Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher
Fort Fisher, NE Bastion. Frank Vizetelly (National Geographic)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Loss of USS Columbine

MAY 23RD, 1864: The USS Columbine was captured after a heated engagement with Confederate batteries and riflemen at Horse Landing, near Palatka, Florida, on the St. John's River.  The 130-ton side-wheel steamer Columbine was operating in support of Union troops and lost steerage control and ran aground on a mud bank, where she was riddled by accurate Confederate fire.

With some 20 men killed or wounded, the Columbine surrendered.  Shortly afterwards, the ship was destroyed by the Confederates to prevent its capture  by the USS Ottawa which was also cooperating with the Army on the same operation and had itself been fired on the night before and suffered damage, but no casualties.  It had forced the Confederate battery at Brown's Landing to withdraw.

Rear Admiral Dahlgren wrote: "The loss of the Columbine will be felt most inconveniently; her draft was only 5 or 6 feet, and having only two such steamers, the services of which are needed elsewhere, can not replace her.

--Old B-R'er

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