Naval History and Heritage Command

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Philadelphia III (Side-wheel Steamer) 

(SwStr: t. 500; l. 200'; b. 30'; dph. 10'; a. 2 12-pdrs.)

The city in Pennsylvania where the Continental Congress met during much of the American Revolution.

III

The third Philadelphia, a side-wheel, iron-hulled steamer, was operating as a trading vessel between Acquia Creek, Va. and Washington, D.C. at the outbreak of the Civil War. Seized 21 April 1862, in accordance with a Presidential order, she was ordered to the Washington Navy Yard, where she fitted out for naval service.

Philadelphia, Lt. William N. Jeffers in command, operated on the Potomac River as a patrol vessel. In May she was detailed to transport ordnance stores to Fortress Monroe, to Philadelphia and to New York. Upon return to the Washington Navy Yard, Jeffers reported that the steamer was in no respect suitable for outside service. She continued to operate on the Potomac River until October, 1861, primarily transporting troops downriver to Fort Washington.

Philadelphia was assigned duties with the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron in October, and during January and February 1862 served as squadron flagship. Philadelphia took part in the expedition to Hatteras Inlet in January and served as flag-steamer to Flag Officer Louis M. Goldsborough at the battle of Roanoke Island, N.C. 7-8 February. She also took part in the capture of New Berne and later participated in the expedition to the Dismal Swamp Canal 17-20 April.

From August 1863 until 1865 Philadelphia was flagship of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. The highlight of her activities during this period was her participation in the operation against Charleston, S.C. in the fall of 1863.

With the close of hostilities Philadelphia was sent to the Washington Navy Yard where she decommissioned 31 August 1865. She was sold at public auction 15 September to N. L. and G. Griswold.

Published: Thu Aug 20 08:35:02 EDT 2015