USS Sidney C Jones

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Sidney C Jones

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Sidney C. Jones
(Sch: t. 254; 1. 98'0", b. 27-0; dph. 7'8"; a. 1 13"
mortar, 2 32-pdrs.)

Sidney C. Jones, a wooden-hulled schooner, was purchased by the Navy at New York City on 7 October 1861 and was commissioned at the New York Navy Yard on 29 January 1862, Acting Master Robert Adams in command.

Although originally fitted out for blockade duty, the schooner was assigned to the mortar flotilla which was established to support Flag Officer Farragut's New Orleans campaign. A 13-inch mortar was added to her armament, and Sidney C. Jones sailed for the Gulf of Mexico. She reached Ship Island, Miss., early in March and entered the Mississippi River through Pass a l' Outre on the 18th.

Exactly a month later, the mortar schooners-commanded by Comdr. David D. Porter-moved upstream to predesignated positions below Forts St. Philip and Jackson and opened fire on the Southern positions. They continued the bombardment intermittently until shortly after midnight on 24 April, when Farragut dashed by the forts. During the race by the Southern batteries, the mortars increased their rate of fire to their maximum rapidity to distract the Confederate cannoneers, and they maintained the pace until the Union fleet was safely out of range of the Southern batteries.

Soon after New Orleans surrendered, Porter took his mortar flotilla to blockade stations off Mobile Bay. However, in June, they returned to the Mississippi and ascended the river to positions which enabled them to shell Vicksburg. On 28 June, the mortars bombarded the Confederate batteries as Farragut's steamships dashed by the Southern fortress to meet Flag Officer Davis's Western Flotilla. The mortars remained below Vicksburg while Farragut was above attempting to arrange for joint Army-Navy operations against the stronghold. During this period, Sidney C. Jones ran aground and was still high and dry on 15 July when Confederate ironclad ram, Arkansas, raced down the Yazoo River, by Farragut's ships, and took refuge under the fortress' guns.

Sidney C. Jones was destroyed to prevent her falling into Confederate hands.