USS Sciota

The USS Sciota was a Unadilla-class "90 day" gunboat, launched 15 October 1861 and commissioned 15 December 1861. She was assigned to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron and arrived on station 8 January 1862.

Actions Sciota participated in include the Battle of Forts St. Philip and Jackson, the Siege of Vicksburg and attacks upon Galveston.

On 14 April 1865, Sciota was returning a working party to the USS Elk when a mine exploded under the berth deck and she sank in the Blakely River. From her CO's report to Acting RADM Henry K. Thatcher:

Off Mobile, Ala., April 14, 1865

Admiral, I have the painful duty to respectfully report the sinking of the United States steamer Sciota, under my command, by a rebel torpedo, and the loss of four men and wounding of six others. In obedience to orders from Fleet-Captain E. Simpson, I had finished coaling the barge from the brig American Union, and had delivered to the Itasca, Sebago, and Genesee the working parties belonging to the aforesaid vessels, and were proceeding towards the eastern shore on a east-southeast course for the purpose of delivering ten men of the working party to the United States steamer Elk, when I ran against a torpedo, which was below the surface of the water, exploding it, causing the vessel to sink immediately nearly decks to the water. The explosion was terrible, breaking the beams of the spar-deck, tearing open the water-ways, ripping off starboard fore chancels, and breaking fore top-mast. I have examined the decks and water-days immediately over the pace where the explosion took place, and, in my opinion, the damage is not so extensive as to prevent raising her. I have also questioned those of the crew who were on the berth-deck at the time of the explosion, and their evidence in regard to the effect upon the berth-deck by the explosion leads me to think that it struck the vessel below the line of the berth-deck, and under and abreast of the fore rigging at the first bow cant or round of the bow.

Since the sinking of the vessel I have recovered three of the bodies of the missing men. I must thank the captain of the Cowslip for his prompt assistance in removing the wounded from this vessel.

I have the honor to be, respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. W. Maguire, U.S.N.
Volunteer Lieut., Commanding.

APRIL 15, 1865

P.S. - Since writing this report, I have recovered the body of another man belonging to the United States steamer Elk.

  • USS Sciota on NavSource
  • USS Sciota on Wikipedia

  • Deaths

      Name Rate/Rank Date of Death
    øJohn W. BayardBoatswain's Mate14 April 1865
    øJacob BrownBoatswain's Mate14 April 1865
    Augustine EllsworthOrdinary Seaman28 June 1862
    George FaulkenbergFireman 1st Class24 October 1863
    Charles E. HammondAssistant Paymaster27 February 1862
    George HollandBoatswain's Mate13 April 1862
    øJeremiah HorriganCoxswain14 April 1865
    ✚ ⋂Morris O'BrienSurgeon's Steward17 April 1865
    William PrendwellSailmaker's Mate5 May 1865
    William ReidSailmaker's Mate20 October 1863
    øJohn S. RobinsonCaptain of the Forecastle14 April 1865
    ✚ ⋂Simon RobshawOrdinary Seaman23 September 1864
    Charles RogersGunner's Mate18 April 1863
    ⚔ ⋂Charles H. SwaseyLieutenant4 October 1862


    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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