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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Mohican

 

A tribe of Algonquin Indians which formerly lived on the banks of the Hudson River but were gradually absorbed into the surrounding tribes. The remnants of the Mohicans are now known as the Stockbridge Indians.

 

I

 

(ScSlp: dp. 1,461; l. 198'9"; b. 33'; dr. 13'; s. 10.5 k.; cpl. 160; a. 2 11", 4 32‑pdrs.; cl. Mochican)

 

The first Mohican, a steam sloop of war, was laid down by Portsmouth Navy Yard, N.H., in August 1858; launched 15 February 1859; and commmissioned 29 November 1859, Comdr. S. W. Godon in command.

 

Assigned to the African Squadron, Mohican departed Portsmouth 19 January 1860 for the South Atlantic and for the next year and one‑half cruised on patrol against pirates and slavers off the coasts of Africa and at times Brazil. On 8 August 1860, the sloop captured slaver Brie off the Congo and forced that ship to unload its captive cargo at Monrovia, Liberia. She remained on station until sailing for home 13 August 1861 and following her arrival at Boston, 27 September, sailed to join Flag Officer Samuel F. DuPontís South Atlantic Blockading Squadron off Sandy Hook, N.J. Departing Norfolk 29 October for Port Royal, S.C., as part of the largest U.S. naval squadron assembled to that time, the sloop steamed in the battleline 7 November as DuPontís squadron pounded Fort Walker on Hiltonís Head, forcing the Confederates to abandon the emplacement, thereby allowing a combined Union Army and Navy Force to land and occupy this important base of operations. Mohican was hit six times by Confederates shells in this engagement, suffering superficial hull damage and having one man killed and seven wounded.

 

The steamer sailed to Charleston Bar at the end of November accompanying part of the ďStone Fleet,Ē and stood by while these ships were scuttled, 18 and 19 December, to obstruct channels to Confederate ports in the Carolinas and Georgia. The warship then operated off the southern coast with steamer Bienville, searching for Confederate shipping, capturing British blockade runner Arrow off Fernandina, Fla., 25 February 1862. In company with sloop Pocahontas and schooner Potomska, she took possession of St. Simonís and Jekyl Islands near Brunswick, Ga., 9 and 10 March, but found them deserted because of a general Confederate withdrawal from the seacoast and coastal islands. In early April, Mohican reconnoitered the Wilmington River to determine the best way of obstructing it, helping to cut off Fort Pulaski from Savannah as part of the projected attack on that fort and then operated out of St. Simonís Bay, Ga., on blockade until ordered to Philadelphia 29 June. The ship decommissioned there 9 July.

 

Mohican recommissioned 17 October 1862 and 5 days later was ordered on special service chasing the Confederate raiders Florida and Alabama. Sailing immediately, the steamer cruised on station from the Cape Verde Islands to the Cape of Good Hope operating off the coasts of Africa and South America into 1864. She returned to Philadelphia without contacting the elusive enemy 14 April 1864 and was decommissioned there 2 weeks later.

 

Reactivated 7 October, the warship was assigned to Rear Adm. David Dixon Porterís North Atlantic Blockading Squadron and cruised off Wilmington, N.C., through December. She then joined the rest of the squadron in the attack on Fort Fisher 24 and 25 December, firing over 500 shells in the fierce bombardment. Mohican resumed her blockade, now off Beaufort, N.C., until the second attack on Fort Fisher, 13 to 15 January 1865. As part of the first line of battle, the sloop bombarded the Confederate bastion throughout the 3‑day campaign, supplying covering fire for the landings on the second and third days until the fort was taken on the 15th. During the engagement, Mohican lost one man killed and ten wounded.

 

The warship was ordered to Rear Adm. John Dahlgrenís South Atlantic Blockading Squadron 17 January, carrying dispatches for Gen. William T. Sherman. She began blockading off Ossabaw, S.C., 3 February and remained there until ordered north on the 24th. The steam sloop decommissioned at Boston Navy Yard 26 April 1865 and remained there repairing until recommissioned 18 August 1866. The sloop was then assigned to the Pacific Squadron and departed 6 September for the west coast, steaming via St. Thomas, ports in Brazil, Montevideo, round Cape Horn, to Valparaiso, joining Rear Admiral Dahlgren in Powhatan at Callao, Peru, 25 April, 1867 and then steaming up the Pacific coast, through Panama and the coast of Mexico, arriving San Francisco 28 July.

 

Mohican remained on the Pacific coast through 1872, cruising to South America in the fall and winter of 1867 and then decommissioning from 3 April 1868 to 7 June 1869 at Mare Island Navy Yard. The warship made one cruise to Siberia and the northwest coast during the summer of 1869 and then departed 11 October to cruise to Hawaii, returning 11 January 1870. She then made a second cruise to the Pacific Northwest and in May sailed to patrol off Mexico. On 17 June 1870, after a 9‑day chase, Mohican attacked Mexican pirate steamer Forward, which had terrorized the coast for the previous month. In a fierce gun battle between Mohicanís armed boats and the outlaw vessel off Mazatlan, the pirate was boarded and captured. The sloop continued her cruise as far south as Callao through August 1871, returning on the 25th. The warship made one more cruise along the coast of Mexico to Panama from October to April 1872. Mohican decommissioned at Mare Island 25 June 1872 and by the end of the year had sunk at her moorings. She was subsequently towed on to the Mare Island mud flats and broken up.