Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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USS Fern (1862-1865) later USS Gopher

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Fern (1862-1865) later USS Gopher

The first Fern, formerly Intrepid, was a tug which operated under Master Alpheus Amiss with the War Department's Western Flotilla until 1 October 1862 when all these vessels were transferred to the Navy. Placed in the command of Amiss who was made Acting Ensign, she was renamed USS Fern (1862-1865) about 19 October.

USS Fern (1862-1865) was assigned to the Mississippi Squadron to operate on western waters between Cairo, Ill, and the mouth of the Red River. She towed barges loaded with troops, delivered dispatches, transported officers, and tended coal barges. On 19 March 1863 during a joint expedition to penetrate the Yazoo River, she carried Major-General William T. Sherman up Steele's Bayou. From August 1863 to May 1865 USS Fern (1862-1865) was stationed off Natchez to tend and pump coal barges, and in early June 1865 participated in an expedition up the Red River to receive the surrender of Confederate Navy men and material.

USS Fern (1862-1865) was ordered to Mound City, Ill., where on 12 August 1865 she was decommissioned and later sold.

For a complete history of USS Fern (1862-1865) please see its DANFS page.