Naval History and Heritage Command

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USS Colorado (1856-1885) 

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Colorado (1856-1885) 

USS Colorado (1856-1885), a steam screw frigate, was launched 19 June 1856 by Norfolk Navy Yard; sponsored by Miss N. S. Dornin; and commissioned 13 March 1858, Captain W. H. Gardner in command.

Putting to sea from Boston 12 May 1858 USS Colorado (1856-1885) cruised in Cuban waters deterring the practice of search by British cruisers until 6 August when she returned to Boston and was placed in ordinary until 1861. USS Colorado (1856-1885) was recommissioned 3 June 1861 and sailed from Boston 18 June to join the Gulf Blockading Squadron. On 14 September an expedition under Lieutenant J. H. Russell from USS Colorado (1856-1885) cut out the schooner Judah believed to be preparing for service as a privateer and spiked one gun of the battery at the Pensacola Navy Yard. 

USS Colorado (1856-1885) sailed from Portsmouth, N.H., 9 December 1862 to rejoin the blockading force off Mobile, Ala., 13 March 1863. Returning to Portsmouth Navy Yard 4 February 1864, she was again placed out of commission from 18 February to 1 September 1864. From 3 February to 25 May 1865 USS Colorado (1856-1885) was again out of commission at New York Navy Yard. Ordered to the European Squadron as flagship, she sailed 16 June and cruised off England, Portugal, and Spain, and in the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas until she departed Cherbourg 23 July 1867 for New York where she was placed in ordinary from 7 September 1867 to 15 February 1870.

USS Colorado (1856-1885) cruised on the Asiatic Station from 9 April 1870 to 15 March 1873. As flagship for Rear Admiral J. Rodgers' squadron she carried the U.S. Minister to China on a diplomatic mission to Korea in April 1871. An unprovoked attack was made on two ships of the squadron by shore batteries from two Korean forts on 1 June 1871 and when no explanation was offered, a punitive expedition destroyed the forts and inflicted heavy casualties on the Koreans on 10 June. Clearing Hong Kong 21 November 1872, USS Colorado (1856-1885) sailed by way of Singapore and Capetown for New York, arriving 11 March 1873. She was again out of commission from 25 March to 2 December 1873.

USS Colorado (1856-1885) sailed from New York 12 December 1873 to cruise the North Atlantic Station, and became flagship of the North Atlantic Squadron on 27 August 1874. Returning to New York 30 May 1875 USS Colorado (1856-1885) was placed out of commission 8 June. From 1876 to 1884 she was used as receiving ship at New York Navy Yard.

For a complete history of USS Colorado (1856-1885) please see its DANFS page.