USS Potomac (1822)


USS Potomac (1822)

The first USS "Potomac" was a frigate in the United States Navy.

"Potomac" was laid down by the Washington Navy Yard in August 1819, was launched March 1822. Fitting out was not completed until 1831, when Captain John Downes assumed command as first commanding officer.

On her first overseas cruise, "Potomac" departed New York 19 August 1831 for the Pacific Squadron via the Cape of Good Hope. On 6 February 1832, "Potomac" shelled the town of Quallah Batoo, Sumatra in punishment for the capture of merchantman "Friendship" of Salem, Massachusetts and the massacre of her crew in February 1831. Of the 282 sailors and Marines who landed, two were killed while 150 natives, including the chieftain, Po Mahomet died. After circumnavigating the world, "Potomac" returned to Boston 23 May 1834.

The frigate next made two cruises to the Brazil Station, protecting American interests in Latin America from 20 October 1834 to 5 March 1837, and from 12 May 1840 to 31 July 1842. From 8 December 1844 to 4 December 1845, she patrolled in the West Indies, and again from 14 March 1846 to 20 July 1847 in the Caribbean and the Gulf. During this latter period, she landed troops at Port Isabel, Texas, on 8 May 1846 in support of General Zachary Taylor’s army at the Battle of Palo Alto. She also participated in the siege of Vera Cruz, 9 March to 28 March 1847.

"Potomac" served as flagship for the Home Squadron 1855–1856. At the outbreak of the American Civil War, she departed New York 10 September 1861 for the Gulf Blockading Squadron off Mobile Bay. At this time, William Thomas Sampson served aboard her until 25 December, 1861 when he transferred to the "Water Witch" as executive officer. The "Potomac" became the stores ship for the squadron and remained at Pensacola Navy Yard as a receiving ship until 1867, when she was sent to Philadelphia. She remained at League Island Navy Yard, Philadelphia until she decommissioned 13 January 1877. She was sold to E. Stannard & Company 24 May 1877.

See USS "Potomac" for other ships of this name.


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