The first Ottawa was named for the Indian tribe of southern Ontario and Michigan; the second for counties in the states of Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, and Oklahoma.
(Screw Gunboat: dp. 691; l. 158’4”; b. 28’; dr. 9’2”; s. 11 k.; a. 1 11” Dahlgren, S.B., I 20–pdr. Parrott Rifle, 2 24–pdrs.)
The first Ottawa’s wooden hull was built by J. A. Westervelt and her engines by the Novelty Iron Works of New York. She was commissioned at the New York Navy Yard 7 October 1861, Lieutenant Thomas H. Stevens in command.
Ottawa, a “ninety day gunboat,” sailed a few days later to join the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron for service in the waters of the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. During the Civil War she participated in nineteen operations against ships and shore installations from Hilton Head, S.C., to the St. John’s River in Florida. These included capture of Forts Walker and Beauregard, Port Royal Sound, S.C., 7 November; covering the landing of U.S. troops at Warsaw Sound, Ga., 26 January 1862; capture of Fernandina, Fla., 4 March; attacks on Fort Wagner, Charleston Harbor, S.C., from 18 July 1863 to 18 August and on the Confederate batteries on Morris Island from 31 July to 20 August.
Ottawa also assisted the U.S. Army in the occupation of Bull’s Bay, S.C., 11 February 1865. Other engagements took place with the batteries at Brown’s Landing, St. John’s River, Fla., and at Palatka, Fla.
Ottawa returned north and was decommissioned 12 August 1865. at the New York Navy Yard where she was sold at auction on 25 October for $13,200.