USS Great Western (1857)

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Career (US) 100x35px
Laid down: date unknown
Launched: 1857
Acquired: 30 September 1862
In service: circa 10 February 1862
Out of service: circa March 1865
Struck: 1865 (est.)
Fate: sold, 29 November 1865
General characteristics
Displacement: 429 tons
Length: not known
Beam: not known
Draught: not known
Propulsion: steam engine
side wheel-propelled
Speed: 6 knots (est.)
Complement: not known
Armament: one 12-pounder gun
one 32-pounder gun
one 6-pounder gun

USS Great Western (1857) was a steamer acquired by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was used by the Union Navy as an ammunition ship in support of the Union Navy.

Purchased for use as an ammunition ship

Great Western, a sidewheel steamer, was built at Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1857 and was purchased by the U.S. War Department 10 February 1862. She was transferred to the Union Navy 30 September 1862, but had been used since her purchase by the Western Flotilla.

Supplying Union ships on the Mississippi with ammunition

Great Western was used as an ordnance boat for the Navy on the western waters, and in that capacity operated from Cairo, Illinois, to various points on the Mississippi River and its tributaries. She supplied ships at the mouths of the White and Arkansas Rivers with ammunition and ordnance, and occasionally fired at Confederate batteries ashore in the almost daily engagements in keeping open the far-spreading river highway system by which the Union divided and destroyed the South.

While with the Mortar Flotilla 30 July 1862 she fired on cavalry attacking the boats near the mouth of the Arkansas River and succeeded in driving them off.

Supporting Vicksburg campaign operations

During 1862 and the first half of 1863, the overriding concern of Union forces was the capture of Vicksburg, and Great Western spent much of her time during this period near the mouth of the Yazoo River above the city in support of combined operations there.

Post-Vicksburg campaign operations

She provided support for the joint attacks of December 1862 above the city, and remained in the area until the Confederate stronghold fell in July 1863. Following the fall of Vicksburg, Great Western continued her duties as supply ship for the squadron, being stationed at Skipwith's Landing, Mississippi, and Goodrich's Landing, Louisiana. In July 1864 she was sent back to Cairo, Illinois, to act as a receiving ship.

Post-war decommissioning and sale

Great Western was transferred as receiving ship, Mound City, Illinois, in March 1865, and was subsequently sold at auction there to John Riley 29 November 1865.


This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

See also

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