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John P. Jackson

(SwStr: t. 750; l. 192; b. 36'6"; dph. 12'; cpl. 99; a. 4 32-pdrs., 1 9", 1 6" S.r.)

A former name retained.

John P. Jackson was built at Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1860 and purchased by the Navy at Newark, N.J., from Jersey City Ferry Co. 6 November 1861. She commissioned at New York Navy Yard 14 February 1862, Lt. Selim E. Woodworth in command.

John P. Jackson was ordered to Key West 10 February to serve as one of the steamers in Comdr. David D. Porter's mother flotilla. On 30 March she arrived Ship Island from Key West as Flag Officer Farragut assembled vessels for his campaign against New Orleans. While Farragut labored to move his deep-draft, sea-going ships across the bar into the Mississippi, John P. Jackson was part of the task force which secured Pass Christian, Miss., 4 April. During the operation she joined New London and Hatteras in driving off Confederate steamers Carondelet, Pamlico, and Oregon as they attempted to prevent the Union landing which wrested the area around Biloxi, Miss., from the South. The same day John P. Jackson captured steamer P. C. Wallis with a cargo of naval stores.

She next escorted General Butler's occupation troop ships to the Mississippi passes while towing Army transport Great Republic. Leaving the Army vessels at the mouth of the Mississippi to await the outcome of the impending naval effort against New Orleans, John P. Jackson joined the mortar boats for the intense bombardment of Forts Philip and Jackson. The canonade began 18 April and lasted until Farragut's ships had safely passed the Confederate batteries 6 days later dooming the Southern riverside strongholds and the metropolis which they had fought to protect.

John P. Jackson again supported Farragut when lie ran the gauntlet at Vicksburg almost 2 months later to meet Flag Officer Davis, who had battled south along the Mississippi valley. Braving the fire of skillfully used Vicksburg cannons, Porter's flotilla peppered the Southern emplacements with shell, grape, and shrapnel throughout the daring dash. During the fray John P. Jackson was hit twice by 7-inch rifle projectiles, leaving her without power and causing other serious damage. Moments later Clifton, coming to her aid with a towline, was struck in her starboard boiler; seven men were killed by scalding steam. John P. Jackson quickly lowered her boats to save a number of other men who had been forced overboard by the steam.

After repairs at New Orleans, John P. Jackson was ordered to Mississippi Sound 30 September for reconnaissance work; and she served there throughout the remainder of the war. Fire broke out in her engineering spaces 8 October, but efficient and courageous damage control action extinguished the blaze and saved the ship. She captured sloop Young Gustave in Mississippi Sound 21 October, and diligently performed blockade duty in the months that followed. On 12 September 1863 she cooperated with Genessee and Calhoun in chasing steamer Fanny ashore where she was burned to prevent her falling into Union hands. The next day the same team engaged Confederate steamer Jeff Davis, forcing her to withdraw to the shelter of batteries at Grant's Pass. The Union vessels then silenced the Grant's Pass guns. John P. Jackson overhauled and took schooner Syrena bound from Biloxi to Pascagoula 21 October.

Admiral Farragut's next major objective was Mobile Bay. John P. Jackson was on hand at the outset of the campaign 16 February 1864 when she towed three schooners into position for the bombardment of Fort Powell and then joined in the cannonade. For the next 6 months she operated from New Orleans supporting the operations which culminated 5 August in Admiral Farragut's stirring victory.

John P. Jackson captured schooner Medora in Mississippi Sound 8 December 1864, and continued to serve in the West Gulf Blockading Squadron until after the end of the war. She departed Pensacola Navy Yard 26 July 1865 and 2 days later arrived New Orleans, where she decommissioned 5 September. She was sold at public auction in New Orleans to Marcy, Maury & Co. 27 September 1865. She was redocumented J. P. Jackson 3 October 1865 and was later abandoned in 1871.

Published: Thu Jul 23 10:18:39 EDT 2015