The USS Sacramento was launched from the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine April 28th 1862. Her first assignment after being commissioned on January 7th 1863 with Commander Andrew E K Benham in charge was blockade duty off the North Carolina coast. She captured the blockade runner the British ship the Wanderer off the coast of Wilmington, North Carolina on May 1st 1863. In February 1864 the Sacramento was ordered to European waters where she cruised off the British and French coasts looking for Confederate blockade runners.
The Sacramento took part in detaining the CSS Rappahannock in France and the CSS Stonewall off Spain in early March 1865. Following the end of the Civil War the Sacramento left Queenstown, Ireland July 25th 1865 and arrived in Boston, Massachusetts on August 12th 1865. She was decommissioned at the Boston Navy Yard August 21st 1865 and remained inactive until 1866.