USS Sonoma was the first of two 1105-ton "double-ender" side wheel steam gunboats built at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine. Commissioned in July 1862, she was initially employed in the West Indies and western Atlantic areas, searching for Confederate commerce raiders and blockade runners. During the first four months of 1863, she captured or helped capture four vessels suspected of blockade violations.
Overhauled in June-September 1863, Sonoma next joined the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. She took the steamship Ida with a cargo of cotton on 8 July 1864, after that blockade runner had left Sapelo Sound, Georgia. In February 1865, Sonoma operated against enemy shore positions to assist General Sherman's drive north from Savannah, engaging shore batteries on the 9th and supporting an amphibious landing at Bull's Bay, South Carolina, in mid-month. Following the Confederate surrender, the gunboat was sent to New York, where she decommissioned in June 1865. USS Sonoma was sold in October 1867.
This page features our only view of USS Sonoma (1862-1867).
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Photo #: NH 65693
USS Sonoma (1862-1867)
Sketch signed "W.T. Smith, Havana, March 1863", depicting Sonoma in Bermuda harbor during late 1862 or early 1863. The British sloop Desperate is in the left distance, and the British merchantman (possibly blockade runner?) Gladiator is in the left center.
The original sketch was in colors.
Courtesy of Frederick S. Hicks, 1968.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 53KB; 740 x 380 pixels
Page made 23 May 2001