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Ship Information (from DANFS)1,2:

Name: USS Osceola Type: Double-Ender Sidewheel Gunboat Tonnage: 974
Length: 205’ Beam: 35’ Draught: Loaded: 8’8.5”, Light: 7’6”
Speed: Max: 15 knots, Avg.: 9 knots Complement: Not Listed. ClassSassacus
Armament: June 30, 1864: 2 100-pdr. Parrott rifles, 4 9” Dahlgren Smoothbores, 1 heavy 12-pdr. Smoothbore, 1 12-pdr. rifle, 1 24-pdr.

September 30, 1864: 2 100-pdr. Parrott rifles, 2 9” Dahlgren Smoothbores, 1 heavy 12-pdr. Smoothbore, 1 12-pdr. Rifle

October 12, 1864: 2 100-pdr. Parrott rifles, 4 9” Dahlgren Smoothbores, 1 heavy 12-pdr. Smoothbore, 1 12-pdr. rifle, 2 24-pdrs.

March 31, 1865: 2 100-pdr. Parrott rifles, 1 11” Dahlgren Smoothbore, 4 9” Dahlgren Smoothbores, 1 heavy 12-pdr. Smoothbore, 1 12-pdr. rifle, 2 24-pdrs.

Namesake: Osceola, the son of an Englishman and a Creek Mother was probably born in Georgia about 1800. A noted Seminole chief and leader during the second Seminole War, Osceola was seized when he appeared for a conference in October 1837 and died in prison at Fort Moultrie, S. C., 30 January 1838.

Images:

Image Needed (does one exist)

 

Captain(s):
Commander John M. B. Clitz
JohnMBClitzUSNavyV64P31603

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:
  • Armament:
  • Note: On June 17, 1864, this ship is noted as “off City Point” and “above Newport News” on the James River.5

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

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament: 2 x 100-pdr. Parrott rifles, 4 x 9” Dahlgren Smoothbores, 1 x heavy 12-pdr. Smoothbore, 1 x 12-pdr. rifle, 1 x 24-pdr. (June 30, 1864)6

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

  • 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)8,9

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Note: On August 17, 1864, this ship is noted as “ordered to Gosport [Navy Yard in Norfolk, Va.] for repairs; to leave heavy guns and go off Wilmington [NC].”10

Fifth Offensive Order of Battle (September 1-October 13, 1864): Norfolk Navy Yard, Va. (repairing) | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy11,12,13

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
    • 2 x 100-pdr. Parrott rifles, 2 x 9” Dahlgren Smoothbores, 1 x heavy 12-pdr. Smoothbore, 1 x 12-pdr. Rifle (September 30, 1864)14
    • 2 x 100-pdr. Parrott rifles, 4 x 9” Dahlgren Smoothbores, 1 x heavy 12-pdr. Smoothbore, 1 x 12-pdr. rifle, 2 x 24-pdrs. (October 12, 1864)15
  • Note:
    • On September 1, 1864, this ship is noted as “repairing, Aug. 6, 1864.”16
    • On September 16 and October 1, 1864, this ship is noted as “repairing and fitting for blockade.”17,18

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

  • Not Present.

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

  • Not Present. (away in North Carolina)

Eighth Offensive Order of Battle (January 1-February 28, 1865):

Not Present (away in North Carolina) (January 1-February ??, 1865)

James River, Va. (February 25, 1865) | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy19

  • Captain: Commander John M. B. Clitz (January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865)20,21,22,23
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament: 10 x “guns” (January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865)24,25,26,27
  • Notes:
    • Note: On January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865, this ship is noted as a “Class 3” vessel. 28,29,30,31
    • Based on the lists of vessels in the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron for February 15 and February 25, 1865, the USS Osceola returned to the James River from North Carolina sometime between those two dates. More research is needed.32,33

