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Tacony I (SwStr)

(SwStr.: t. 974; 1. 205'; b. 35'; dph. 11'6"; dr. 8'10"; s. 15 k.; cpl. 145; a. 2 11" D. sb., 3 9" D. sb., 1 24-pdr. how., 2 12-pdrs., 1 brass fieldpiece)

A section of northeastern Philadelphia on the bank of the Delaware River.


The first Tacony, a double-ended, side-wheel steamer built by the Philadelphia Navy Yard, was launched on 7 May 1863; sponsored by Miss Ellie M. Wells, daughter of Lt. Comdr. Clark H. Wells, the captain of the yard at Philadelphia; and commissioned there on 12 February 1864, Lt. Comdr. William T. Truxtun in command.

The double-ender was assigned to the East Gulf Blockading Squadron and sailed south from Philadelphia soon thereafter, bound for Key West. She reached Newport News, Va., on the 15th and entered the Norfolk Navy Yard for repairs to her steering machinery. While the steamer was undergoing this yard work, a despatch arrived reassigning her to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. She departed Hampton Roads before dawn on the morning of 27 February, bound for the North Carolina sounds to strengthen Union forces afloat in those dangerous waters against the attacks by the Confederate ironclad ram Albemarle, then reportedly nearing completion up the Roanoke River. But for a brief run, via Norfolk, to Washington for repair, she served in the sounds until after the destruction of the Albemarle on the night of 27 and 28 October.

In December, Tacony left the sounds to join the force Rear Admiral David D. Porter was assembling to destroy the defences of Wilmington; and she participated in the abortive attack against Fort Fisher on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. She was part of the powerful fleet which Porter led back to Fort Fisher in mid-January 1865, and she supported the effort which finally compelled that valuable Confederate stronghold to surrender on the 15th. She also participated in the attack against Fort Anderson late in the month.

The ship continued blockade duty through the collapse of the Confederacy and then sailed north. She was decommissioned at Boston on 21 June 1865 for repairs. Recommissioned on 16 September 1865, the ship served, but for another period out of commission undergoing repairs from 21 November 1866 to 12 February 1867, until 7 October 1867 when she was decommissioned for the final time at Portsmouth, N.H. Tacony remained in ordinary until 26 August 1868 when she was sold. No trace of her subsequent career has been found.

Published: Fri Sep 25 03:42:55 EDT 2015