USS Osceola (1863)

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Name: USS Osceola
Namesake: Osceola (1804-1838), a noted Seminole chief and leader during the Second Seminole War (1835-1842)
Builder: Curtis and Tilden, Boston, Massachusetts
Launched: 29 May 1863
Commissioned: 10 February 1864
Decommissioned: 13 May 1865
Fate: Sold 1 October 1867
General characteristics
Type: Gunboat
Tonnage: 974
Length: 205 ft 0 in (62.48 m)
Beam: 35 ft 0 in (10.67 m)
Draft: 8 ft 8.5 in (2.654 m)
Depth: 11 ft 6 in (3.51 m)
Propulsion: Steam
Speed: 15 knots
Armament: 2 x 110-pounder Parrott rifles
4 x 9-inch (229-millimeter) Dahlgren smoothbore guns
1 x heavy 12-pounder smoothbore gun
1 x 12-pounder rifled gun
1 x 24-pounder gun

The first USS Osceola was a wooden, sidewheel, double-ended United States Navy gunboat in commission from 1864 to 1865 which saw combat in the American Civil War.

Construction and commissioning

Osceola was launched on 29 May 1863 by Curtis and Tilden at Boston, Massachusetts. She was delivered to the U.S. Navy at the Boston Navy Yard on 9 January 1864 and commissioned there on 10 February 1864 with Commander J. M. B. Cletz in command.


Osceola departed Boston on 22 April 1864 towing the monitor USS Canonicus and reached Hampton Roads, Virginia, on 3 May 1864. The next night, she got underway up Virginia's James River in a joint United States Army-United States Navy expedition and helped clear a safe path through a Confederate minefield for sister ships and Army transports. The troops landed at Bermuda Hundred, Virginia, in an operation helping General Ulysses S. Grant to tighten his squeeze on the Confederate capital, Richmond, Virginia.

In ensuing months Osceola continued operations on the James River supporting Grant’s offensive. She and gunboat USS Miami drove off Confederate batteries which were firing on Union transports near Harrison's Landing, Virginia. This and similar U.S. Navy efforts to protect Grant’s lines of supply and communications contributed greatly to the success of the campaign against the Confederate capital.

Late in December 1864, Osceola steamed down the United States East Coast for a joint attack on Fort Fisher, which protected Wilmington, North Carolina. The Union troops withdrew from their beachheads on 25 December 1864, but the naval commander, Rear Admiral David Porter was not to be denied. He returned to the Cape Fear River on 13 January 1865 and, after three days of fighting, Fort Fisher fell to Union forces.

Post War

Osceola decommissioned at the Boston Navy Yard on 13 May 1865 and was sold at auction on 1 October 1867.