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1864: The Kearsrage's sister-sloop, the USS Mohican, bombards Fort Fisher.

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Anyone getting the new Bluejacket Kit of the USS Kearsarge might want to consider building her lesser known older sister ship instead.


More heavily armed than the Kearsarge, in October 1864, she mounted one 100-pounder rifle, six 9-inch Dahlgren smooth-bores and two 30-pounder Rifles.


The First Battle of Fort Fisher:



"Detailed report of Commander Ammen, U. 5. Navy, commanding U. S. 5. Mohican.

Off Beaufort, N. C., December 31, 1864.
    ADMIRAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your
General Order No. 75, directing comman ding officers to make their
report in relation to our attacks on Fort Fisher and the adjacent earth-
works, and also a copy of a communication to you from Major-General
Benj. F. Butler, and in regard to some points touched upon you request
an opinion.
    At about 11:30 a. in. of the 24th, the fleet got underway and stood
in, in line of battle, toward Fort Fisher, bearing about W. S. W. and
some 6 or 7 miles distant. The Mohican was kept closely in position
assigned, following the leading vessel, the frigate Minnesota, and fol-
lowed by the frigate Colorado, and she successively by the other ves-
sels forming the main line.
    At about 1 p. in. the Minnesota sheered in out of line and took up
her position at anchor, opening at once on Fort Fisher, some 2,100
yards distant. As per plan of battle, the Mohican was sheered in ahead

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of her, fired slowly on the fort, to get a range, and aiichored, then
opened briskly with the whole battery. The fort had opened on the
Minnesota and on the Mohican previous to our anchoring.
    The Colorado sheered in ahead of us, letting go kedge astern, and
then anchored and opened fiercely on the fort. The vessels forming
the line then successively, with more or less success, took np their
positions and opened.
    The ironclads, led by the New Ironsides, had anchored, a few minutes
preceding the Minnesota, some 500 or 600 yards to the northward and
westward, and were slowly getting their range when we anchored,
and the outer line of ves~els moved into position after the maui line
had anchored, and opened on the Mound and several detached ease-
mated guns.
    The fire from the fort became weak as the vessels anchored and
opened fire. It was soon apparent that they could not work their bar-
bette guns without great loss of life, and the guns crews no doubt
retreated under shelter with a few exceptions where high travel ses and
favorable angles gave them great protection. Different casemated
guns, particularly those mounted in detached mounds and toward the
Mound, continued to fire slowly and evidently with not much effect,
nor would the position of the guns served favor an effective fire. The
whole body of Fort Fisher was filled with bursting shells, and only at
long intervals, if at all, was a gun fired from the main work.
    In the meantime, owing to the wind and the set of the tide, I found
that the use of the propeller and the helm would no longer enable me
to bring the broadside to bear, and was obliged to weigh anchor and
maneuver under steam, holding our position as nearly as possible, and
avoiding interfering with the firing of the other vessels. After exhaust-
ing all the filled IX-inch shells on board ready for use, the Mohican
was withdrawn from the line at about 4:10 p. in., making signal to
you of the cause, and we commenced filling shells without delay. After
sunset the fleet withdrew and the Mohi can ran into line and anchored.
    At about 9 a. m. of the 25th the signal was made to get underway
and form line of battle. The Mohican took her position and the fleet
stood in to the attack. When nearly under fire I was directed verbally
from you not to take position until further orders.
    The Minnesota, the leading vessel of the main line, proceeded in and
anchored, got underway, and, after various attempts, obtained a well-
chosen position, the main line awaiting her movements. The ironclads
having preceded [us], during this time were in position, firing slowly
and receiving a part of the fire of Fort Fisher.
    After the position of the Minnesota was satisfactory I received orders
from you, about noon, to take position close astern of the New Iron-
sides, which I did without delay, firing slowly until a good range was
obtained, then opened briskly on the fort. Iwas enabled to see, through
the absence of smoke, that our fire was very effective, delivered at a
short 10-second range. One of the rebels guns was seen to be dis-
mounted by our fire.
    Half an hour after we had anchored the Colorado passed ahead of the
Minnesota and into position, anchoring and delivering a very effective
fire. The whole line soon took position and opened very heavily and
evidently with great effect, driving the rebels from their guns, with a
few exceptions, as those in casemates amid other places sheltered and
distant. The position of the Mohican enabled me to see well, as I was
first at anchor within half a ships length of the New Ironsides, ans

