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Genesee I (SwStr)

(SwStr: dp. 803; l. 1,209'; b. 34'11"; dr. 10'6"; s. 8.5k.; a. 1X"D., 1 100 pdr. P.r., 6 24-pdr. how.)

Towns in Idaho, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania; and a river in Pennsylvania and New York. Genesee is an Indian word meaning a beautiful valley.

The first Genesee was launched 2 April 1862 by the Boston Navy Yard; sponsored by Miss Emily Dorr; and commisisoned 3 July 1862, Comdr. William M. Macomb in command.

Assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Genesee sailed from Boston 6 July 1862 for Hampton Roads, where she convoyed U.S. mail steamers in the James River until departing 19 October for blockade duty off North Carolina. For over 3 months she helped seal Wilmington and Beaufort from Confederate blockade runners. She got underway 19 February 1863 to join the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, arriving New Orleans 7 March in time to join Rear Admiral Farragut's expedition up the Mississippi past Port Hudson to cut off Confederate supplies from the Red River and to join Porter and Grant in operations against Vicksburg. For the dangerous passage, Farragut lashed gunboats to the sides of his large steamers to protect the heavy ships from enemy fire and to improve their maneuverability. Genesee was paired off with Richmond when the Union Fleet moved upstream on the night of 14 March and came within range of the Confederate guns. In the ensuing fight Farragut's losses were greater than those he had suffered in taking New Orleans. Richmond's steam line was severed, forcing her to drop down out of range. Genesee fought on; but a 6-inch shot pierced her hull and detonated a 10-inch shell which, in turn, wrecked havoc below; and the murderous fire shredded her rigging. Only Hartford and her consort Albatross made it past the Southern batteries.

Following needed repairs, Genesee continued to patrol the Mississippi until after the fall of Vicksburg 4 July 1863. Then, she was ordered to the Gulf for blockade duty on 11 September. She discovered blockade-running steamer Fanny bound for Mobile 11 September, and with John P. Jackson and Calhoun gave chase. As they closed, the blockade runner's captain burned his ship to the waterline rather than allow her capture.

Genesee continued to operate off Mobile with Admiral Farragut and assisted in several captures as the Navy prepared for the assault on Mobile Bay. When the fleet steamed boldly into the bay on 5 August to engage the forts and Confederate squadron, Genesee remained outside until the passage was effected, then steamed up to open fire on Fort Morgan.

Genesee was used subsequently as a store ship, and for the next several months was occupied supplying ships of the fleet and helping to drag Mobile Bay for dangerous torpedoes, a duty in which several ships were lost. She sailed 11 July 1865 for Philadelphia, arrived at the Navy Yard 20 July, and decommissioned there 31 July. Genesee was sold 3 October 1867 to Purvis and Son.

Published: Thu Jul 23 10:18:07 EDT 2015