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Ship Information (from DANFS)1,2:

Name: USS Seneca Type: Screw Gunboat Tonnage: 507
Length: 158’4” Beam: 28’ Draught: Loaded: 10’6”, Light: 9’; Forward: 8’3”, Aft: 9’9”
Speed: Max: 11.5 knots, Avg.: 9.5 knots Complement: 84 men Class: Not Listed.
Armament: November 1864: 1 11″ Dahlgren Smoothbore, 1 20-pdr. Parrott rifle, 2 24-pdr. howitzers, 1 12-pdr. rifle
Namesake: An Indian tribe of the Iroquois confederation formerly living in New York state.

Images:

Closeup of USS Seneca from "Reconnoissance of Vernon River, Ossabaw Sound, Georgia, Discovery of a Rebel Battery and Camp.", 11 December 18613

 

Captain(s):
Lieutenant Commander George E. Belknap
Captain Image

Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Sicard
Captain Image

Lieutenant Commander Elias K. Owen
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):

Recommissioned and assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron (October 3, 1864)4

Unsure if present at the Siege of Petersburg. (Source needed.)

  • Captain: Lieutenant Commander George E. Belknap (October 3, 1864)5
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:

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

Unsure if present at the Siege of Petersburg. (Source needed.)

  • Captain:
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:

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

Away in North Carolina (November 1, 1864)6

Norfolk Navy Yard, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (December 5, 1864)7

Away in North Carolina (December 15, 1864)8

  • Captain:
    • Lieutenant Commander George E. Belknap (November 1, 1864)9
    • Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Sicard (December 5 & 15, 1864)10,11
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament: 1 x 11″ Dahlgren Smoothbore, 1 x 20-pdr. Parrott rifle, 2 x 24-pdr. howitzers, 1 x 12-pdr. rifle (November ??, 1864)12:

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

Away in North Carolina at Beaufort (January 1, 1865)13

Away in North Carolina off Fort Fisher (January 15, 1865)14

Away in North Carolina on the Cape Fear River (February 1 & 15, 1865)15,16

James River, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (February 25, 1865)17

  • Captain: Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Sicard (January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865)18,19,20,21
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament: 5 x “guns” (January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865)22,23,24,25
  • Note: On January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865, this ship is noted as a “Class 4” vessel.26,27,28,29

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

Hampton Roads, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (March 18, 1865)30

James River, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (April 1, 1865)31

Norfolk, Va. (repairing) | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (April 15, 1865)32

  • Captain:
    • Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Sicard (March 18, 1865)33
    • Lieutenant Commander Elias K. Owen (April 1 & 15, 1865)34,35
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament: 5 x “guns” (March 18 and April 1 & 15, 1865)36,37,38
  • Note: On March 18, 1865, this ship is noted as a “Screw Class” vessel and  a “guard ship.”39
  • Note: On April 1 & 15, 1865, this ship is noted as a “Screw Class” vessel.40,41

 

Siege of Petersburg Battles:

  • TBD

 

Siege of Petersburg Involvement:42

The first Seneca, a wooden-hulled “ninety day gunboat” built at New York City by J. Simonson, was launched on 27 August 1861; and commissioned at the New York Navy Yard on 14 October 1861, Lt. Daniel Ammen in command…She later returned via Port Royal to the New York Navy Yard where she was decommissioned on 15 January 1864.

She was recommissioned on 3 October 1864, [Lieutenant Commander] Comdr. George E. Belknap in command, and was assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. On 24 and 25 December 1864, Seneca took part in the abortive attack on Fort Fisher; and, between 13 and 15 January 1865, she participated in the successful second attack which finally captured that Southern coastal stronghold and doomed Wilmington, closing the Confederacy’s last major seaport. On 17 February [1865], she was in the force which attacked Fort Anderson and captured it two days later.

At the end of the war, Seneca returned to Norfolk, Va., where she was decommissioned on 24 June 1865. The ship was sold on 10 September 1868 at Norfolk to Purvis and Company.

 

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. 205
      3. Closeup of USS Seneca from “Reconnoissance of Vernon River, Ossabaw Sound, Georgia, Discovery of a Rebel Battery and Camp.”, 11 December 1861 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-59000/NH-59309.html. Title: Reconnoissance of Vernon River… Description: Line engraving published in Harper’s Weekly, January 1862. It depicts Federal warships engaging the Confederate battery, shown in the far left distance. Ships, as identified below the image bottom, are (from left): USS Seneca, USS Pembina, USS Ottawa and Steamer Mary Andrew. For the original sketch from which this engraving was made, see Photo # NH 59310. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph. Catalog #: NH 59309
      4. “Seneca I (Gunboat).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/s/seneca-i.html.
      5. “Seneca I (Gunboat).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/s/seneca-i.html.
      6. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 3940
      7. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 140142
      8. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 192194
      9. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 3940
      10. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 140142
      11. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 192194
      12. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 205
      13. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 398400
      14. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 597599
      15. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
      16. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 2021
      17. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 5455
      18. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 398400
      19. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 597599
      20. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
      21. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 2021
      22. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 398400
      23. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 597599
      24. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
      25. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 2021
      26. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 398400
      27. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 597599
      28. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
      29. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 2021
      30. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
      31. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
      32. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
      33. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
      34. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
      35. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
      36. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
      37. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
      38. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
      39. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
      40. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
      41. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
      42. “Seneca I (Gunboat).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/s/seneca-i.html.

      ***



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