USS Stockdale (1863)
|Ordered:||as J. T. Stockdale|
|Laid down:||date unknown|
|Acquired:||13 November 1863|
|Commissioned:||26 December 1863|
|Decommissioned:||24 August 1865|
|Homeport:||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Fate:||sold, 24 August 1865|
|Armament:||two 30-pounder Parrott rifles
four 24-pounders howitzers
Built in West Brownsville, Pennsylvania, in 1863
Stockdale -- a wooden, side-wheel steamer built in 1863 at West Brownsville, Pennsylvania -- was purchased by the Navy on 13 November 1863 at Cincinnati, Ohio, from B. T. Laughlin, et al., under the name J. T. Stockdale, and commissioned at Cairo, Illinois, on 26 December 1863, Acting Ensign John Lowrie in command.
Civil War operations
Assigned to the West Gulf Blockade
Renamed Stockdale sometime before 19 January 1864 and designated Tinclad No. 42, the gunboat steamed down the Mississippi River and joined the West Gulf Blockading Squadron at New Orleans, Louisiana, on 3 January 1864. On 8 January 1864, Acting Master Thomas Edwards assumed command of the ship.
Defending New Orleans from recapture
Since rumors were then circulating that Confederate ironclads were about to attempt to recapture New Orleans, Stockdale steamed down the Mississippi River to reinforce Admiral David 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.
Under attack by Confederate cavalry
On 16 May 1864, a landing party from the tinclad gunboat was fired upon by Confederate cavalry at the mouth of the Tohefuncta River. Two officers were captured and one killed before Edwards succeeded in forcing the attackers to withdraw.
The Battle of Mobile Bay
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 Union Army transports.
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.
Destroying a valuable Confederate salt works
On 8 September, she joined USS Tritonia, USS Rodolph, and an Army transport for an expedition to Salt House Point, Mississippi, to destroy extensive Southern salt works. Only Stockdale and Rodolph 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.
Destroying a sawmill and 60,000 board feet (100 m3) of lumber
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 (100 m3) 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.
The capture of blockade runner Medora
Stockdale continued to perform various duties into 1865. On 8 March, she began support of active operations against Mobile, Alabama, and she continued the duty until the city surrendered on 12 April.
Post-war decommissioning and disposal
Lytle classifies this ship as a stern wheel steamer in his Merchant Steam Vessels of the United States 1807-1868, p. 94.