≡ Menu

ORN Series 1, Vol. X: Report of Lieutenant Commander Charles H. Cushman, USS Onondaga, June 21, 1864

[Engagement of Federal fleet with Confederate ironclads and shore batteries at Howlett’s, June 21, 1864.]

[Enclosure 3.]

U. S. S. Onondaga,
James River, Virginia, June 23, 1864.

An image of the double turreted monitor Onondaga

The Onondaga fired with both of her turrets during the Action at Howlett’s Bluff, June 21, 1864. (National Archives)

Sir: In obedience to your order, I submit the following report of the part taken by this vessel in the exchange of fire between the rebel battery near Howlett’s house and the ironclads of this squadron.

At 12:45 p. m., June 21, went to quarters in obedience to signal and opened fire on the battery with both rifle guns and forward XV-inch. At 1:30 ceased firing with after rifle and forward XV-inch. At 3:30 ceased firing with forward rifle and opened fire with after rifle. At 5 p. m. ceased fire altogether.

Expended 2 XV-inch charges, 45 pounds; 2 XV-inch shell, 10-second; 39 16-pound charges, 8-inch rifles; 39 percussion shell, 8-inch rifles.

The 45-pound charge in XV-inch was just able to reach over the battery; distance, say, 2,300 yards. Elevation of battery, say, 90 feet.

The rifles reached with about 7 degrees elevation, and all the projectiles fell near or at their mark, many with excellent effect.

The battery appeared much cut up by the fire of the ironclads.

The return fire from the battery, and also that from the direction of Cox’s Landing, supposed to be from the rebel ironclads, came near, but was not of importance.

Neither this vessel nor any of those on board were injured.

Some projectiles struck quite near, and one exploded near enough to throw pieces on deck, but beyond this the vessel was not struck.

Everything worked to my entire satisfaction and the vessel was comfortable.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C[harles]. H. CUSHMAN,
Lieutenant- Commander.

Acting Rear-Admiral S[amuel]. P. Lee,
Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, James River.1

Map of the June 21, 1864 Action at Howlett's Bluff

This map shows the June 21, 1864 Action at Howlett’s Bluff, covered in this report.


  1. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, pp. 181182
{ 0 comments… add one }

Leave a Reply