USS Carondelet (1862-1865)


USS Carondelet


USS Carondelet, a 512-ton Cairo class ironclad river gunboat, was built at Saint Louis, Missouri, for the U.S. Army's Western Gunboat Flotilla. Commissioned in January 1862 with Commander Henry A. Walke, USN, as her captain, Carondelet quickly entered combat, taking part in the captures of Forts Henry and Donelson, Tennessee, in February 1862. In March and April, she played an important role in the campaign to capture the Confederate fortress at Island Number Ten, on the Mississippi River. This was followed by operations against Fort Pillow and Memphis, Tennessee, during April-June 1862. With the upper Mississippi now under Union control, Carondelet spent much of the following year in the long campaign against Vicksburg, Mississippi. On 15 July 1862, while in the Yazoo River, she was badly damaged in an engagement with the Confederate ironclad Arkansas. Along with the other units of the Army's Western Rivers "navy", she was formally transferred to the U.S. Navy in October 1862. In April 1863, Carondelet was a member of the ironclad force that ran past Vicksburg and later bombarded Grand Gulf, Mississippi. In May, she participated in extensive bombardments of Vicksburg, part of the combined Army-Navy operations that led to that fortified city's surrender on 4 July 1863. Thereafter, she was involved with a variety of expeditions and patrol operations, among them the March-May 1864 Red River expedition. Decommissioned in June 1865, USS Carondelet was sold in November of that year. Her hull was subsequently used as a civilian wharfboat, while her engines were installed in another river steamer.