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Naval History and Heritage Command

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  • Ship History
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  • Civil War 1861-1865
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Pawtuxet (Sidewheel Gunboat)


A river in Rhode Island.

(Sidewheel Gunboat: displacement 1,173; length between perpendiculars 205'; beam 35'; depth of hold 11'6"; draft 9'6"; speed 13 knots; complement 200; armament 2 100-pounder Parrott rifles., 4 9-inch Dahlgren smoothbores, 2 20-pounder Parrott rifles, 2 24-pounder howitzers; class Sassacus)

Pawtuxet, a side wheel gunboat, was laid down on 3 November 1862 at Portsmouth, N.H. by the Portsmouth Navy Yard' launched on 19 March 1863; delivered to the Navy at New York on 18 May 1864 and commissioned on 26 August 1864, Cmdr. James H. Spotts in command.

Following commissioning, Pawtuxet was ordered to the Grand Banks to join the quest for the Confederate raider Tallahassee, but before she could get underway, Tallahassee had returned to Wilmington. Pawtuxet was then ordered south to join the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Joining the 3rd Division in October 1864 she was ordered to cruise off the Carolina coast, primarily between Capes Lookout and Fear.

At the end of December 1864 she bombarded the defenses at Wilmington in support of the first assault against Fort Fisher. Returning on 13 January 1865, she again turned her guns on that fort; sent men and boats to participate in the successful assault on the 15th; then resumed blockade duties. Shifted to the Virginia coast in April, she was decommissioned at New York on 15 June 1865 and was sold on 15 October 1867.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

10 February 2021

Published: Wed Feb 10 15:12:49 EST 2021