USS Reliance  

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Reliance I ScStr

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Reliance I

(ScStr: t. 90; 1. 88'2"; b. 17'; dr. 7'5"; a. 1 24-par. how.
1 12-pdr. how.)

Reliance, a wooden screw steamer built in 1860 at Keyport N.J., was purchased by the Navy at New York on 7 May 1861; and commissioned there on 13 May 1861, Acting Lt. Jared P. K. Mygatt in command.

Assigned to the Potomae Flotilla, she began her active service by blockading the Virginia side of the Potomae River. From 29 May to 1 June 1861, she joined in attacks against enemy positions at Aquia Creek,Va. On 20 June she engaged Rebel batteries at Marlborough Point, Va., and a week later she fought Confederate forges at Mathias Point, Va.

Reliance patrolled the river, searching for smuggled supplies, runaway slaves, and deserting Confederate soldiers. On 12 August 1862, she captured the sloop, Blossom, and sent a boat expedition into Sturgeon Creek. She seized the sloop Painter off Alexandria 30 October and took the longboat, New Moon, on 24 November carrying contraband cargo.

Along with other boats of the Flotilla, she cooperated in operations with troops of the Army of the Potomae along the Rappahannoek River. During these operations, Reliance service was ended by a daring Confederate raid. On 12 August 1863, Lt. John Taylor Wood, CSN, led 80 Rebel troops with six boats loaded on wagons secretly overland to the Rappahannock; concealing themselves by day, the raiders searched the river by night and found Reliance and Satellite anchored off Windmill Point at the mouth of the river. On 23 August Wood's men surprised, boarded, and captured the two Federai gunboats. The Southerners took their two prizes to Port Royal, Va., only to be destroyed on 28 August to prevent their recapture by approaching Union cavalry under Gen. Judson Kflpatriek.