Today in History:

Agawam (1864-1867)

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USS Agawam, a 1173-ton Sassacus class "double-ender" steam gunboat, was built at Portland, Maine. Commissioned in March 1864, she was assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. During the year, she was stationed in the James River, Virginia, where she supported mine clearance operations and several times fired on Confederate forces. On 13 August 1864, Agawam was heavily engaged by three enemy shore batteries near Four-Mile Creek, losing three men killed in a four-hour-long battle. In late December 1864, while their ship was under repair at Norfolk Navy Yard, members of Agawam's crew participated in the initial effort to capture Fort Fisher, North Carolina.

From February 1865 to the end of the Civil War, Agawam operated on the inland waters of North Carolina. After the conflict, she served along the Atlantic Coast. Decommissioned in March 1867, USS Agawam was sold in October of that year.

This page features all our views of USS Agawam.

Photo #: NH 57812

USS Agawam (1864-1867)


Sepia wash drawing by R.G. Skerrett, 1899, depicting the ship underway during 1864-65.

Courtesy of the U.S. Navy Art Collection, Washington, D.C.



Photo #: NH 57252

USS Agawam (1864-1867)


In the James River, Virginia, July 1864. Photographed by Brady & Company, Washington, D.C.

Collection of Surgeon Herman P. Babcock, USN. Donated by his son, George R. Babcock, 1939.



Photo #: NH 57253

USS Agawam (1864-1867)


In the James River, Virginia, 1864-65.



Photo #: NH 58913

USS Agawam (1864-1867)


Ship's officers and crewmen pose on deck, while she was serving on the James River, Virginia, August 1864.
Commander Alexander C. Rhind, ship's Commanding Officer, is at the extreme right with his foot on the ladder. Standing next to him is Assistant Surgeon Herman P. Babcock. Lieutenant George Dewey is in the right center, wearing a straw hat, directly below the end of the davit.
The pivot gun is one of the ship's two 100-pounder Parrot rifles.
Note Marine in the left foreground.

Collection of Surgeon Herman P. Babcock, USN. Donated by his son, George R. Babcock, 1939.



Photo #: NH 61929

USS Agawam (1864-1867)


Some of the ship's officers relaxing on deck, while she was serving on the James River, Virginia, in the summer of 1864.
They are (from left to right):
Assistant Paymaster H. Melville Hanna;
Commander Alexander C. Rhind, Commanding Officer;
Assistant Surgeon Herman P. Babcock; and
Lieutenant George Dewey.
Note awning overhead, and windsail rigged for ventilation of the spaces below decks.

Courtesy of the Library of Congress.




Image Identification Notes -- (# 1): Photo # NH 51955 was long identified as having been taken on board Agawam. However, it was actually taken on board USS Hunchback, as a comparison of ship structure seen in views of both ships will readily reveal.

-- (# 2): It has been conclusively shown that Photo # NH 57251, previously identified as representing USS Agawam, is really a view of another ship, possibly USS Mackinaw.

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