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Ship Information (from DANFS)1,2:

Name: USS Onondaga Type: Double Turreted Monitor Tonnage: 1,250
Length: 226’ Beam: 49’3” Draught: Forward: 12’4”, Aft: 12’9”
Speed: Max: 9 (or 7) knots, Avg.: 6 knots Complement: 150 men Class: Onondaga
Armament: February 23, 1864: 2 15″ Dahlgren Smoothbores, 2 150-pdr. Parrott rifles
Namesake: A lake and county in New York.

Images:

ORNVol09Page683USSOnondaga3

33961v: Double turretted i.e. turreted monitor "Onondaga", James River, Va. 4

 

Captain(s):
Commander William A. Parker
WilliamAParkerV64P31775

Lieutenant Commander Charles H. Cushman
Captain Image

Lieutenant Commander Homer C. Blake
Captain Image

Captain 4
Captain Image

 

First Offensive Order of Battle (June 13-18, 1864): James River, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (June 17, 1864)6

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Note: On June 17, 1864, this ship is noted as at “Trent’s Reach” and “above Wilson’s Wharf” on the James River.7

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)8

  • 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)9,10

  • 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)11,12,13

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Note: On September 1 & 16 and October 1, 1864, this ship is noted as in the “James River.”14,15,16

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 & 12 and December 5 & 15, 1864)17,18,19,20

  • Captain:
    • Lieutenant Commander Charles H. Cushman (November 1, 1864)21
    • Commander William A. Parker (December 5 & 15, 1864)22,23
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament: 4 x “guns” (December 15, 1864)24
  • Notes:
    • On November 12, 1864, this ship was located in the James River at “Dutch Gap” and was classified as an “ironclad.”25
    • On December 15, 1864, this ship is noted as a “Class 3” vessel.26

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)27,28,29,30,31

 

  • Captain:
    • Commander William A. Parker (January 1 & 15, 1865)32,33
    • Not Listed. (February 1, 1865)34
    • Lieutenant Commander Homer C. Blake (February 15, 1865)35
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament: 4 x “guns” (January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865)36,37,38,39
  • Note:
    • On January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865, this ship is noted as a “Class 3” vessel.40,41,42,43

Ninth Offensive Order of Battle (March 1-April 2, 1865): James River, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (March 18 and April 1 & 15, 1865) (at Trent’s Reach on April 1, 1865)44,45,46

  • Captain: Lieutenant Commander H. C. Blake (March 18 and April 1 & 15, 1865)47,48,49
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament: 4 x “guns” (March 18 and April 1 & 15, 1865)50,51,52
  • Note: On March 18 and April 1 & 15, 1865, this ship is noted as a “Screw Class” vessel.53,54,55

 

Siege of Petersburg Battles:

 

Siege of Petersburg Involvement:56

The first Onondaga, a double turreted monitor, was launched 29 July 1863 by Continental Iron Works, Greenpoint, N. Y., under subcontract from George W. Quintard; sponsored by Miss Sally Sedgwick, daughter of former U. S. Representative Charles Baldwin Sedgwick, who codified naval laws for the Navy Department; and commissioned at New York Navy Yard 24 March 1864, Capt. Melancthon Smith in command.

With Mattabesset, the new monitor departed New York 21 April 1864, and arrived Hampton Roads two days later. Operating primarily in the James River Flotilla, Onondaga supported General Grant’s drive on Richmond. On 29 November with Mahopac she engaged Southern batteries on the James at Howlett’s, Va., and resumed the attack 5 and 6 December.

Early in January much of the Union strength was withdrawn from the James as Admiral Porter assembled his powerful fleet for the forthcoming attack on Fort Fisher, N. C., which protected Wilmington. Onondaga was the only monitor left to guard Union forces on and along the James against Flag Officer John K. Mitchell’s Confederate James River Squadron. When the Southern force steamed down river to attack the weakened Union forces there afloat, the monitor dropped downstream to a position affording her greater maneuverability. She and her supporting gunboats awaited the Southern attack only to have the Confederate thrust blunted when Mitchell’s ironclads Virginia No. 2 and Richmond, gunboat Drewry, and torpedo boat Scorpion all ran aground trying to pass obstructions at Trent’s Reach. After attacks by Northern shore batteries and Onondaga, Drewry exploded, Scorpion was abandoned, and the two Southern ironclads withdrew upriver when they were refloated the next day.

After continuing to support Union troops fighting to take the Confederate capital until General Lee was forced to abandon Richmond, Onondaga steamed north and decommissioned at New York 8 June 1865 and was laid up at League Island, Pa. By Act of Congress approved 7 March 1867, the monitor was sold to her builder, G. W. Quintard and subsequently resold to France for service in the French Navy under the same name.

 

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. 165
    3. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume IX, p. 683
    4. Double turretted i.e. turreted monitor “Onondaga”, James River, Va. (Photographed between 1861 and 1865, printed between 1880 and 1889) Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2013647379/>.
    5. William A. Parker image.  MOLLUS-Mass Civil War Photograph Collection, Vol. 64, Page 3177.  United States Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle, PA.
    6. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 157158
    7. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 157158
    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, Volume X, pp. 370371
    10. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, p. 326
    11. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 410412
    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 X, pp. 410412
    15. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 462463
    16. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 514515
    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, Volume XI, p. 61
    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. 192194
    25. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, p. 61
    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. 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 XII, pp. 5455
    32. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 398400
    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, Volume XI, pp. 398400
    41. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 597599
    42. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
    43. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 2021
    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, 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. “Onondaga I (Monitor), Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/o/onondaga-i.html.

    ***



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