USS Stepping Stones

   

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in Union Navy

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 Stepping Stones Type: Sidewheel Gunboat Tonnage: 226
Length: 110’ Beam: 24’ Draught: Loaded: 4’6”, Light: 3’9”
Speed: Max: 14 knots Complement: 21 men Class: Not Listed.
Armament: May 23, 1863: 3 12-pdrs., 2 heavy 12-pdr. Smoothbores

March 31, 1865: 3 12-pdr. Rifles, 3 heavy 12-pdr. Smoothbores

Namesake: Not Listed.

Images:

Image Needed (Does One Exist?)

 

Captain(s):
Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Daniel A. Campbell
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Captain 2
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Captain 3
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First Offensive Order of Battle (June 13-18, 1864): James River, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (June 17, 1864)3

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  • Note: On June 17, 1864, this ship is noted as on “advance guard duty; Trent’s Reach” and “above Wilson’s Wharf.”4

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

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Third Offensive Order of Battle (July 1-31, 1864): Fourth Division (James River) | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (July 31, 1864)5

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Fourth Offensive Order of Battle (August 1-31, 1864): Fourth Division (James River) | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (August 1 & 17, 1864)6,7

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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)8,9,10

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  • Note: On October 1, 1864, this ship is noted as in “James River.”11

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

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

Norfolk Navy Yard, Va. (repairing) (November 1, 1864) | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy12

Not Present (transferred to Potomac Flotilla) (December 5, 1864)13

  • Captain:
    • Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Daniel A. Campbell (November 1, 1864)14
    • Not Listed. (December 5, 1864)15
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  • Note: Based on the lists of vessels in the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron on November 1 and December 5, 1864, the Stepping Stones transferred to the Potomac Flotilla at some point between those dates.  More research is needed.16,17

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

  • Not Present

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

  • Not Present

 

Siege of Petersburg Battles:

  • TBD

 

Siege of Petersburg Involvement:18

Stepping Stones, a wooden ferryboat built at New York City in 1861, was purchased by the Navy at New York on 30 September 1861, and was commissioned on or before 21 October 1861.

Highlights of Stepping Stones service were the operations on the James in July 1862 to help protect General McClellan’s beleaguered army at Harrison’s Landing; her rescuing, under heavy fire, of Mount Washington when that ship had been grounded and disabled near Suffolk, Va.; and her participation in a mid-April 1864 Army-Navy expedition up the Nansemond River. In May 1864, she became part of a torpedo sweeping and patrol force on the James.

On 9 November [1864], she captured two blockade-running sloops, Reliance and Little Elmer, in Mobjack Bay. In March 1865, less than a month before Lee surrendered, Stepping Stones was in a naval expedition up Mattox Creek to Colonial Beach, Va., where the Union ships attacked a supply base for Confederate guerrillas operating on the peninsula between that river and the Potomac.

After the war ended, Stepping Stones was decommissioned at the Washington Navy Yard on 23 June1865 and was sold on 12 July 1865 to W. D. Wallach. Redocumented as Cambridge on 27 July 1865, the steamer was reduced to a barge on 2 August 1871 and soon disappeared from maritime records.

 

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. 214
      3. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 157158
      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. 324325
      6. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 370371
      7. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, p. 326
      8. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 410412
      9. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 462463
      10. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 514515
      11. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume X, pp. 514515
      12. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 3940
      13. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 140142
      14. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 3940
      15. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 140142
      16. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 3940
      17. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 140142
      18. “Stepping Stones.” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/s/stepping-stones.html.

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