Today in History:

Dawn (1861-1865)

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USS Dawn, a 399-ton screw steam gunboat, was built in 1856-57 at New York City for commercial use. She was chartered by the Navy in April 1861 and commissioned for Civil War duty early in the following month as USS Dawn. During her initial service, with the Potomac Flotilla from then until early 1862, Dawn captured three vessels carrying contraband. In October 1861, with the war clearly not going to be short, the Navy purchased her outright.

After repairs at the Washington Navy Yard, D.C., Dawn was sent to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron in late April 1862. While on that station, she operated along the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. In November 1862 and again in January-March 1863, she took part in operations against Fort McAllister, Georgia, and assisted in the destruction of the Confederate privateer Rattlesnake.

Dawn was reassigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron in December 1863, following five months under repair at New York. She served in the James River area of Virginia in 1864 and into 1865. Decommissioned in July, USS Dawn was sold in November 1865. Renamed Eutaw, she operated as a merchant vessel until wrecked in December 1869.

This page features all the views we have of the Civil War gunboat Dawn.

Photo #: NH 66961

Steamship Dawn
(1856)

Watercolor by Erik Heyl, for use in his book "Early American Steamers", Volume III.
This vessel served as USS Dawn in 1861-1865 and was later the civilian steamer Eutaw.

Courtesy of Erik Heyl.



Photo #: NH 58899

"The Iron-clad 'Montauk' engaging the Rebel Fort McAllister, in the Ogeechee River, 28th January 1863. -- Sketched by an Officer of the 'Dawn.'"


Line engraving, published in "Harper's Weekly", 1863, depicting USS Montauk in the foreground, firing on the fort. At left, also bombarding, are the U.S. ships Seneca, Wissahickon, Dawn and C.P. Williams.



Photo #: NH 59286

Confederate Privateer Rattlesnake

(ex-CSS Nashville, 1861-1862)

Line engraving published in "The Soldier in Our Civil War", Volume II, page 41, showing Rattlesnake burning after being shelled by the monitor USS Montauk, commanded by Captain John L. Worden, USN, in the Ogeechee River, Georgia on 28 February 1863. Fort McAllister is in the right-center background, and the U.S. Navy gunboats Wissahickon, Seneca and Dawn are providing supporting fire in the left distance.



Photo #: NH 59288

Bombardment of Fort McAllister, Georgia, 3 March 1863


Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", January-June 1863, page 196, depicting the bombardment of Fort McAllister by the U.S. Navy monitors Passaic, Patapsco and Nahant. The engraving is based on a sketch by "an eye-witness" on board USS Montauk, which is in the right center foreground. In the left foreground, firing on the fort, are the mortar schooners C.P. Williams, Norfolk Packet and Para. Among other U.S. Navy ships involved were gunboats Wissahickon, Seneca and Dawn and tug Dandelion.



Photo #: NH 59287

Bombardment of Fort McAllister, Georgia, 3 March 1863


Line engraving, after a sketch by W.T. Crane, published in "The Soldier in Our Civil War", Volume II, page 39. It depicts the U.S. Navy monitors Patapsco, Passaic and Nahant firing on Fort McAllister (at far left) from the Ogeechee River. Other U.S. Navy ships are in the foreground. Montauk is the monitor in this group (farthest from the artist). Firing on the fort from the right foreground are mortar schooners, including C.P. Williams, Norfolk Packet and Para. Among other U.S. Navy ships involved were gunboats Wissahickon, Seneca and Dawn and tug Dandelion, all screw steamers.



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