USS Norwich, a 431-ton (burden) gunboat, was built at Norwich, Connecticut, in 1861 as a wooden-hulled civilian steamship. She was purchased by the Navy in September 1861 as part of the force buildup necessitated by the Civil War, converted into a warship and placed in commission in late December. Early in January 1862 Norwich steamed south to take up blockading duties off Savannah, Georgia. She was employed along the coasts of Georgia and eastern Florida for the remainder of the conflict. In addition to blockade work, the gunboat operated in coastal rivers, raided Confederate facilities ashore, and escorted landing forces. In March 1863 and February 1864 she supported Federal troops during landings at Jacksonville, Florida. During the latter month she also trapped the blockade runner St. Mary's in the river above Jacksonville, causing the destruction of both the ship and her cargo of cotton.
With the collapse of the Southern cause, Norwich's services were no longer needed. She was decommissioned at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the end of June 1865 and sold in August. As S.S. Norwich she was active in commerce until lost at sea on 17 February 1873.
This page features the only view we have concerning USS Norwich (1861-1865).
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Photo #: NH 44761
USS Norwich (1861-1865)
Artwork made during the Civil War by Xanthus Smith.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 91KB; 740 x 540 pixels
Page made 27 November 2005