Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Gamage (Sidewheel Gunboat)


The Navy retained a shortened version of the name carried by this vessel at the time of her acquisition. 

(SwStr: t. 187; l. 148'6"; b. 30'3"; dph. 4'6"; a. 2 20-pdrs., 1 12-pdr.)

Gamage was built as merchant steamer Willie Gamage in 1864 at Cincinnati, Ohio; purchased there on 22 December 1864; and converted into a gunboat by Joseph Brown of Cincinnati. She was commissioned at Mound City, Ill., on 23 March 1865, Acting Master William Neil in command.

Assigned to the Fifth Division of the Mississippi Squadron, Gamage departed Mound City on 30 March 1865 and reached Natchez, Miss., on 2 April where she remained in readiness to intercept Confederate President Jefferson Davis, his cabinet and other Confederate leaders should they attempt to cross the Mississippi River. The President of the Confederacy and members of his staff were captured on 10 May at Irwinville, Ga.

On 1 June 1865 Gamage entered the mouth of Red River to form up a joint expedition up that river to receive surrendered Confederate ships and men. The Union naval force of eight steamers under command of Lt. Cmdr. W. E. Fitzhugh was accompanied by Army steamer Ida May, carrying Maj. Gen. F. J. Herron and his staff. Arriving at Alexandria, La., on 2 June, Comdr. Fitzhugh took possession of the Confederate ironclad Missouri and proceeded up river to Shreveport, La., in Gamage. There, he seized the steamer Cotton and supplies at the Navy storehouse and on the 8th departed for the mouth of the river.

At Gen. Herron's request, Gamage remained at Alexandria to assist the Army as needed until 27 June when she departed for Natchez, arriving on 7 July. Ultimately, Gamage reached Mound City on 22 July 1865 where she was decommissioned a week later, on the 29th, and was sold at public auction on 17 August 1865 to J. R. Griffith for $11,000.

Redocumented as Southern Belle on 4 October 1865, the former gunboat  burned on 11 October 1876 at Plaquemine, La.


Gamage (IX-227) was launched as William B. Allison under Martime Commission contract by California Ship Building Corp., Los Angeles, Calif. 8 March 1943. She was acquired by the Navy and renamed Gamage 30 July 1945 for use as floating storage for lubricants and drummed petroleum products at Ulithi. She was placed out of service 8 February 1946 and returned to WSA 5 April. She was sold to China Merchants & Engineers, Inc. 19 February 1948.

Published: Fri Aug 12 11:53:31 EDT 2016