USS New London (1859)

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Career (US) Union Navy Jack 100x35px
Laid down: date unknown
Launched: 1859 at Mystic, Connecticut
Acquired: 26 August 1861 at New York City
Commissioned: 29 October 1861
at the New York Navy Yard
Decommissioned: 3 August 1865 at Boston, Massachusetts
Struck: 1865 (est.)
Fate: sold, 8 September 1865
in merchant service until 1910
General characteristics
Displacement: 221 tons
Length: 125’
Beam: 25’
Draught: depth of hold 7’ 8”
draft 9’ 6”
Propulsion: steam engine
Speed: 9.5 knots
Complement: 47 officers and enlisted
Armament: one 20-pounder Parrott rifle
four 32-pounder guns

USS New London (1859) was a screw steamer of the United States Navy during the American Civil War. She was outfitted with a Parrott rifle and 32-pounders, and was assigned as a gunboat in the Union blockade of the Confederate States of America.

Built in Connecticut in 1859

New London was built at Mystic, Connecticut in 1859, purchased by the Navy at New York City on 26 August 1861; and commissioned at New York Navy Yard on 29 October 1861, Lt. Abner Read in command.

Civil War service

Gulf of Mexico operations

Ordered to the Gulf of Mexico on 2 November, New London, aided by USS R. R. Cuyler, captured the schooner Olive laden with lumber shortly before midnight on 21 November. Early the next morning, she took the steamboat Anna carrying turpentine and rosin from Pascagoula, Mississippi, to New Orleans, Louisiana.

About dawn a week later, she took the steamboat Henry Lewis carrying sugar and molasses; and that afternoon she captured a schooner trying to slip through the blockade with naval stores for Havana, Cuba. On 28 November 1861 she captured SS A. J. View, which was later put into service in the U.S. Navy.

New London captured the steamer Advocate on 1 December; and the schooner Delight with sloops Empress and Osceola on December 9. On the 28th the schooner Gypsy became her prize.

Operations on shore

Not content just to capture ships, New London, with Water Witch and Henry Lewis, rounded out her record on the last day of 1861 by sending a landing party ashore to capture Biloxi, Mississippi, destroying a Confederate battery and taking possession of two guns and the schooner Captain Spedden.

On 20 February 1862 a boat expedition from New London landed on Cat Island, Mississippi and interned 12 small sloops and schooners suspected of being pilot boats for blockade runners.

On 4 April, with USS J. P. Jackson and USS Hatteras, New London engaged CSS Carondelet, CSS Pamlico, and CSS Oregon while Henry Lewis landed 1,200 Union Army troops at Pass Christian, Mississippi and destroyed a Confederate camp there. Boats from New London captured the yachts Comet and Algerine near New Basin, Louisiana on 2 June. On 17 June she captured and destroyed batteries at North and South passes.

Blockading the Texas coast

During the ensuing years New London served on blockade duty in the Gulf of Mexico, operating primarily off the Texas coast. She and Cayuga captured the British schooner Tampico off Sabine Pass, Texas, attempting to run out laden with cotton on 3 April 1863. On the 10th, while reconnoitering near Sabine City, a boat crew from New London captured a small sloop. Among the prisoners was Capt. Charles Fowler, CSN, who had commanded CSS Josiah Bell when the Confederate warship took Morning Light and Velocity in January.

On April 18, another boat expedition was surprised and driven off by Confederate troops.

On 7 July, with USS Monongahela, New London engaged batteries below Donaldsonville, Louisiana. Three days later, while steaming to New Orleans, the ship engaged Confederate batteries at White Hall Point, Mississippi.

Back off the Texas coast, she captured the schooner Raton del Nilo on 3 December.

Post-war decommissioning and subsequent career

New London continued to serve the West Gulf Blockading Squadron through the end of the Civil War. She sailed north on 12 July 1865 and decommissioned at Boston, Massachusetts, 3 August 1865. She was sold at public auction on 8 September 1865 to M. M. Comstock.

Redocumented as Acushnet on 27 December 1865, she operated in merchant service until 1910.


This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

See also