USS Stockdale  

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Stockdale SwStr

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Stockdale
(SwStr: t. 188; cpl. 63; a. 2 30-par. P.r., 4 24-par.
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Stockdale—a wooden, side-wheel steamer (Lytle classifies this ship as a stern wheel steamer in his Merchant Steam Vessels of the United States 1807-1868, p. 94) built in 1863 at West Brownsville, Pa.—was purchased by the Navy on 13 November 1863 at Cincinnati, Ohio, from B. T. Laughlinetal under the name J. T. Stockdale, and commissioned at Cairo, Ill. On 26 December 1863, Acting Ensign John Lowrie in command.

Renamed Stockdale sometime before 19 January 1864 and designated Tinclad No. 42, the gunboat steamed down the Mississippi and joined the West Gulf Blockading Squadron at New Orleans on 3 January 1864. On 8 January 1864, Acting Master Thomas Edwards assumed command of the ship.

Since rumors were then circulating that Confederate ironclads were about to attempt to recapture New Orleans, Stockdale steamed down the Mississippi to reinforce Admiral Farragut's ships in defending that strategic city, and she served in the West Gulf Blockading Squadron through the end of the Civil War. Most of her service was performed in Berwick Bay Lake Pontchartrain, and other inland waters along the gulf coast.

On 16 May 1864, a landing party from the tinclad gunboat was fired u~on by Confederate cavalry at the mouth of the Tchefuncta River. Two officers were captured and one killed before Edwards succeeded in forcing the attackers to withdraw.

The ship was ordered to Mississippi Sound on 23 July to prepare for the impending attack on Mobile Bay. On the morning of 2 August, she anchored off Petit Bois Island. The next day, she steamed to Dauphin Island where all of her boats were used to land troops from Army transports. On the morning of the 5th, while Farragut was leading his squadron into Mobile Bay Stockdale steamed toward Fort Powell and bombarded that Southern fortress.

In the months that followed, Stockdale continued to serve in the West Gulf Blockading Squadron for the most part, and supported mop-up operations in and around Mobile Bay. On 8 September, she joined Titonia, Randolph, and an Army transport for an expedition to Salt House Point, Miss., to destroy extensive Southern salt works. Only Stockdale and Randolph crossed the bar and entered the Bon Secours River. The salt works were so extensive that boat crews from the two ships worked all day and into the following afternoon before finishing the destruction.

On the 11th, Stockdale again joined Randolph in an expedition—this time up the Fish River to seize a sawmill engine, some livestock, and 60,000 board feet of lumber. Confederate riflemen fired upon the retiring ships and felled trees ahead of them, but the Union ships broke through the obstructions to safety.

On 8 December, Stockdale and J. P. Jackson captured schooner Medora in Mississippi Sound as the blockade runner was attempting to slip to sea laden with cotton.

Stockdale continued to perform various duties into 1865. On 8 March, she began support of active operations against Mobile, Ala., and she continued the duty until the city surrendered on 12 April.

After the Civil War ended, Stockdale continued to operate in the Gulf of Mexico until she was decommissioned on 24 August 1866 at New Orleans. She was sold at public auction there on the same day.
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