The USS Milwaukee was a 1300 ton double turreted ironclad monitor. It was launched at Carondelet, Missouri on February 4th 1864. She was commissioned into Union service August 27th 1864 at Mound City, Illinois with Lieutenant James W Magune in command. The Milwaukee joined the West Gulf Blocking Squadron in October, where she was placed under a new commander, Lieutenant James H Gillis. During the next few months the Milwaukee; along with other light draft Union ships, swept Mobile Bay for Confederate mines, removing any obstructions. She was also used to transport Union troops.
Union General Edward Canby decided the key to taking Mobile, Alabama was by way of the rivers from the east. With help from the Union Navy the plan was to take Spanish Fort on the Blakely River. Canby moved his forces and began a siege on Spanish Fort on March 27th 1865. That day the Milwaukee with five other ships moved across the Dog River Bar to cut communication between Mobile and Spanish Fort. The next afternoon the Milwaukee and the USS Winnebago moved up the Blakely River to stop Confederates from supplying Spanish Fort. On the way back down the river the Milwaukee struck a torpedo on her port side and she quickly sank. The crew from the Milwaukee was saved by the USS Kickapoo.