Return to DANFS IndexImage of an anchorReturn to Naval Historical Center homepage
flag banner
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships banner
DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Mattabesett

 

Variant spelling for Mattabesset, a river in the State of Connecticut.

 

(SwGbt: dp. 1,173; l. 205'; b. 35'; dr. 816"; s. 14 k.; a. 2 100‑pdr. Parrott r.; 4 IX‑in. Dahlgren sb., 4 24‑pdrs., 1 12‑pdr. sb., 1 12‑pdr. r.; cl. Sassacus)

 

The first Mattabesett, sometimes spelled Mattabeset, a schooner‑rigged, wooden hulled, double‑ended, sidewheel gunboat, was built by A. & G. T. Sampson, Boston, Mass.; delivered to the New York Navy Yard 18 January 1864; and commissioned 7 April 1864, Comdr. John C. Febiger in command.

 

Mattabesett departed New York 21 April 1864 for duty in the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron and arrived Hampton Roads on the 23d as escort to Onondaga. Continuing down the coast to enter the North Carolina Sounds, she took part in an engagement between Union Forces and the Confederate ram Albemarle, accompanied by CSS Bombshell and CSS Cottonplant, off the mouth of the Roanoke River 5 May. In the course of the battle, leading to the capture of Plymouth by Confederate Forces, Mattabesett, with Sassacus, captured Bombshell, but the ram and Cottonplant escaped.

 

Twenty days later, as Union Forces continued their fight to regain Plymouth, five members of Mattabesett’s crew attempted to destroy the ram, anchored upriver. The men planned to row upriver, with two 100‑pound torpedoes, to a point across from Albemarle, then send a swimmer to position the torpedoes on either side of the ram. The torpedoes were to be brought alongside by means of towlines and detonated from the far side of the river. They were forced to abandon the mission when the swimmer‑positioner, Charles Baldwin, was discovered by a sentry a few yards from the ram. The five men, Charles Baldwin, Benjamin Lloyd, Alexander Crawford, John Laverty, and John W. Lloyd were awarded Medals of Honor for their heroic efforts.

 

But for a brief trip to New York in the fall of 1864, Mattabesett continued to serve the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron for the remainder of the war, operating primarily in the inland waters of North Carolina. She sailed north in May 1865, decommissioned at New York on the 31st, and was sold there 15 October.