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More than one general has redeemed faulty dispositions and won fame by a suitably glorious death.

-- James Lawton Stokesbury

USS Octorara (1862-1866)

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USS Octorara, a 981-ton "Double-Ender" side-wheel gunboat built at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York, was commissioned in February 1862. After brief service in the Atlantic, she was sent to the Gulf of Mexico, serving as flagship of Commander David Dixon Porter's mortar schooner flotilla during operations on the Mississippi River. Damaged on 28 June 1862, while attempting to steam upriver past the Confederate fortress at Vicksburg, Octorara was en route to Baltimore, Maryland, for repairs when, on 24 July she captured the blockade runner Tubal Cain.

In September 1862, Octorara, began operations in search of the enemy cruisers and blockade runners, taking several of the latter by May 1863. Beginning in October 1863, the gunboat served in the West Gulf Blockading Squadron. She participated in the blockade of Mobile Bay, Alabama, including a bombardment of Fort Powell in February 1864, the 5 August Battle of Mobile Bay, in which she was damaged, and the subsequent bombardment and capture of Fort Morgan. Octorara spent the rest of the Civil War in the Mobile Bay area. On 28 January 1865, she was the target of an unsuccessful attack by the Confederate torpedo boat St. Patrick. In April, Octorara took part in the capture of the city of Mobile. She went to New York in July 1865 and was decommissioned there in August. USS Octorara was sold in November 1866.

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This Day in History
1781: French fleet traps British fleet at Yorktown, VA.

1861: Ulysses Grant assumed command of Federal forces at Cape Girardeau, MI.

1861: Lincoln received news late at night from Secretary of the Navy Welles of Flag Officer Stringham's victory at Hatteras Inlet, in the initial Army- Navy expedition of the war. Coming shortly after the defeat at Bull Run, it electrified the North and greatly raised morale.

1862: Following his brilliant victory at the Second Battle of Bull Run two days earlier, Confederate General Robert E. Lee strikes retreating Union forces at Chantilly, Virginia, and drives them away in the middle of an intense thunderstorm.

1864: With Union General William T. Sherman threatening to cut his only escape route, Confederate General John Bell Hood evacuates Atlanta, Georgia, at the climax of a four-month campaign by Sherman to capture the vital Rebel supply center.

1864: Second day of battle at Jonesboro, Georgia, left some 3,000 casualties.

1864: The Battle of Petersburg, VA. begins.

1866: Manuelito, the last Navaho chief, turned himself in at Fort Wingate, New Mexico.

1918: US troops landed in Vladivostok, Siberia, and stayed until 1920.

1939: German forces bombard Poland on land and from the air, as Adolf Hitler seeks to regain lost territory and ultimately rule Poland.