Today in History:

Choctaw (1863-1866)

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USS Choctaw, a 1004-ton ironclad river gunboat and ram, was originally built in 1856 at New Albany, Indiana, as a side-wheel merchant steamer. Acquired by the Government in September 1862, her conversion to a warship was begun using plans by Commodore William D. Porter but these were altered while work was underway. Commissioned in March 1863, Choctaw was a singular-looking vessel, probably the most imposing in appearance of any of her Mississippi Squadron contemporaries. In actuality, however, she was weakly-armored and very slow.

Choctaw's operational career began with a bombardment of Haynes' Bluff, on the Yazoo River, Mississippi, in late April and early May 1863. She was hit 53 times in this action, with many shots penetrating her armor, but casualties among her crew were light. Later in May, she participated in the capture of Yazoo City and the destruction of the Confederate Navy Yard there. In March-May 1864, Choctaw was part of the large Naval force that took part in a major campaign on the Red River, in Louisiana. She was decommissioned in July 1865, after the end of the Civil War, and was sold in March 1866.

This page features all our views of USS Choctaw.

Photo #: NH 55218

USS Choctaw (1863-1866)


Off Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1863-65.



Photo #: NH 55219

USS Choctaw (1863-1866)


Off Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1863-65.



Photo #: NH 55215

USS Choctaw (1863-1866)


Photographed in the Western Rivers region during the Civil War, with her crew's laundry drying from a line rigged from the foremast to the bow.



Photo #: NH 55216

USS Choctaw (1863-1866)


With a tug by her stern, in the Mississippi River area during 1863-65.



Photo #: NH 55217

USS Choctaw (1863-1866)


In the Mississippi River area, 1863-65, with a tug astern.



Photo #: NH 58714

"The Western Iron-clad Gun-boat Ram 'Lafayette'"


Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 1863. It actually depicts USS Choctaw (1863-1866), not USS Lafayette.



Photo #: NH 42283

"A Gun-boat and Mortar-boat"


Line engraving from a 19th Century publication. It depicts the river ironclad USS Choctaw (1863-1866), at right, with a mortar schooner.



Photo #: NH 55576

USS Choctaw (1863-1866)


Crewmen on deck amidships, in 1863-65.
This view looks forward from in front of the pilothouse, with the starboard smokestack in the left background. The name "Choctaw" is visible on the cap ribbons of some of these men.



Online Image: 96KB; 740 x 575 pixels

Note:
This image has been published (most notably in Miller's "Photographic History of the Civil War", Volume 6, page 211, as representing the crew of USS Lafayette. Ship structure and cap ribbons prove conclusively that it shows crewmen on USS Choctaw.

Photo #: NH 55577

USS Choctaw (1863-1866)


Crewmen on deck amidships, in 1863-65.
This view looks forward from in front of the pilothouse, with the starboard smokestack in the left center background. The name "Choctaw" is visible on the cap ribbons of some of these men.

Collection of Rear Admiral Ammen C. Farenholt, USN(MC), 1935.



Online Image: 121KB; 740 x 585 pixels

Note:
This image has been published (most notably in Miller's "Photographic History of the Civil War", Volume 6, page 210, as representing the crew of USS Carondelet. Ship structure and cap ribbons prove conclusively that it shows crewmen on USS Choctaw.

Note: Photo # NH 58716, identified in its original caption as USS Choctaw, actually represents USS Lafayette (1863-1866).

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