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finding that anchoring impeded an effective use of the battery, I
weighed, and in delivering fire drifted 100 or 200 yards nearer the fort.
    At 2:05 p. m. the suppiy of the 10 second fuzes and the rifle ammu-
nition was exhausted, and the Mohican was withdrawn from action for
the purpose of obtaining more, speaking the Malvern for the purpose
and obtaining none. Not being directed to go under fire again, we
remained spectators near the Minnesota~ until about 4 p. in., when I
received orders to aid in debarking troops, and proceeded to execute,
but instead of debarking aided in bringing off the soldiers that had
already reached the shore.
    It has not been my lot to witness any operation comparable in force
or in effect to the bombardment of Fort Fisher by the fleet, and I feel
satisfied that any attempt to keep out of their bombproofs or to work
their guns would have been attended with great loss of life to the rebels,
and would have proven a fruitless attempt.
    On the first day we delivered 217 IX-inch shells, 59 100-pounder
rifle, and 89 30-pounder rifle shells. On the second day we delivered
103 IX-inch shells, 20 100-pounder rifle, and 25 30-pounder rifle shells,
making a total of 513.
    Our firing was effective as well as rapid, and I have to express my
high appreciation of the ability and zeal of Lieutenant J. D. Marvin,
the executive officer of this vessel, and of Acting Master William Bur-
ditt, whose long and varied professional experience proved useful.
Acting Boatswain Josiah B. Aiken, owing to a deficiency of officers,
had charge of the 100-pounder rifle and served it admirably.
    I have to express my satisfaction at the excellent behavior of the
officers and crew, and do not doubt that when the occasion arrives
when they should do so they will stand to their guns as long as enough
men remain to serve them.
    In relation to the effect of the fire of the fleet on the fort, I beg leave
to express my congratulations, as I did verbally on meeting you after
the actions. It did not require a visit to the fort to see that enormous
traverses were nearly leveled, as at the S. E. angle. The stockade or
abattis must have been much shattered, and the debris from the par-
apets must have filled in the ditch greatly. I feel satisfied that every-
thing was effected that can be by powerful batteries against a sand-
work, and that we could and can keep the enemy in their bombproofs
pending an advance of troops to the foot of the parapet.
    The official letter of General Butler referred to, [which] states that
General Weitzel advanced his skirmish line within 50 yards of the fort,
while the garrison was kept in their bombproofs by the fire of the navy,
and so closely that three or four mcii of the picket line ventured upon
the parapet and through the sally-port of the work, is, I think, entirely
confirmatory as to the effectiveness of our fire. He adds: This was
done while the shells of the navy were falling about the heads of the
(laring men who entered the work, but appears to forget that at any
given signal from an assaulting column, that this fire would cease and
the enemy be found not defending the parapet but safely stowed away
in bombproofs.
    I do not know what more could be asked of naval guns than to afford
a safe approach to the foot of the parapet with no lines of the enemy
drawn up to receive our forces. Beyond that, I suppose everything
would depend upon the relative forces of the combatants and the vigor
of the assault, and although the work might not, in a military sense, be
much injured, I would think the likelihood of carrying the work would

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be greatly increased by such disposition without loss of life of the
respective forces.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    Rear-Admiral D. P. PORTER,
Commanding North Atlantic Squadron.

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At  the Second battle of Fort Fisher, January 1865:


Report of Commander Ammen, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. Mohican, transmitting report
of casualties.

Off New Inlet, North Carolina, January 17, 1865.
    SIR: I have the honor to report that at daylight on the morning of
the 13th the ~1Iahiean was got underway, following the Brooklyn, and
followed by the Tacony and the vessels composing the line, and stood in
and along the coast until the Half Moon battery was reached, some 3
miles to the northward of Fort Fisher, when the line anchored on sig-
nal and the shore line was shelled

Page 470


    On signal all of our boats were sent to aid in debarking the troops,
which was accomplished at about 3p. m. On signal at 3:35 the Mohican
was again underway in line, as before, in close order, and anchored on
signal in line with kedge astern and anchor ahead, in position assigned,
opening on Fort Fisher at 4:25 and firing deliberately until 5:30, when
we withdrew on signal. Ninety-two IX-inch shells were expended dur-
ing the day.
    At 9:15 a. m. of the 15th the Mohican was got underway. On signal
and by verbal order wen t in to deliver fire on Fort Fisher, making fast
a stern line to the New Ironsides for a spring, and anchoring. At 10:30
we opened a deliberate fire on Fort Fisher, directed by signals from
time to time, and maintained it until 3:47, when signal was made to cease
firing. During the day 327 IX-inch shells were fired and 17 30-pounder
rifle shells, the latter directed at steamers in the river with rebel troops
and on the Federal Point batteries. The firing on both days was care-
fully delivered and was effective.
    In the meantime, obeying signals, the first, second, and fourth cutters
were dispatched, under charge of Acting Master William Burditt,
Acting Masters Mate James Paine, and Acting Boatswain Josiah
B. Aiken, with boats crews, containing a total of fifty-two officers, sail-
ors, and marines, to the rendezvous on the beach.
    The list of killed, wounded, and missing has been given in a separate
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Rear-Admiral DAVID D. PORTER,
Commanding North Atlantic A3quadron.


