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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND
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Curlew

 

A large bird haying long legs and a long, slender, downward-curved bill.

 

I

 

(StwStr: t. 196; l. 159'; b. 32'1"; dr. 4'; s. 4 k.; a. 8 24-pdr. how.)

 

The first Curlew, a stern-wheel steamer, was built in 1862 at Pittsburgh, Pa., as Florence; purchased by the Navy 17 December 1862; converted to a light-draft gunboat and renamed Curlew; and commissioned 16 February 1863, acting Master G. Hentig in command.

 

Sailing from Cairo, 111., 17 February 1863, Curlew joined Admiral D. Porter's fleet for patrol and convoy duty in the Mississippi River and its tributaries. She had occasional skirmishes with the enemy on shore, including those during an expedition with army troops2 June 1863 to engage Confederate troops on the Arkansas shore near Islands No. 67 and 68. From 12 to 20 July 1863 Curlew joined other vessels for an expedition into the Red, Black, Tensas, and Ouachita rivers during which they captured steamer Louisville, one of the finest Mississippi packets, and steamer Elmira, and destroyed stores, two smaller steamers, a large sawmill, and 30,000 feet of lumber.

 

Curlew served in the Ohio and Tennessee rivers from 23 December 1863 until 14 January 1864, when she arrived at Mound City, 111., for repairs. She sailed on 12 March carrying a party from the U.S. Coast Survey for a survey of Grand Gulf, Miss., returning to Mound City 31 May. On 24 May she had a heavy engagement with a 12-gun battery at Gaines Landing, Ark., during which she was struck several times.

 

Curlew stood down the Mississippi again 30 June 1864 and cruised between Natchez and Vicksburg, Miss., having several encounters with enemy land forces. On 24 October she sailed up river to patrol the Ohio and Tennessee.

 

From February to 17 June 1865 Curlew conducted surveys in the river around Cairo and Mound City, 111. Curlew was decommissioned 5 July 1865 and sold 17 August 1865.