A broad-wheel, covered, wagon originated in Conestoga Pa., for use in soft soil and on the prairies.
(SwStr: t. 572)
The first Conestoga, a side wheeled steamer, was purchased in June 1861 for service on the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Assigned to the Army's Western Gunboat Flotilla, Conestoga, under the command of naval Lieutenant S. L. Phelps, participated in patrol duty and minor skirmishes with Confederate shore units until February 1862. She took part in the crucial capture of Fort Henry 6 February 1862 with six gunboats, then steamed with Lexington and Tyler to Florence, Ala., where the three captured a half-finished gunboat and two steamers, and destroyed other war material. Conestoga joined in the assault and capture of Fort Donelson from 13 to 16 February, and between 13 June and 9 July in the operations up the White River and the capture of St. Charles, vital phases of the Navy's campaign on the inland waters.
Transferred to the Navy Department 1 October 1862 with other ships of the Western Gunboat Flotilla, Conestoga continued to operate near the mouth^ of the Arkansas and White Rivers and on the Mississippi until mid-1863, on patrol and convoy duty and attacking shore installations. Between 19 May and 4 July 1863 she joined in the siege of Vicksburg. She took part in the expedition on the Black, Tensas, and Ouachita Rivers from 12 to 20 July 1863, returning to the Black and Ouachita again from 29 February to 5 March 1864. On the night of 8 March 1864 Conestoga collided with General Price off Bondurant Point while on her way to join the expedition up the Red River and sank immediately.
Conestoga was renamed Sangamon (q.v.) on 9 September 1862 prior to her commissioning.