african-americans-and-the-navy–1860s-1890s/uss-hunchback-nh-59430.html. Ship’s officers and crew on deck, in the James River, Virginia, 1864-65. Photographed by Matthew Brady. One man is playing the banjo in the foreground, another is holding a small white dog, while others are reading newspapers. Men seated in center appear to be peeling potatoes. Many crewmen are wearing their flathats in the style of berets. About a fifth of this ship’s crew appear to be African-Americans. The original photograph has Brady negative number B-2011. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.
    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. 410412
    10. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 462463
    11. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 514515
    12. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 462463
    13. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 514515
    14. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 3940
    15. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 140142
    16. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 192194
    17. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 3940
    18. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 140142
    19. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 192194
    20. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 104
    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, p. 61
    23. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 192194
    24. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 398400
    25. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 597599
    26. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
    27. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 2021
    28. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 5455
    29. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 398400
    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 XI, pp. 597599
    34. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
    35. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 2021
    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. 597599
    38. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
    39. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 2021
    40. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 104
    41. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
    42. “Hunchback.” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/h/hunchback.html.
    43. “Hunchback.” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/h/hunchback.html.
    44. “Hunchback.” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/h/hunchback.html.

    ***



    What are your Top 10 Gettysburg Books? See what a panel of bloggers said recently.

    { 0 comments… add one now }

    Leave a Comment

    Previous post:

    Next post: