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Ship Information (from DANFS)1,2:

Name: USS Mendota Type: Double-Ender Sidewheel Gunboat Tonnage: 974
Length: 205’ Beam: 35’ Draught: 8’9”
Speed: Max: 11 knots, Avg.: 8 knots Complement: Not Listed. Class: Sassacus
Armament: July 1, 1864: 2 100‑pdr. Parrott rifles, 4 9″ Dahlgren Smoothbores, 2 24‑pdr. Dahlgren rifles, 2 20‑pdr. Dahlgren rifles
Namesake: A lake in Wisconsin. Madison, the State capital, is located on Mendota’s southern shore.

Images:

33947v: U.S.S. Mendota, James River, Va.3

 

Captain(s):
Commander Edward T. Nichols
EdwardTNicholsUSNavyV15P703L4

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)5

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Notes:
    • On June 17, 1864, this ship is noted as located “above USS Hunchback” and “above Wilson’s Wharf” on the James River.6
    • During this time, USS Mendota served as a picket ship near Four Mile Creek. Her guns were used to prevent the establishment of Confederate batteries or entrenchments which would threaten river communications or imperil a small Union Army base camp.7

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

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Note: During this time, USS Mendota served as a picket ship near Four Mile Creek. Her guns were used to prevent the establishment of Confederate batteries or entrenchments which would threaten river communications or imperil a small Union Army base camp.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: 2 x 100‑pdr. Parrott rifles, 4 x 9″ Dahlgren Smoothbores, 2 x 24‑pdr. Dahlgren rifles, 2 x 20‑pdr. Dahlgren rifles (July 1, 1864)10:
  • Note: During this time, USS Mendota served as a picket ship near Four Mile Creek. Her guns were used to prevent the establishment of Confederate batteries or entrenchments which would threaten river communications or imperil a small Union Army base camp.11

Fourth Offensive Order of Battle (August 1-31, 1864): Fourth Division (James River) | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (August 1 & 17, 1864)12,13

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Note: During this time, USS Mendota served as a picket ship near Four Mile Creek. Her guns were used to prevent the establishment of Confederate batteries or entrenchments which would threaten river communications or imperil a small Union Army base camp.14

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)15,16,17

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Notes:
    • On September 16 and October 1, 1864, this ship is noted as in the “James River.”18,19
    • During this time, USS Mendota served as a picket ship near Four Mile Creek. Her guns were used to prevent the establishment of Confederate batteries or entrenchments which would threaten river communications or imperil a small Union Army base camp.20

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

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Note: The “small Union Army base camp” at Deep Bottom had been greatly expanded by the capture of New Market Heights and Fort Harrison on September 29, 1864.  I am unsure how or if the Mendota’s role changed once this happened.  More research is needed.

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, 1865)21,22,23

  • Captain: Commander Edward T. Nichols (November 1 and December 5 & 15, 1865)24,25,26
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament: 10 x “guns” (December 15, 1864)27
  • Notes:
    • On November 12, 1864, this ship was on picket duty in the James River at “Dutch Gap” and was classified as a “gunboat.”28
    • On December 15, 1864, this ship is noted as a “Class 3” vessel.29

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)30,31,32,33,34

  • Captain: Commander Edward T. Nichols (January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865)35,36,37,38
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament: 10 x “guns” (January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865)39,40,41,42
  • Note: On January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865, this ship is noted as a “Class 3” vessel.43,44,45,46

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

James River, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (March 18, 1865)47

Hampton Roads | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (April 1, 1865)48

James River, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (at Drewry’s Bluff on April 15, 1865)49

  • Captain: Commander Edward T. Nichols (March 18 and April 1 & 15, 1865)50,51,52
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament: 10 x “guns” (March 18 and April 1 & 15, 1865)53,54,55
  • Notes:
    • On March 18 and April 1 & 15, 1865, this ship is noted as a “Paddle Class” vessel.56,57,58
    • During her last 2 months of service (mid-March to mid-May 1865) she directed ship movements at Hampton Roads and also at the mouth of the Delaware River.59

 

Siege of Petersburg Battles:

 

Siege of Petersburg Involvement:62

Mendota, a sidewheel gunboat, was launched 13 January 1863 by F. Z. Tucker, Brooklyn, N.Y.; acquired by the Navy 1 February 1864; and commissioned 2 May 1864, Comdr. E. T. Nichols in command.

From the day of her commissioning in 1864, Mendota was assigned to the James River (Va.) Division, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. The first 10 months she served [May 1864 to the end of February 1865] as a picket ship near Four Mile Creek. Her guns were used to prevent the establishment of Confederate batteries or entrenchments which would threaten river communications or imperil a small Union Army base camp. Action on 28 July [1864] was particularly intense. During her last 2 months of service [March into May 1865] she directed ship movements at Hampton Roads and also at the mouth of the Delaware River.

After the war Mendota decommissioned 12 May 1865 and was laid up at League Island, Philadelphia, until sold 7 December 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. 140
    3. U.S.S. Mendota, James River, Va. (Photographed between 1861 and 1865, printed between 1880 and 1889) Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/item/2013647365/
    4. Edward T. Nichols image.  MOLLUS-Mass Civil War Photograph Collection, Vol. 15, Page 703L.  United States Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle, PA.
    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. 157158
    7. “Mendota I (SwGbt).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/mendota-i.html.
    8. “Mendota I (SwGbt).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/mendota-i.html.
    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, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 140
    11. “Mendota I (SwGbt).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/mendota-i.html.
    12. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 370371
    13. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, p. 326
    14. “Mendota I (SwGbt).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/mendota-i.html.
    15. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 410412
    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, Volume X, pp. 462463
    19. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 514515
    20. “Mendota I (SwGbt).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/mendota-i.html.
    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, Volume XI, pp. 192194
    24. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 3940
    25. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 140142
    26. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 192194
    27. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 192194
    28. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, p. 61
    29. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 192194
    30. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 398400
    31. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 597599
    32. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
    33. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 2021
    34. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 5455
    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, Volume XI, pp. 398400
    40. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 597599
    41. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
    42. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 2021
    43. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 398400
    44. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 597599
    45. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
    46. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 2021
    47. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
    48. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
    49. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
    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. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
    54. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
    55. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
    56. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
    57. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
    58. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
    59. “Mendota I (SwGbt).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/mendota-i.html.
    60. “Naval Correspondence,” South Danvers (Mass) Wizard, August 8(?), 1864, p. ? col. ?
    61. “Mendota I (SwGbt).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/mendota-i.html.
    62. “Mendota I (SwGbt).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/mendota-i.html.

    ***



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