Thursday, December 6, 2012

Towing Other Ships

The USS Owasco a Union gunboat was delivered to the Navy December 6th 1861; she was named for the Owasco Lake one of the New York Finger Lakes.

The USS Owasco was launched at Mystic, Connecticut after being built by Charles Mallory.  She was a 691 ton Unadilla class screw steamer.  She was delivered to the Union Navy at the New York Navy Yard on December 6th 1861, and commissioned under the command of Lieutenant John Guest.  Leaving New York on February 5th 1862 the Owasco joined Commodore David G Farragut’s flotilla at Key West, Florida.  She captured two Confederate schooners on March 16th 1862 while on route to Ship Island, Mississippi.

The Owasco was one of seven steamers used to tow Union schooners safely in the current of the Mississippi.  When Farragut’s ships ran past Forts Jackson, and St Philip, taking the port of New Orleans in April 1862, one of the Owasco’s own, Quartermaster Edward Farrell was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.  She was with Farragut again when he moved up the river to just below Vicksburg, Mississippi.  On October 3rd 1862 the Owasco took part in the bombing of Galveston, Texas.  She continued blockading duty taking part in the capture of Brazos Santiago, Texas on November 3rd 1863.  The Owasco captured an English schooner carrying supplies for Confederate General John B Magruder on April 19th 1864.

The Owasco was decommissioned July 12th 1865 at the New York Navy Yard and sold off at auction.  She would be renamed the Lulu and was still sailing as a commercial ship in 1885.

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