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The United States Navy Memorial

Navy Memorial Honoring the Men & Women of the Sea Services



Ship Designation: 
Date Lost: 
Saturday, March 14, 1863
Action at Port Hudson
Mississippi had been ordered upriver with six other ships for the operations against Port Hudson. ... On March 14, 1863, she grounded while attempting to pass the forts guarding Port Hudson. Under enemy fire, every effort was made to refloat her by her commanding officer Capt. Melancton Smith, and his executive officer, later to be famed as Admiral George Dewey. At last her machinery was destroyed, her battery spiked and she was fired to prevent Confederate capture. When the flames reached her magazines, she blew up and sank. ... She had lost over 40 killed or missing, the ships in company saving over 223 of her crew. Captain Smith later reported..

I consider that I should be neglecting a most important duty should I omit to mention the coolness of my executive officer, Mr. Dewey, and the steady, fearless, and gallant manner in which the officers and men of the Mississippi defended her, and the orderly and quiet manner in which she was abandoned, after being thirty-five minutes aground, under the fire of the enemy’s batteries. There was no confusion in embarking the crew, and the only noise was from the enemy’s cannon, which did not cease until some time after the ship was enveloped in flames and the boats had passed out of range of their guns.

Lost At Sea Log

Number of sailors in this log: 23

Namesort descending Service Branch
Boy John Ashcroft USN
Coal Heaver William Austin USN
1st class Firema James Burns USN
Boy William Caton USN
Landsman Stephen Downey USN
Coal Heaver John Hagan USN
Ordinary Seaman Thomas Haines USN
Fireman Bart. Harrigan USN
Ordinary Seaman George Henry USN
Ordinary Seaman George Howard USN
Landsman George Jackson USN
Officer's Cook Ephraim Jones USN
Landsman John Keating USN
Acting Master Robert Kelly USN
1st class firema A. Landholtzer USN
Ordinary Seaman Andrea Matthew USN
Ordinary Seaman John Mcelroy USN
Seaman T. Nugent USN
Landsman Moses Obenton USN
Seaman Robert Rowley USN


Various Sources