USS Mattabesett, a 974-ton Sassacus class "Double-Ender" side-wheel steam gunboat, was built at Boston, Massachusetts. Commissioned in April 1864, she soon joined the Union Navy forces operating on the North Carolina Sounds. On 5 May 1864, Mattabesett was one of several warships that engaged the Confederate ironclad ram CSS Albemarle, an action that ended without much damage to the ironclad. In the same action, Mattabesett helped capture the Confederate steamer CSS Bombshell. Later in the month, some of her crewmembers attempted a daring raid to sink the Albemarle, but their mission was not successful. During the rest of the Civil War, Mattabesett continued her service with the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, mainly in North Carolina waters. She was decommissioned in May 1865 and was sold in October 1867.
This page features the only view we have of USS Mattabesett.
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Photo #: NH 1673
"Wood versus Iron"
19th Century photograph of an artwork by Acting Second Engineer Alexander C. Stuart, USN, 1864.
It shows CSS Albemarle engaging several Federal gunboats on Albemarle Sound, North Carolina, on 5 May 1864. USS Sassacus is in left center, ramming the Confederate ironclad. Other U.S. Navy ships seen are (from left): Commodore Hull, Wyalusing and Mattabesett. The Confederate transport Bombshell, captured during the action, is in the right background.
Albemarle was not significantly damaged during this action, which left Sassacus disabled by a hit in one of her boilers.
Collection of Surgeon H.P. Babcock, presented by George R. Babcock, 1938.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 140KB; 740 x 505 pixels
24 October 1999