A wild flower of the primrose family.
(SwStr: t. 220; l. 123'; b. 24'; dr. 7'; cpl. 36; a. 1 20-pdr. r., 2 24-pdr. sb.)
Cowslip, a side wheel steamer, was built in 1863 at Newburgh, N.Y. as Meteor; purchased 21 December 1863 from James How and C. W. Copeland; outfitted at New York Navy Yard; and commissioned 27 January 1864, Acting Ensign R. Canfield in command.
Assigned to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, Cowslip departed New York 2 February 1864 and arrived at New Orleans 26 February. Constantly active, she carried officers and men and delivered mail, stores, guns, and ammunition for her squadron and provisions for refugees. She was used as a tow and convoy steamer, performed rescue and salvage work, and served as a picket and patrol vessel.
Her actions against the Confederates included the capture of a sailboat with five men on board off Pascagoula, Miss., 15 April 1864; the sloop Last Push, 29 May; and a raid up Biloxi Bay, Miss., on which she captured five sloops and a small steamer, and destroyed six large boats, three flat boats, and four salt works. During July and August 1864 she operated off Mobile, Ala., participating in the preparations for the Battle of Mobile Bay 5 August and in Admiral D. G. Farragut's brilliant action on that day which culminated in victory for the Union Navy.
Cowslip was also active in rescue work. She saved the crew of Narcissus 8 December 1864 after their ship had been blown up by a torpedo at Edgemont Key, Fla., and salvaged Narcissus' guns and ammunition. Cowslip rescued six wounded survivors from Sciota, torpedoed 14 April 1865, and rendered efficient and valuable assistance by towing three ships out of the danger zone when Marshall's warehouse in Mobile, Ala., was wrecked by an explosion 25 May 1865. Her service complete, Cowslip was sold 28 August 1866 at Pensacola, Fla.