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 Sangamon Type: Single-turreted Monitor Tonnage: 844 (1,875)
Length: 200’ Beam: 46’ Draught: August, 1864: 12’
Speed: Max: 7 knots Complement: 75 men Class: Passaic
Armament: October 1, 1864: 1 15″ Dahlgren Smoothbore, 1 11″ Dahlgren Smoothbore, 1 12-pdr. rifle, 1 12-pdr. Smoothbore

December 31, 1864: 1 15″ Dahlgren Smoothbore, 1 11″ Dahlgren Smoothbore, 1 12-pdr. rifle

April 1, 1865: 1 15″ Dahlgren Smoothbore, 1 11″ Dahlgren Smoothbore

Namesake: A river in central Illinois.

Images:

NH 51953 Passaic Class Monitor (Probably Sangamon)3

 

Captain(s):
Lieutenant Commander Jonathan Young
Captain Image

Lieutenant Commander Ralph Chandler
Captain Image

Captain 3
Captain Image

 

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

  • Not present at the Siege of Petersburg.

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

  • Not present at the Siege of Petersburg.

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

  • Not present at the Siege of Petersburg.

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

  • Not present at the Siege of Petersburg.

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

  • Not present at the Siege of Petersburg.
  • Armament: 1 x 15″ Dahlgren Smoothbore, 1 x 11″ Dahlgren Smoothbore, 1 x 12-pdr. rifle, 1 x 12-pdr. Smoothbore (October 1, 1864)4

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

  • Not present at the Siege of Petersburg.

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

  • Not present at the Siege of Petersburg.
  • Armament:1 x 15″ Dahlgren Smoothbore, 1 x 11″ Dahlgren Smoothbore, 1 x 12-pdr. rifle (December 31, 1864)5

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

Not present at the Siege of Petersburg, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron (prior to February 27, 1865)6

Not present at the Siege of Petersburg, at Cape Fear River, NC (February 27-March 4, 1865)7

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:

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

Not present at the Siege of Petersburg, at Cape Fear River, NC (March 1-March 4, 1865)8,9

Reached the James River (March 5, 1865)10,11

James River, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (March 18 and April 1 & 15, 1865)12,13,14

  • Captain:
    • Lieutenant Commander Jonathan Young (March 18, 1865)15
    • Lieutenant Commander Ralph Chandler (April 1 & 15, 1865)16,17
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
    • 2 x “guns” (March 18 and April 1 & 15, 1865)18,19,20
    • 1 x 15″ Dahlgren Smoothbore, 1 x 11″ Dahlgren Smoothbore (April 1, 1865)21
  • Note: On March 18 and April 1 & 15, 1865, this ship is noted as a “Screw Class” vessel.22,23,24

 

Siege of Petersburg Battles:

  • Clearing the James River of Mines (April 3, 1865)

 

Siege of Petersburg Involvement:25

The first Sangamon, a Passaic-class monitor built by John Ericsson, was laid down under the name Conestoga in the summer of 1862; renamed Sangamon on 9 September 1862; launched on 27 October 1862; and commissioned on 9 February 1863 at Chester, Pa., Comdr. Pierce Crosby in command.

The monitor was assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron and soon began efficient but unspectacular operations in Hampton Roads and in the roughly parallel rivers which drain tidewater Virginia and empty into Chesapeake Bay. Sangamon was one of the vital ships of the Navy which guaranteed the Union Army control of the waters which border and penetrate the bitterly contested land which separated Washington and Richmond.

[SOPO Editor’s Note: Although what you will read below has been widely reprinted in all of the usual sources like Wikipedia, I believe the information crossed out below about Sangamon participating in the Siege of Petersburg via operations along the James River at any point in 1864 is incorrect.  Volume 11 of the Official Records of the Navy, which covers operations of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron from October 1864 to February 1, 1865, and by extension the operations on the James River, does not mention the Sangamon one single time. In addition, the orders of battle in the same book for the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron do not list the ship as being present one single time. Volume 12 of the ORN, however, covering events from February 1, 1865 and on, contains multiple references to the Sangamon. By the existing documentation it looks like the monitor was ordered to the James River, specifically Trent’s Reach, on February 27, 1865 or shortly thereafter by Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter.26.  From the same volume of the ORN, it appears the Sangamon reached Fort Monroe at 2:30 p.m. on March 5, 1865, and was sent upriver to the front.27.  I have crossed out the information below which I believe to be incorrect. If someone has more information on the whereabouts of the Sangamon, please use the Contact link at the top of the page. I suspect, without actually going to check, that the Sangamon was with the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron for most of 1864 and into early 1865 before heading to Wilmington, NC too late to be of use there, and finally was sent on to the James River as discussed above.]

After repairs at Philadelphia on 21 February 1864, she was towed by Wachusetts to Port Royal, S.C., for duty with the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. After blockade duty off Charleston, she returned to Hampton Roads in the summer to support Grant’s drive on Richmond.

Sangamon performed widely varied duties. She conducted reconnaissance expeditions up the river to obtain information, and often dueled Southern forces hidden along the banks. She guarded Union troop concentrations and served as part of the Union naval force which patrolled the upper James to prevent the Confederate flotilla from threatening Union transports.

Early in April 1865, during the final thrust on Richmond, she assisted in clearing the river of Confederate torpedoes so that Union shipping could proceed safely to the Confederate capital.

After the war ended, Sangamon was decommissioned at Philadelphia and placed in reserve. No record has been found of any subsequent active service until she was recommissioned on 13 May 1898 for service during the Spanish-American War. The old monitor was stationed at Fisher’s Island, Long Island. In 1899, she returned to reserve at League Island, Pa., and she remained there until she was sold in 1905.

 

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. 199
    3. “Passaic Class Monitor.” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/our-collections/photography/numerical-list-of-images/nhhc-series/nh-series/NH-51000/NH-51953.html. Title: Passaic Class Monitor Description: Ship’s officers on the deck of a Passaic class monitor, circa 1864-65. This ship has been identified in one published source as USS Sangamon and in another as USS Patapsco. Other photographs (see Photo # 111-B-80 and Photo # 111-B-1961) strongly indicate that it is the former. Note anchor chain on deck, ventilators erected over deck fittings, thin white band painted around the turret top, uneven height of the turret gunports, and Dahlgren howitzer on a field carriage. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph. Catalog #: NH 51953
    4. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 199
    5. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 199
    6. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 12, pp. 5556
    7. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 12, pp. 5556
    8. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 12, pp. 5556
    9. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 12, p. 60
    10. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 12, pp. 5556
    11. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 12, p. 60
    12. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
    13. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
    14. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
    15. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
    16. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
    17. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
    18. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
    19. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
    20. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
    21. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 199
    22. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
    23. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
    24. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
    25. “Sangamon I (Passaic-class Monitor).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/s/sangamon-i.html.
    26. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 12, pp. 5556
    27. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 12, p. 60

    ***



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