USS Niagra

USS Niagara

Union Screw Sloop-of-War

Builder: Brooklyn Naval Shipyard
Laid down: October 1854
Launched: 23 February 1855
Commissioned: 6 April 1857
Decommissioned: 28 September 1864
Fate: Sold, 6 May 1885

General Characteristics
Type: Sloop
Area of Operation: East Gulf Blockading Squadron 1861-62; Refitting 1862-63; European Squadron 1864-65
Displacement: 5,540 long tons (5,629 t)
Length: 328 feet 10 inches (100.23 m)
Beam: 55 feet 4 inches (16.87 m)
Draft: 24 feet 8 inches (7.44 m)
Propulsion: Sail and 3 direct acting engines
Speed: Maximum sustained-13.5-14.5 knots
Complement: 637 Officers and Crew
Built with twelve 11-inch Dahlgren SB on spar deck. During refit twenty 11-inch Dahlgrens were added to a gun deck with 12 150pdr Parrott rifles were added to spar deck. the former were removed due to excessive rolling and dangerous conditions.
Armor: None

Quickly preparing for duty on the blockade of southern ports, Niagara arrived off Charleston, South Carolina on 10 May, and two days later captured blockade runner General Parkhill attempting to make Charleston from Liverpool. Through the summer she gave similar service at Mobile Bay, and was at Fort Pickens, Florida on 22 September when Flag Officer William McKean in Niagara took command of the East Gulf Blockading Squadron. She engaged Confederate defenses at Fort McRee, Pensacola, and Warrington on 22 November, and was hulled twice above the waterline. On 5 June 1862 she sailed for repairs at Boston Navy Yard, where she decommissioned 16 June. Recommissioned 14 October 1863, Niagara steamed from New York on 1 June 1864 to watch over Confederate warships then fitting out in Europe. She reached her base at Antwerp on 26 June, and from there roved the English Channel, the French Atlantic Coast and the Bay of Biscay. On 15 August she took steamer Georgia, a former Confederate warship, off Portugal. In February and March, with Sacramento she lay at Ferrol, Spain, to prevent Confederate ironclad Stonewall from departing, but the much more powerful southern ship was able to make good her escape.

Niagara patrolled with the European Squadron until 29 August when she cleared Cadiz for Boston, arriving on 20 September. There she decommissioned on 28 September 1864, remaining in the Boston Navy Yard until sold on 6 May 1885.

List of Commanders/Crew
Captain W.W. McKean
Captain Thomas Craven

Painting Information
Black with a white stripe

Books/Articles and other resources
The Old Steam Navy: Frigates, Sloops and Gunboats, 1815-1885, by Thomas Canney
Warships of the Civil War Navies by Paul Silverstone

Back to Union Screw Sloops


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