(Schooner: tonnage 303; length 115’; beam 30’; depth of hold 9’10”; draft 9’; armament 2 32-pounders)
Rachel Seaman, a wooden schooner purchased by the Navy at Philadelphia 21 September 1861, was commissioned at Philadelphia Navy Yard 16 November 1861, Acting Master Quincey A. Hooper in command.
The schooner sailed for the Gulf of Mexico between 4 and 10 November and reported to Flag Officer McKean off Fort Pickens, Fla., on the 29th for duty in the Gulf Blockading Squadron. After briefly serving in Mississippi Sound and the Mississippi passes, Rachel Seaman arrived off Galveston 30 December and patrolled the Texas coast. On 11 January 1862, with gunboat Midnight, the schooner shelled Confederate batteries at Pass Cavallo and a week later engaged Confederate cannon at Velasco. In the summer she performed blockade duty off Mobile Bay, Ala., but in September returned to the Texas coast. On the 25th, with the Kensington and Henry Jones, she bombarded Sabine Pass, Tex., forcing the Confederate garrison to spike their guns and abandon the works there. The next day, landing parties took possession of the fort.
However, want of occupation troops prevented the Union from holding the area. On 6 October, Rachel Seaman captured British schooner Dart attempting to run the blockade at Sabine Pass. On 15 October boat crews from Rachel Seaman and Kensington destroyed a railroad bridge at Taylor's Bayou, Tex., preventing Confederate reinforcement of Sabine Pass with heavy guns. They also burned schooners Stonewall and Lone Star and Southern barracks.
Rachel Seaman took schooner Nymph off Pass Cavallo, Tex., 21 April 1863. Almost a year later, while steaming east en route north, on 13 April 1864, she captured her last prize British schooner Maria Alfred off Mermentau River, La. The schooner arrived at New York 21 May and for the remainder of the Civil War served as a supply ship along the Atlantic coast. She decommissioned at New York 22 May 1865 and was sold at public auction there 30 May 1865 to a Mr. Wiggins.
07 September 2004