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Augusta (1861-1868)

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USS Augusta , a 1310-ton side-wheel steam cruiser, was built at New York in 1852 as the civilian steamer Augusta. She operated on Atlantic and Gulf coast routes until the outbreak of the Civil War. The Navy purchased her at the beginning of August 1861, converted her to a warship and placed her in commission in late September. Augusta's first combat operation was the November 1861 expedition to capture Port Royal, South Carolina. During the shelling of Forts Walker and Beauregard that opened the assault, she helped drive off the local Confederate Navy squadron and later joined in the bombardment. After the forts' surrender, Augusta reestablished the blockade of Savannah, Georgia. Sent to duty off Charleston, S.C., in December, she captured the blockade runners Cheshire on the 6th and Island Belle at year's end.

Augusta remained on the Charleston blockade during the first eight months of 1862, with a few weeks out in June and July to cover Wassau Sound, Georgia. After an overhaul at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she escorted a convoy of Army transports to the Gulf of Mexico and helped to protect shipping between Panama and the U.S. from the threat posed by the Confederate raider Alabama. She returned to the Charleston area in January 1863 and took part in the engagement with the Confederate ironclads Chicora and Palmetto State at the end of that month. In July, Augusta went north, spent a few weeks searching for the enemy cruiser Florida and then decommissioned for extensive repairs at the New York Navy Yard.

Recommissioned in May 1864, Augusta escorted the monitor Tecumseh to Pensacola, Florida, and operated on commerce protection service between the U.S. and Panama. However, continual engine problems finally left her so disabled that she had to be towed home. She was again decommissioned in January 1865 and was under repair for more than a year.

Augusta returned to active service in April 1866, and the next month began a lengthy trans-Atlantic deployment as escort for the monitor Miantonomoh. Between June 1866 and May 1867, the two ships visited European ports ranging from Russia to Italy. They returned to the United States by way of the Canary Islands and the West Indies, arriving at Philadelphia in July. Decommissioned soon thereafter, USS Augusta was sold in December 1868 and subsequently became the merchant steamer Magnolia.

This page features all the views we have related to USS Augusta (1861-1868).

For pictorial coverage of this ship as a civilian steamer, see:

  • Augusta (U.S. Steamship, 1852).

    Photo #: NH 57276

    USS Augusta
    (1861-1868)

    In European waters, circa 1866-1867.



    Photo #: NH 59366

    "Merchant Steamers Converted into Gun-boats."


    Engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", July-December 1861 volume.
    It depicts thirteen merchant steamships acquired by the U.S. Navy between April and August 1861 and subsequently converted into warships, plus the steamer Nashville (far left), which became a Confederate cruiser.
    U.S. Navy ships, as identified below the image bottom, are (from left to right: Alabama, Quaker City, Santiago de Cuba (listed as "St. Jago de Cuba", Mount Vernon, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Florida, De Soto, Augusta, James Adger, Monticello, Bienville and R.R. Cuyler.



    Online Image: 182KB; 1200 x 470 pixels

    Photo #: NH 59316

    "Portion of the Naval Expedition, as it appeared on the night of October 16, sailing to Hampton Roads. -- Sketched by an Officer on Board." 1861


    Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", July-December 1861 volume, pages 712. It depicts Flag Officer DuPont's squadron en route to capture Port Royal, South Carolina.
    Ships, all U.S. Navy, as identified below the image bottom, are (from left): Wabash, Florida, Augusta, Alabama, Ottawa, Seneca and Pembina.



    Photo #: NH 59315

    "The Great Naval Expedition" to capture Port Royal, South Carolina, November 1861


    Engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", July-December 1861 volume, pages 696-697.
    It depicts Federal warships and transports, under Flag Officer Samuel F. DuPont, USN, departing Hampton Roads, Virginia, en route to Port Royal.
    Ships, as identified below the image bottom, are (from left): (illegible), Oriental, Baltic, USS O.M. Pettit, USS Gem of the Sea, Great Republic, USS Wabash (DuPont's flagship), USS Seneca, USS Pembina, USS Connecticut, tug Mercury, USS Unadilla, USS Augusta, USS Alabama and (illegible).



    Photo #: NH 1099

    Bombardment and Capture of Port Royal, South Carolina, 7 November 1861


    Engraving by W. Ridgway after a drawing by C. Parsons, published by Virtue & Co., New York.
    It depicts Federal warships, under Flag Officer Samuel F. DuPont, USN, bombarding Fort Beauregard (at left) and Fort Walker (at right). Troop transports are standing by in the distance.
    U.S. Navy ships present and identified include (from left): Mohican, Susquehanna, Augusta, Wabash (Flagship), Unadilla, Pawnee, Bienville, Ottawa, Curlew and Seneca.



    Photo #: NH 46260

    USS Miantonomoh
    (1865-1874)

    At Malaga, Spain, during her European cruise, circa early 1867.
    USS Augusta, her companion on the cruise, is in the left background.

    Courtesy of Mrs. William E. Taylor, 1941, from the collection of Medical Inspector William E. Taylor, USN.



    Photo #: NH 50747

    Asssistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus V. Fox
    (6th from left, 2nd row)

    With Russian officers and officers of USS Miantonomoh and USS Augusta, during his visit to Europe in 1866.
    Others identified in this group are:
    Captain Alexander Murray, USN, Commanding Officer, USS Augusta (3rd from left, 2nd row);
    and
    Commander John C. Beaumont, USN, Commanding Officer, USS Miantonomoh (7th from left, 2nd row).



    Photo #: NH 53392

    Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus V. Fox
    (top);
    Commander Alexander Murray, USN, Commanding Officer, USS Augusta (lower left); and
    Commander John C. Beaumont, USN, Commanding Officer, USS Miantonomoh (lower right)

    Photographs published as a carte de visite at St. Petersburg, Russia. Probably taken during the August 1866 visit there by Assistant Secretary Fox accompanied by USS Augusta and USS Miantonomoh.



    Photo #: NH 46263

    USS Miantonomoh
    (1865-1874)

    Second page of the ship's log entry for 26 December 1866, while she was at Malaga, Spain, in company with USS Augusta.



    For pictorial coverage of this ship as a civilian steamer, see:

  • Augusta (U.S. Steamship, 1852).

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