USS Rodolph

The USS Rodolph was a steamer purchased by RADM David D. Porter on 31 December 1863 for service in his Mississippi River Squadron. However, once she was commissioned in New Orleans on 28 May 1864, she was transferred to the West Gulf Squadron and served on the lower Mississippi until ordered to Mobile Bay 14 August 1864.

Inside the bay, she participated in the final surrender of Fort Morgan on 23 August, destroying salt works on the Bon Secours River, destroying a saw mill on the Fish River and minesweeping the bay.

On 1 April 1865, while Rodolph was towing a barge to assist in the salvage of the Milwaukee, she struck a mine and sank. The Rodolph's's CO's report of her loss:

USS Rodolph #48
Blakely River, Ala.
April 2nd, 1865

Sir, it becomes my duty to make to you the following report relative to the sinking of this vessel yesterday, by the explosion of a torpedo.

Having received orders to report on board the "Metacomet" at 10 A.M., I had left the ship for that purpose, leaving my vessel at anchor a short distance inside the bar, in charge of my Executive Office Acting Ensign T. F. Thompson, from him I have obtained the following information, which embraces all the facts connected with this unfortunate affair, up to the time of my arrival on board.

At 1 P.M. in obedience to signal from Flag Ship, weighed anchor, and passed within hail, receiving orders to take a barge alongside, containing apparatus for raising the "Milwaukee", and proceeded with it inside the bar, crossed the bar and stood up towards the "Milwaukee", at 2.40 P.M. when directly between the "Chickasaw" and "Winnebago," exploded a torpedo under our starboard bow, from the effect of which the ship rapidly sank in 12 feet of water.

I arrived on board at 3.20 P.M. and found the wounded properly cared for, by the promptness with which boats were sent to our assistance, from the vessels in the vicinity; the torpedo exploded under our starboard bow, about 30 feet abaft a line drawn at right angles with our stern, coming through the gun deck, at the break of the platform, on which our Parrot guns were mounted, and from the effects of the explosion that can be seen I should judge there was a hole through her bow about 10 feet in diameter. She now lies with her gundeck submerged about 5 1/2 feet at low water.

I regret to report a loss of 1 killed, 11 wounded and 3 missing. I enclose Surgeon's report of killed and wounded, also a certified list of the men on board with casualties.

All of the public property, such as small arms and that could be got at was at once removed to the deck above water, and I am now engaged in removing the guns.

The accounts of the ship, public money, and nearly all of the small stores were stored on the boiler deck, and thus are safe.

I desire to testify to the zeal manifested by my officers and men, in their efforts to save property and the cheerfulness with which they have obeyed all orders.

Very respectfully
Your Obedient Servant
N. M. Dyer
Acting Master Commanding.

  • USS Rodolph on Navsource

  • Deaths

      Name Rate/Rank Date of Death Age
    øJule Baltour1st Class Boy1 April 186519
    William Churchill1st Class Boy21 November 186420
    øMichael DriscollLandsman1 April 186525
    William FarleyLandsman3 July 186418
    Robert LatchieLandsman10 June 186443
    Austin E. PutnamLandsman29 August 186424
    øJohnston SmithLandsman1 April 186534
    øTheodore TexadaLandsman1 April 186523


    killed in action
    prisoner of war
    died of disease or injury
    died of yellow fever
    ø died due to vessel loss
    died in ordnance accident
    buried on land in marked grave
    buried/lost at sea
    🎖 Medal of Honor recipient
    transcribed letters of sailor/marine posted

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