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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Kensington

 

Former names retained.

 

II

 

(ScStr: t. 1,053; l. 195'; b. 31'10"; dr. 18'; s. 10 k.; cpl. 72; a. 2 32-pdrs,, 1 30-pdr. P.r.)

 

The second Kensington was built at Philadelphia by J. W. Lynn in 1858 and was purchased by the Navy at Boston 27 January 1862. She commissioned at Boston Navy Yard 15 February, Acting Master Frederick Crocker in command.

 

The wooden steamer departed Boston 24 February for the Gulf of Mexico, but heavy winds, rough seas, and engine trouble required her to stop at Charleston for repairs. While, at Charleston she was of great service to ships of the North Atlantic Squadron furnishing them with fresh water. The supply and water vessel resumed her voyage in April and joined the West Gulf Blockading Squadron at New Orleans 4 May. After bringing water and supplies to Flag Officer Farragut's ships blockading the Gulf Coast, Kensington was ordered to ascend the Mississippi towing Horace Seals and Sarah Bruen, both of Comdr. David D. Porter's Mortar Flotilla. While passing Ellis Cliffs, Miss., the three ships came under fire of Confederate batteries. Their answering salvos silenced the Southern guns enabling the Union force to continue passage to Vicksburg. After placing her charges in position to bombard the cliffside batteries which defended Vicksburg, Kensington remained with Porter's flotilla issuing water and supplies and from time to time assisting sailing ships to change positions.

 

After dropping down the river in mid-July, the water and supply ship visited blockaders stationed along the Louisiana and Texas coast. She joined Rachel Seaman and Henry James in bombarding Confederate batteries at Sabine Pass, Tex., 24 and 25 September. The action was broken off when defending troops spiked their guns and evacuated the fort. Though Sabine Pass surrendered the next day, a shortage of troops prevented the Navy from occupying the area. Nevertheless, this operation and similar attacks were a constant drain on Southern strength, and compelled the Confederacy to disperse its forces widely.

 

During operations along western Gulf coast in September and October, Kensington captured British blockade running schooners Velocity. Adventure, Dart, and West Florida. She also took Confederate schooners Conchita, Dart, and Mary Ann; sloop Eliza; and steamer Dan.

 

Kensington began her voyage to Pensacola with her prizes 13 October, delivering water en route to blockading ships stationed along the coast of Texas. Arriving Pensacola 24 October, the fighting supply ship began operating from that base, capturing Confederate schooner Course 11 November and British schooner Maria the next day.

 

Kensington moved to New Orleans 26 January 1863 and 5 months later set sail for New York for long needed repairs. Back in fighting trim 1 August 1864, Kensington functioned as a supply vessel for ships of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron until 30 November. 'She sailed from Boston as a transport vessel 7 December visiting Port Royal, Key West, Mobile, Pensacola, and New Orleans. After returning to New York 11 January 1865, Kensington made two similar voyages to Southern ports before decommissioning 5 May 1865. She was sold at public auction at New York to Brown & Co. 12 July 1865 and redocumented 31 July.

 

Kensington sank after colliding with an unknown sailing vessel at sea 27 January 1871.