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)34,35,36

  • Captain: Commander John M. B. Clitz (March 18 and April 1 & 15, 1865)37,38,39
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
    • 10 x “guns” (March 18 and April 1 & 15, 1865)40,41,42
    • 2 x 100-pdr. Parrott rifles, 1 x 11” Dahlgren Smoothbore, 4 x 9” Dahlgren Smoothbores, 1 x heavy 12-pdr. Smoothbore, 1 x 12-pdr. rifle, 2 x 24-pdrs. (March 31, 1865)43
  • Note: On March 18 and April 1 & 15, 1865, this ship is noted as a “Paddle Class” vessel.44,45,46

Siege of Petersburg Battles:

 

Siege of Petersburg Involvement:48

The first Osceola, a wooden, side-wheel, double-ended gunboat was launched 29 May 1863 by Curtis and Tilden, Boston; delivered to the Navy at the Boston Navy Yard 9 January 1864; and commissioned there 10 February 1864, Comdr. John M. B. Clitz in command.

Osceola departed Boston 22 April [1864], towing monitor Canonicus, and reached Hampton Roads 3 May [1864]. The next night, the double-ender got underway up the James River in a joint Army-Navy expedition and helped clear a safe path through the Confederate mine field for sister ships and Army transports. The troops landed at Bermuda Hundred, Va. in an operation helping Grant to tighten his squeeze on Richmond.

In ensuing months Osceola continued operations on the James River supporting Grant’s relentless offensive. She and Miami drove off Southern batteries which were firing on Union transports near Harrison’s Landing, Va. [on August 4, 1864.] This and similar Naval efforts to protect Grant’s lines of supply and communications contributed greatly to the success of the campaign against the Confederate capital.

Late in December, Osceola steamed down the coast for the joint attack on Ft. Fisher which protected Wilmington. The Union troops withdrew from their beachheads on Christmas Day, but the Naval commander, Rear Adm. Porter was not to be denied. He returned to the Cape Fear River 13 January [1865] and, after 3 days fighting, Ft. Fisher fell.

Osceola decommissioned at Boston Navy Yard 13 May 1865 and was sold at auction 1 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. 167
    3. John M. B. Clitz image.  MOLLUS-Mass Civil War Photograph Collection, Vol. 64, Page 3160.  United States Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle, PA. This is a postwar 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, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 167
    7. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 324325
    8. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 370371
    9. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, p. 326
    10. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 370371
    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, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 167
    15. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 167
    16. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 410412
    17. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 462463
    18. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 514515
    19. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 5455
    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 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 XI, pp. 398400
    29. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 597599
    30. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
    31. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 2021: typo showing “Class 10”, but they clearly just copied over the number of guns.  The ship didn’t suddenly change classes and back!
    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 XII, pp. 5455
    34. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
    35. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
    36. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
    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. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
    41. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
    42. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
    43. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 167
    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. “Osceola I (Side-wheel Double-ended Gunboat).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/o/osceola-i.html.
    48. “Osceola I (Side-wheel Double-ended Gunboat).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/o/osceola-i.html.

    ***



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    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    Lisa Fulton April 23, 2019 at 9:38 am

    Hello Brett – here is an excerpt from a Confederate letter that connects, I think, with the Osceola’s involvement on 4 August 1864.
    Written by Capt Henry Jeffers, 7th Regt SCC, to his sister on 6 August 1864:
    “…I returned from [Richmond] 12 o’clock Tuesday night..On reaching camp I found the Regt had been ordered to prepare two days rations, was to leave next morning at 4 o’clock for Charles City CH. The Regt left as ordered Wednesday morning and returned Thursday night [August 4th]. The object was to protect some artillery that went down to fire into the transports of the enemy in the James River. I do not think much damage was done them & we had a very hot and dusty time. Our camp is at the old place near Malvern Hill. If Genl Gary does not get sick of inactivity, we may have a little quiet.”

    If the Osceola was at the Norfolk Navy Shipyard for repairs a bit later in August, maybe some “damage was done them” after all.

    I really like your series here, and always look to learn something new. I’ll try to soon write up excerpts from the letters of Thomas Jeffers, Henry’s brother, that connect with the Osceola’s and other ships’ involvement at Wilmington.

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