Off New Inlet, North Carolina, January 16, 1865.
    SIR: The following casualties occurred to the crew of the Mohican
in our operations against Fort Fisher yesterday:

No.    Name.    Rate.    Remarks.
    1 Oscar Smith    sergeant, marines - - wound of neck; slight.
    2    John Le Mott Russell..    Marine    Bullet wound through left wrist.
    3    5tepben Moore     do    Bullet wound below left knee.
    4    Albert E. Harlowe    Coxswain    wound of left hand.
    5    John Sweeney     do    Killed; shot through heart.
    6    John 5ullivan    Seaman    Bullet wound of left thigh.
    7    Michael Mccauley     do    Flesh wound right leg.
    8    Samuel W. Woodward..    Ordinary seaman ...    Bullet wound below right knee.
    9    John Graham    Corporal, marines .     Bullet wound left shoulder; also by explosion of
                 magazine in Fort Fisher to-day.
    10    William F. Ryan    Marine - .. -     Severe contusions of breast and hack.
    11    Richard Broderick     (10    Sprain of right foot.

    Hiram J. ilenkey (landsman) is missing; was known to have been
wounded and supposed to have been taken on board of some vessel
belonging to the fleet.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Rear-Admiral DAVID D. PORTER,
Commanding North Atlantic Squadron

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The Mohican was earlier at the Battle of Port Royal in 1861:


"The Report of Commander Gordon, U. S. Navy, commanding U. 5. S. Mohican, regarding casualties

to that vessel.

Port Royal Harbor, November 9, 1861.
    SIR: I have to report that in the engagement off Hilton Head this
ship suffered the following damage:
    Shot in starboard main yardarm, five shot in hull.
    One screw to main rigging carried away by a shot. Serious injuries
to after hatch; nothing, however, that may not readily be repaired
with some carpenters aid. One of my boats is so much injured that it
must be replaced or repaired at once, and I have not the means. The
officers and crew did what I expected of them in the engagement, their
entire duty, with spirit and heart.


I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant.
S.    W. Gordon,

Flag-Officer S. F. Du PONT,
Commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron"





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1861: Mohican chasing blockade runners:


"Report of Commander Gordon, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. Mohican.


Off Charleston, January, 1862.


I have to report that yesterday, about half past 6 in the morn-
ing watch, a heavy fog at the time, heard the report of a gun in the
direction of the Roebuck. Slipped my cable and stood in for Moffitts
Channel, but could see nothing. Another gun was heard, and a moment
after saw a steamer inside and near the bar heading to eastward. Gave
chase, when she stood inshore and moved at full speed. I yawed the
ship to fire a long gun. For a momeiit she stopped, but, the fog lifting.
she saw the buoys and made for them. I followed, but found she was
gaining on me fast. I therefore again yawed to fire my XI-inch shells
at her in hopes of disabling her machinery-my only chance. I burst
my shells near her and about her, but she reached the channel and
entered. I regret to say that the Mohican has quite lost her speed in
the last six months, and now I can only obtain 6 or 7 knots under the
same steam and same revolutions which formerly gave inc 9 and 10.
The engines and boilers have been in use without an overhauling for
more than two years. This and a very foul bottom may account for
her sluggishness, but does not relieve mae from the serious annoyance
of having a very slow vessel to do duty requiring the greatest speed.
I have now placed time ship to within half a mile range of a long gun
on Sullivans Island, below Fort Moultrie, but at least three steamers
should he here, and one, at least, very fist, and they must rule out all
gales except south-westers. Then they will he obliged to go to sea.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
s.    w: Gordon,
Flag-Officer S. F. du Pont,
Commanding South Atlantic Rlockading Squadron."


Commodore du Pont's letter [edited by me] to the Secretary of the Navy states that the USS Mohican actually hit her!


"Report of Flag- Officer Du Pont, U. S. Navy, regarding the escape into
Charleston, S. C., of the blockade runner Isabel.

Private.    FLAGSHiP WABASH,
Port Royal Harbor, S. C., January Ii, 1862.


    ... The Isabel, I am sorry to say, has got into Charleston, in a fog. The
Mohican slipped her chain instantly on the lookout vessel of that chan-
nel firing a gun, but the Isabel was too swift. The Mohican blew her
stern off by a shell; this we have from deserters from Stono to-day,
brought down by the Pocahontas. She had coffee on board; no arms.

The Mohican chased her until she drew the fire of the forts.
I am, dear sir, faithfully, yours,
S.    F. Du PONT,
Flag- Officer.


Secretary of the Navy, Washington."



*** Correction: Her Commander was Sylvanus William Godon, not Gordon. ***

Edited by uss frolick
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