Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Mahaska I (SwStr)

(SwStr.: dp. 1,070; l. 228'2"; b. 33'10"; dr. 10'4"; s. 9 k. a. 1 100‑pdr. P.r., 1 9", 4 24‑pdr.)

A Chief of the Fox and Sauk Tribes which inhabited the southern part of Iowa. Although the tribes were moved to Kansas following a treaty with the United States in the 1840's, they, through their chief, are remembered in Iowa in the name of Mahaska County.


The first Mahaska, a wooden, double‑ender, sidewheel steamer of the third rate, was built at the Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H., for $130,001.68; launched 10 December 1861 and commissioned 5 May 1862, Lt. N. H. Farquhar in command.

Mahaska sailed from Portsmouth 15 May 1862, reporting shortly thereafter for duty in the rivers flowing into Chesapeake Bay. On 20 June she engaged the Confederate batteries along the Appomattox River and on 1 November destroyed entrenchments at West Point, Va. Continuing her patrols into the next year, she captured the schooner General Taylor in Chesapeake Bay 20 February 1863. Moving south later in the year, she joined in the blockade of Charleston and participated in the attacks on the forts and batteries in that harbor: Fort Wagner, 8 and 18 August; Morris Island, 13 to 17, and 20 August; and Fort Sumter, 21 August 1863. The following year she took part in the joint expedition against Jacksonville, Fla., 5 February to 4 April, remaining on picket and patrol duty in the St. Johns River until 16 August when she returned to Charleston. She then steamed north to Boston for overhaul.

Overhaul completed 16 January 1865, Mahaska returned to Florida waters, capturing the schooner Delia, near Bayport, 17 February. After the end of the Civil War, the steamer continued to cruise in southern waters until decommissioned at New Orleans 12 September 1868. She was sold 20 November 1868 to John Dole of Boston.

Published: Wed Aug 05 10:14:44 EDT 2015