- USS William G. Anderson (1859)
USS "William G. Anderson" (1859) was a
barqueused by the Union Navyduring the American Civil War. She was assigned by the Navy to patrol navigable waterways of the Confederacy to prevent the South from trading with other countries.
"William G. Anderson" -- a fast sailing bark built in
1859at Boston, Massachusetts, by C. F. and H. D. Gardiner -- was initially owned by Edmund Boynton of Boston and acquired at Boston by the Navy on 23 August 1861. "William G. Anderson" was commissioned at the Boston Navy Yardon 2 October 1861, Acting Volunteer Lieutenant William C. Rogers in command.
Assigned to the West Gulf Blockade
Standing out to sea on
11 October, "William G. Anderson" joined the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, searching for Confederate privateersin the sea lanes of the West Indies. At daybreak on 12 November, lookouts on the bark made out a sail running before the wind in the Bahama channel and tacked to give chase. When within four miles, those in "William G. Anderson" saw the schoonerbear away with the British flag at the main masthead. At 0930, the Union vessel succeeded in bringing the stranger to, and discovered her to be the Confederate privateer "Beaureffard", seven days out of Charleston, South Carolina. "William G. Anderson" sent over an officer to board the prize, who found that the crew had gotten drunk and was engaged in spiking the privateer's sole 12-pound pivot gun and cutting her rigging and sails. A prize crew took over the erstwhile privateer, and the Confederate crew was placed in irons on board "William G. Anderson".
Searching for blockade runners in the Gulf and the Caribbean
After bringing her prize into
Key West, Florida, on 19 November, William G. Andersonset sail a week later. She cruised off Puerto Rico, Cuba, Bermuda, and the Windward Islandsinto the spring of the following year. She sighted 210 vessels, boarded 66, and had found Confederate privateers, in her commander's words, "rare during that time." She concluded that cruise at the Boston Navy Yardon 16 April 1862.
Towing away a 60-ton ship while the guards are asleep
"William G. Anderson" departed Boston on
8 Mayand joined Rear Admiral David G. Farragut's West Gulf Blockading Squadronat Ship Island, Mississippi, off the mouth of the Mississippi River. On 14 June, Acting Master William Bailey and 30 men left the ship under cover of darkness, crossed Mississippi Sound, and sailed about 15 miles up the Jordan River. Penetrating Confederate territory by night, the Union raiders escaped notice by encamped Confederate cavalry and seized the 60-ton Confederate schooner "Montebello", a ship used by local forces to transport troops across Mississippi Sound. The raiders managed to tow "Montebello" out into the sound before they were noticed by the Confederate forces in the vicinity.
Stopping a ship with 350 kegs of gunpowder hidden in her hold
Departing the Ship Island station on
25 June, the bark patrolled the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi Riverbefore she took up a blockadestation off Galveston, Texas, on 6 July. At the end of August, while on station off Galveston, "William G. Anderson" bagged her second prize -- the English-owned schooner "Lilly". The cargo manifest for "Lilly" showed that she was apparently carrying only salt, drugs, and quinine. Closer investigation, however, revealed 350 kegs of gunpowderand a consignment letter authorizing the British skipper to turn the material over to the first Confederate Army commander he encountered. "William, G. Anderson" placed a prize crewof six men, under Acting Master C. W. Harriman, on board "Lilly" and sent her to Key West, Florida, while the bark resumed her patrols. On 4 September, she intercepted and captured the schooner "Theresa", laden with cavalry carbines. Two weeks later, the Union bark bagged another blockade runner, the schooner "Reindeer" (ex-"Jeff Davis") laden with 288 bales of cotton en route to Havana.
Continued patrols seeking blockade runners
"William G. Anderson" arrived at
Pensacola Bay, Florida, on 3 Octoberand remained there on station, protecting the navy yard until the next spring. Underway on 10 April 1863, the bark resumed blockade duties off the coast of Texassoon thereafter. On 15 April, she captured the cotton-laden schooner "Royal Yacht" after a six-hour chase. Seven days later, "William G. Anderson" teamed with "Rachel Seaman" to capture the schooner "Nymph" which was attempting to run the Union blockade off Pass Cavallo, Texas. Just eight days later, "William G. Anderson" spotted a slooptrying to run the blockade and gave chase. About six miles north of the lighthouseat St. Joseph's Island, Texas, the sloop ran aground and was deserted by her crew. The rough seas that day made it impossible for the Union ship to send men to board the prize; but, on 3 May, the weather had abated enough to permit an expedition shoreward.
Union Navy crew ashore attacked by Confederate cavalry
"William G. Anderson" sent in her launch, second cutter, and gig to take off the
cottonfrom the prize. Two of the boats were just in the edge of the breakers as the gig's bow grounded on the beach. At that juncture, Confederate soldiers, under the command of Capt. Edward E. Havvy, CSA, charged down the hill nearby, firing as they advanced. The launch and the second cutter managed to clear the beach although hit several times by rifle fire; but the enemy captured the ship's gig and the five men that had been in it. "William G. Anderson" fired five shots from her pivot gun in an attempt to drive off the enemy, but the ship was beyond effective range.
Resuming her Gulf Coast blockade duties
Pilot Town, Louisiana, between 27 Mayand 24 June, "William G. Anderson" subsequently resumed her blockading operations off the Texas coast. On 25 August, she captured the schooner "Mack Canfield" laden with 133 bales of cotton -- off the mouth of the Rio Grande River. Two days later, the armed Union bark bagged the cotton-laden schooner "America"; and, although the prize capsized while under tow, "William G. Anderson's" crew retrieved 40 bales of cotton from the sea. After cruising off Galveston, Texas, "William G. Anderson" departed that vicinity on 17 Septemberand took station off New Orleans, Louisiana. She remained there until 30 November, when she sailed back to Galveston and another stint of blockading off the Texas coast. "William G. Anderson" shifted to Pensacola Bay, Florida, on 19 February 1864and served there protecting the navy yard until 1 April 1865. Entering Mobile Bayon 3 April 1865, "William G. And"erson was there six days later when Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, assuring the speedy end of the Civil War. "William G. Anderson" remained in Mobile Bayinto the late summer and was then once more stationed at Pensacola Bay, this time from 13 Septemberto 25 November. Alternating between that port and New Orleans until mid-June 1866, the bark set course north from Pensacola on 15 June 1866, bound for the New York Navy Yard.
Post-war decommissioning and sale
Arriving there on
30 June, "William G. Anderson" was decommissioned on 21 July 1866. The erstwhile blockade ship was sold at public auction on 28 August 1866to A. A. Low and Brother; her subsequent fate is unrecorded.
United States Navy
American Civil War
* [http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/w8/william_g_anderson.htm USS William G. Anderson]
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