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 Massasoit Type: Double-ender Sidewheel Gunboat Tonnage: 974
Length: 205’ Beam: 35’ Draught: Loaded: 8’6”, Light: 7’2”
Speed: Max: 12 knots, Avg.: 6 knots, In a Seaway: 6-7 knots Complement: Not Listed. Class: Sassacus
Armament: December 1, 1864: 2 100‑pdr. pivots, 4 9″ Dahlgren Smoothbores, 2 24‑pdrs., 2 12‑pdr. rifles

March 25, 1864 (sic, 1865): 2 100‑pdr. Parrott rifles, 4 9″ Dahlgren Smoothbores, 1 heavy 12-pdr. Smoothbore, 2 24‑pdrs., 1 12‑pdr. rifle

March 31, 1865: 2 100‑pdr. Parrott rifles, 3 9″ Dahlgren Smoothbores

Namesake: Massasoit, the chief of the Wampanoag Indians of New England, born around 1580, befriended the English colonists and gave the food and assistance during the early settlement of the Plymouth Colony. His son, the chief known as King Philip, started the destructive King Philip’s War some years after Massasoit’s death in 1661.

Images:

01917v: James River, Virginia. U.S. gunboat MASSASOIT3

 

Captain(s):
Commander Richard T. Renshaw
Captain Image

Captain 2
Captain Image

Captain 3
Captain Image

 

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

  • Not Present (not commissioned at Boston Navy Yard)4

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

  • Not Present (not commissioned at Boston Navy Yard)5

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

  • Not Present (not commissioned at Boston Navy Yard)6

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

  • Not Present (commissioned August 25, 1864 at Boston Navy Yard)7

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

  • Note Present8,9,10

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

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:

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

Hampton Roads, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (November 1, 1864)11

James River, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (December 5 & 15, 1864)12,13

  • Captain: Commander Richard T. Renshaw (November 1 and December 5 & 15, 1864)14,15,16
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
    • 2 x 100‑pdr. pivots, 4 x 9″ Dahlgren Smoothbores, 2 x 24‑pdrs., 2 x 12‑pdr. rifles (December 1, 1864)17
    • 10 x “guns” (December 15, 1864)18
  • Note: On December 15, 1864, this ship is noted as a “Class 3” vessel.19

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 & 25, 1865)20,21,22,23,24

  • Captain: Commander Richard T. Renshaw (January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865)25,26,27,28
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament: 10 x “guns” (January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865)29,30,31,32
  • Note: On January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865, this ship is noted as a “Class 3” vessel.33,34,35,36

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)(at Trent’s Reach April 1)37,38

Moved to North Carolina Sounds on April 6 (stationed there April 15, 1865)39,40

  • Captain: Commander Richard T. Renshaw (March 18 and April 1 & 15, 1865)41,42,43
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
    • 10 x “guns” (March 18 and April 1 & 15, 1865)44,45,46
    • 2 x 100‑pdr. Parrott rifles, 4 x 9″ Dahlgren Smoothbores, 1 x heavy 12-pdr. Smoothbore, 2 x 24‑pdrs., 1 x 12‑pdr. rifle (March 25, 1865?)47
    • 2 x 100‑pdr. Parrott rifles, 3 x 9″ Dahlgren Smoothbores (March 31, 1865)48
  • Notes:
    • Ordered on April 6, 1865 to carry dispatches to General Sherman in North Carolina, she remained on duty in the Sounds of North Carolina in the last days of the Civil War.49
    • On March 18 and April 1 & 15, 1865, this ship is noted as a “Paddle Class” vessel.50,51,52

 

Siege of Petersburg Battles:

 

Siege of Petersburg Involvement:53

The first Massasoit was launched 8 March 1863 by Curtis & Tilden, Boston, Mass.; commissioned 8 March 1864, Lt. Comdr. Edward Barrett in command; but did not leave the Navy Yard before decommissioning 31 July 1864.

Recommissioned 25 August 1864 in the tense days before Gen. William Sherman’s “march to the sea,” she first patrolled the New England coast for Confederate raiders. In October [1864] Massasoit joined Rear Adm. David D. Porter’s North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. After several escort voyages from New York to Hampton Roads she served on picket duty on the James River, in Virginia. She took part in the 24 January 1865 duel with Confederate batteries at Howlett’s House, and the following months stood by to prevent any southern rams from reaching the coast.

Ordered 6 April [1865]to carry dispatches to General Sherman in North Carolina, she remained on duty in the Sounds of North Carolina in the last days of the Civil War. Entering New York Harbor 18 June, Massasoit decommissioned 27 June 1865 and was sold 15 October 1867.

 

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. 138139
    3. James River, Virginia. U.S. gunboat MASSASOIT. (Between 1861 and 1869) Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2018670814/>.
    4. “Massasoit I (SwGbt).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/massasoit-i.html.
    5. “Massasoit I (SwGbt).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/massasoit-i.html.
    6. “Massasoit I (SwGbt).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/massasoit-i.html.
    7. “Massasoit I (SwGbt).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/massasoit-i.html.
    8. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 410412
    9. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 462463
    10. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 514515
    11. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 3940
    12. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 140142
    13. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 192194
    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, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 138139
    18. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 192194
    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, Volume XI, pp. 398400
    21. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 597599
    22. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
    23. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 2021
    24. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 5455
    25. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 398400
    26. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 597599
    27. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
    28. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 2021
    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. 398400
    34. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 597599
    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 XII, pp. 2021
    37. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
    38. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
    39. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
    40. “Massasoit I (SwGbt).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/massasoit-i.html.
    41. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
    42. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
    43. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
    44. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
    45. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
    46. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
    47. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 138139: The date is listed as March 25, 1864, but the armaments seem to be arranged in chronological order, and this listing came after the Dec. 1, 1864 listing and before the March 31, 1865 listing.  I suspect they meant March 25, 1865, but it could be some other type as well.  Treat this entry with skepticism until/unless I can find another source to prove or refute it.
    48. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 138139
    49. “Massasoit I (SwGbt).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/massasoit-i.html.
    50. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
    51. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
    52. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
    53. “Massasoit I (SwGbt).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/massasoit-i.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: