|Builder:||Mallory Yard, Mystic, Connecticut|
|Laid down:||January or early February 1861|
|Acquired:||31 December 1861 at New York City|
|Commissioned:||circa February 1862|
|Out of service:||24 April 1862|
|Fate:||sunk in action 24 April 1862|
|Length:||218 ft (66 m)|
|Beam:||34 ft 8 in (10.57 m)|
|Depth of hold:||18 ft 3 in (5.56 m)|
USS Varuna (1861) was a heavy (1,300 ton) steam-powered ship acquired by the Union Navy during the early days of the American Civil War. She was outfitted with powerful 8-inch guns and assigned, as a gunboat, to the Union blockade of the waterways of the Confederate States of America.
Varuna, the first U.S. Navy ship to bear the name, was originally intended for merchant service between New York City and New Orleans. She was laid down in late January or early February 1861 at the Mallory Yard, Mystic, Connecticut; launched there in the following September; and purchased by the Navy at New York City on 31 December 1861.
On 10 February 1862, she was ordered to remain in New York until Monitor was ready for action so that she might escort the new ironclad from New York to Hampton Roads, Virginia, to protect the wooden-hulled Union blockaders there from the Southern armored ram, CSS Virginia.
However, these orders were revoked later that same day; and Varuna was assigned to the newly established West Gulf Blockading Squadron. En route south late in February, Varuna put into Port Royal, South Carolina, for repairs, where the ship's commanding officer, Commander Charles S. Boggs, assumed temporary command of the harbor on 24 February during Flag Officer Samuel F. Du Pont's absence. The gunboat finally joined Rear Admiral David G. Farragut's West Gulf Blockading Squadron on 6 March.
On 24 April 1862, Varuna was with the squadron during Farragut's daring nighttime dash past Confederate works guarding the Mississippi below New Orleans – Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip.
At the height of the melee, Varuna was rammed twice by the steamer CSS Governor Moore and struck twice again immediately thereafter by the cotton-clad ram CSS Stonewall Jackson. After striking Varuna, CSN Lt. Beverly Kennon, in command of one of the Confederate warships, Governor Moore– found himself unable to depress his guns far enough to fire upon the Union vessel. So he shot through the bow of his own ship and used the resulting hole as a gun port.
Fatally damaged, Varuna backed off from the Confederate vessels and continued to subject them to a withering fire until rising water silenced her guns. Eight sailors of the Varuna received the Medal of Honor for their actions during the battle: Seaman Thomas Bourne, Landsman Amos Bradley, Captain of the Forecastle John Greene, Third Class Boy George Hollat, Seaman William Martin, Quartermaster John McGowan, Coxswain William McKnight, and Second Class Boy Oscar E. Peck.
Rear Admiral Farragut's stunning victory at and subsequent capture of New Orleans itself electrified the North. Varuna's part in the Union triumph was soon commemorated in George Henry Boker's poem, "The Varuna", which appeared in the Philadelphia Press on 12 May.
USS Brooklyn (1858) was a sloop-of-war authorized by the U.S. Congress and commissioned in 1859. Brooklyn was active in Caribbean operations until the start of the American Civil War at which time she became an active participant in the Union blockade of the Confederate States of America.
CSS McRae was a Confederate gunboat that saw service during the American Civil War. Displacing around 680 tons, she was armed with one 9-inch (229 mm) smoothbore and six 32-pounder (15 kg) smoothbore cannon.
USS Katahdin was a Unadilla-class gunboat built for the U.S. Navy during the American Civil War.
USS Hartford, a sloop-of-war, steamer, was the first ship of the United States Navy named for Hartford, the capital of Connecticut. Hartford served in several prominent campaigns in the American Civil War as the flagship of David G. Farragut, most notably the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864. She survived until 1956, when she sank awaiting restoration at Norfolk, Virginia.
The second USS Metacomet was a wooden sidewheel steamer in the United States Navy during the American Civil War. The ship was named for Metacomet, a war chief of the Wampanoag Indians.
The first USS Miami was a side-wheel steamer, double-ender gunboat in the United States Navy during the American Civil War.
USS Richmond was a wooden steam sloop in the United States Navy during the American Civil War.
USS Sciota was a Unadilla-class gunboat built on behalf of the United States Navy for service during the Civil War. She was outfitted as a gunboat, with both a 20-pounder rifle for horizontal firing, and two howitzers for shore bombardment, and assigned to the Union blockade of the waterways of the Confederate States of America.
USS Chickasaw was an ironclad Milwaukee-class river monitor built for the United States Navy during the American Civil War. The ship participated in the Battle of Mobile Bay in August 1864, during which she was lightly damaged, and the bombardments of Forts Gaines and Morgan as Union troops besieged the fortifications defending the bay. In March–April 1865, Chickasaw again supported Union forces during the Mobile Campaign as they attacked Confederate fortifications defending the city of Mobile, Alabama.
The first USS Lackawanna was a screw-propelled sloop-of-war in the Union Navy during the American Civil War.
USS Seneca was a Unadilla-class gunboat built on behalf of the United States Navy for service during the American Civil War. Seneca was outfitted with guns for horizontal fire as well as with two howitzers for bombardment of shore targets. With her crew of 84, she was assigned to the Union blockade of the Confederate States of America.
The first USS Ossipee was a wooden, screw sloop-of-war in commission in the United States Navy at various times between 1861 and 1889. She served in the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was named for the Ossipee River of New Hampshire and Maine. The USS Ossipee was present during the Alaska Purchase.
The second USS Oneida was a screw sloop-of-war in the United States Navy. During the Civil War, she destroyed the CSS Governor Moore and served in blockade operations. She was attached to the Asiatic Squadron from 1867–1870. She sank in 1870 outside Yokohama, Japan after collision with the British steamer Bombay. A court of inquiry, headed by the local British consul, found the officers of Oneida were responsible for the collision, with Bombay's captain being blamed for not staying at the scene to render assistance - a decision that caused some controversy. A less exhaustive U.S. naval court of inquiry laid the blame entirely on the Bombay's actions. Japanese fishing boats saved 61 sailors but 125 men lost their lives. The American government made no attempt to raise the wreck and sold it to a Japanese wrecking company. The company recovered many bones from the wreck and interred them at their own expense. The Japanese erected a memorial tablet on the grounds of Ikegami Temple in Tokyo and held a Buddhist ceremony in the sailor's memory in May 1889.
The Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Philip was the decisive battle for possession of New Orleans in the American Civil War. The two Confederate forts on the Mississippi River south of the city were attacked by a Union Navy fleet. As long as the forts could keep the Federal forces from moving on the city, it was safe, but if they were negated, there were no fall-back positions to impede the Union advance.
The City-class ironclad USS Cincinnati was a stern-wheel casemate gunboat in the United States Navy during the American Civil War. She was named for Cincinnati, Ohio, and was the first ship to bear that name in the United States Navy.
USS Owasco was a Unadilla-class gunboat built for the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was named for Owasco Lake.
USS Winona was a Unadilla-class gunboat built for service with the Union Navy during the American Civil War. Winona was heavily armed, with large guns for duels at sea, and 24-pounder howitzers for shore bombardment. Winona saw significant action in the Gulf of Mexico and in the waterways of the Mississippi River and was fortunate to return home safely after the war for decommissioning.
USS Octorara was a steamer acquired by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was used by the Navy to patrol navigable waterways of the Confederacy to prevent the South from trading with other countries.
USS Calhoun was a captured Confederate steamer and blockade runner acquired by the Union Navy from the prize court during the American Civil War.
William Martin was a Union Navy sailor in the American Civil War and a recipient of the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions at the Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Philip.
This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships .The entry can be found here.