Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Monticello I (ScStGbt)

(ScStGbt: t. 655; l. 180'; b. 29'; dr. 12'10"; s. 11.5 k.; a. 8 May 1861 1 9", 2 32‑pdrs.)

Home of President Thomas Jefferson near Charlottesville, Va., noted as a landmark in American domestic architecture, and designed by Jefferson himself.


The first Monticello, a wooden screw‑steamer was built at Mystic, Conn., in 1859; chartered by the Navy in May 1861; and purchased 12 September 1861 at New York from H. P. Cromwell & Co., for service in the Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Capt. Henry Eagle in command.

Monticello was renamed Star 3 May 1861, but resumed her original name 23 May. Seeing immediate action, Monticello relieved Baltimore in blockading the James River and preventing communication with the Elizabeth River 2 May, then relieved Quaker City at Cape Henry the 8th. She engaged the batteries at Sewell's Point 10 to 14 May, then continued blockade duty until steaming up the Rappahannock to Smith's Island 24 June. Operating with the Army on the James River above Newport News 5 July, she dispersed a body of Confederate cavalry. Often engaging Confederate batteries through the remainder of 1861, she was in the squadron that captured the batteries at Hatteras Inlet 28 and 29 August in the first significant Union victory, one which greatly encouraged the North. She drove off Confederates attacking Union soldiers in that area 5 October.

Departing Baltimore 25 March 1862 for the blockade of Wilmington, N.C., Monticello sent a boat party to the expedition up Little River 26 June that destroyed two schooners. She engaged the batteries at New Inlet 12 July, and took British schooner Revere off Wilmington 21 October. After relieving Genessee on blockade at Shallow Inlet 15 November, Monticello destroyed British schooners Ariel and Ann there the 24th.

Monticello operated around Little River through 1863, taking British schooner Sun 30 March, and steamer Old Fellow 15 April. She joined the expedition to Murrell's Inlet 25 April, and shelled a schooner there 12 May with Conemaugh. In November she destroyed salt works near Little River Inlet.

Returning to the Wilmington blockade in January 1864, she joined In the expedition to Smithville 29 February, capturing Captain Kelly of General Hobert's staff. In July she joined in the chase after CSS Florida, and 24 August attacked Confederate batteries at Masonboro Inlet.

Monticello participated in the attacks on Fort Fisher 24 and 25 December and 13 and 14 January 1865. She took the surrender of Fort Casswell 18 and 19 January, then participated in the Little River expedition of 4 to 6 February.

After the war, Monticello decommissioned 24 July 1865 at Portsmouth, N.H., and was sold at public auction at Boston to W. H. Lincoln 1 November 1865. Redocumented for merchant service 25 July 1866, she served American commerce until foundering off Newfoundland 29 April 1872.

Published: Tue Aug 11 12:12:58 EDT 2015