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Water Witch




(Str.: t. 255; l. 131'; b. 21'10"; dr. 7'3"; s. 9 k.; cpl. 54; a. 1 8"  shell gun, 2 32-pdrs.)


The second Water Witch was a modification of the hull of the first. She entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard late in 1845; had her hull lengthened by some 30 feet; and had all her machinery removed and replaced with a new power plant to drive a Loper propeller. However, that configuration, after some months of experimentation, also proved unsatisfactory and; in 1847, she again traded her propulsion plant for an inclined condensing engine driving conventional side-wheels. She probably was not finally commissioned until 21 August 1847, Lt. George M. Totten in command.


In any event, the war with Mexico took her to blockade duty in the Gulf of Mexico where she arrived late in October 1847. At Anton Lizardo, she joined the squadron under Commodore Matthew C. Perry. Late in November and early in December, she cruised to reconnoiter the Mexican ports of Alvarado, Coatzacoolcos, Tabasco, Carmen, and Campeche in company with Mississippi and Scorpion. She served with the blockading forces in the Gulf of Mexico through the end of the Mexican War in February 1848.


Thereafter, Water Witch served in American waters with the Home Squadron. Her much repaired hull prevented her from seeing overseas service, but her career continued until 1851. During the spring of that year, she sailed from Norfolk on a coastal voyage but broke down on her first day out and was towed back to port. She was placed out of commission on 25 April 1851. Her machinery was removed at Washington for use in the third Water Witch, and her hull became a target for gunnery practice