Cherokee I (ScStr)
An Indian tribe, found today chiefly in Oklahoma and North Carolina.
The first Cherokee was captured off Charleston, S.C., by Canandaigua 8 May 1863 as she attempted to run the blockade. The steamer was sent into Boston for condemnation, but before she was turned over to the Prize Commissioners on 7 July, made a cruise in search of the Confederate privateer Tacony. After condemnation, Cherokee was purchased by the Government, outfitted at Boston Navy Yard, and commissioned 21 April 1864, Acting Volunteer Lieutenant J. F. Nickels in command.
Cherokee sailed from Boston 11 May 1864, bound for duty off the coast of North Carolina with the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. In addition to contributing to Union victory by cutting the Confederacy off from overseas sources of supply, this squadron repeatedly bombarded coastal defenses, and cooperated with the Army in amphibious expeditions up the many bays, inlets, and rivers of the serrated coast. Cherokee's operations included the capture of blockade runner Emma Henry 8 December 1864, and bombardments at Fort Fisher, N.C., in December and January 1865. On 30 January she was ordered close inshore at New Inlet to reconnoiter the Half Moon Battery, where she discovered a large party of Confederates approaching the fortifications recently secured by Union troops. Cherokee threw heavy fire ashore, which drove the Confederates away after three determined rushes at the Union lines.
In February 1865, Cherokee joined the East Gulf Blockading Squadron, and patrolled against blockade runners between Key West and Havana until the close of the war. She was decommissioned at Boston 23 June 1865, and sold there 1 August 1865.