USS Housatonic (1861)

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The first USS Housatonic was a screw sloop-of-war of the United States Navy, named for Housatonic River of New England which rises in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, and flows southward into Connecticut before emptying into Long Island Sound a little east of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Housatonic was launched on November 20, 1861, by the Boston Navy Yard at Charlestown, Massachusetts, sponsored by Miss Jane Coffin Colby and Miss Susan Paters Hudson; and commissioned there on August 29, 1862, with Commander William Rogers Taylor in command. Housatonic was one of four sister ships which included USS Adirondack, USS Ossipee, and USS Juniata.


Service history

Blockading Charleston

Housatonic departed Boston on September 11 and arrived at Charleston on September 19 to join the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. She took station outside the bar.

Capture of the Princess Royal

On January 29, 1863, her boats, aided by those of USS Augusta, USS G. W. Blunt, and USS America, boarded and refloated the iron steamer Princess Royal. The gunboat Unadilla had driven the blockade runner ashore as she attempted to slip into Charleston from England with a cargo consisting of two marine engines destined for Confederate ironclads and a large quantity of ordnance and ammunition. These imports were of such great potential value to the South that they have been called "the war's most important single cargo of contraband."

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