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Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.

-- General George Patton Jr

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
1758: In the French and Indian War, the British captured Fort Duquesne in present-day Pittsburgh.

1783: Nearly three months after the Treaty of Paris was signed ending the American Revolution, the last British soldiers withdraw from New York City, their last military position in the United States.

1863: Union General Ulysses S. Grant breaks the siege of Chattanooga, Tennessee, in stunning fashion by routing the Confederates under General Braxton Bragg at Missionary Ridge.

1864: A Confederate plot to burn NYC failed.

1864: Confederate Cavalry under "Fighting Joe" Wheeler retreated at Sandersville, Georgia.

1876: U.S. troops under the leadership of General Ranald Mackenzie destroy the village of Cheyenne living with Chief Dull Knife on the headwaters of the Powder River.

1941: Adm. Harold R. Stark, U.S. chief of naval operations, tells Adm. Husband E. Kimmel, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, that both President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull think a Japanese surprise attack is a distinct possibility.

1941: The US Navy begins to establish compulsory convoying for merchant ships in the Pacific.

1943: In Battle of Cape St. George, 5 destroyers of Destroyer Squadron 23 (Captain Arleigh Burke) intercept 5 Japanese destroyers and sink 3 and damage one without suffering any damage.

1943: Bombers of the US 14th Air Force, based in China, raid the Japanes held island of Formosa for the first time. An estimated 42 Japanese aircraft are destroyed on the ground at Shinchiku airfield.