Today in History:

Aroostook (1862-1869)

USS Aroostook, a 691-ton Unadilla class screw steam gunboat built at Kennebunk, Maine, was commissioned in February 1862. In early March she assisted the storm-disabled USS Vermont, suffering damage herself in the process. After repairs, Aroostook arrived at Hampton Roads, Virginia, where she participated in operations against Norfolk and, once that port had fallen, up the James River. She engaged Confederate forces on several occasions, among them the bombardment at Drewry's Bluff on 15 May. In September 1862, after the end of General McClellan's Peninsula Campaign, the gunboat served briefly with the Potomac Flotilla before being ordered to the Gulf of Mexico.

Aroostook joined the blockade of Mobile Bay, Alabama, in October 1862, and served off there for nearly a year, during which time she took part in the capture or destruction of several blockade running sailing vessels. Stationed off the Texas coast from November 1863, she took three more blockade runners and assisted in destroying another. Aroostook left the Gulf in September 1865, some months after the end of the Civil War, and was decommissioned at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Recommissioned in December 1866, Aroostook voyaged to the Far East by way of the Cape of Good Hope, arriving at Hong Kong in August 1867. As a unit of the Asiatic Squadron, she operated off Japan and on anti-piracy patrols along the China coast. USS Aroostook was decommissioned at Hong Kong in September 1869 and sold a month later.

This page features all our views of USS Aroostook (1862-1869).

Photo #: NH 57274

USS Aroostook (1862-1869)

Photographed in Chinese waters, circa 1867-69.
The original print is mounted on a carte de visite, marked "S. Sidney, Photo. China".

Collection of captain Robert F. Bradford, 1941.

Photo #: NH 82580-KN (Color)

Bombardment of Fort Darling, Drewry's Bluff, Virginia, 15 May 1862

Contemporary pencil sketch, with colors of flags and smoke lightly worked in, depicting the Union ships Galena, Monitor, Aroostook, Port Royal and Naugatuck (listed as shown, left to right) bombarding the Confederate fort at Drewry's Bluff.

Photo #: NH 1998

Bombardment of Fort Darling, Drewry's Bluff, Virginia
, 15 May 1862

Contemporary pencil sketch by F.H. Wilcke, depicting the Union warships Galena, Monitor, Aroostook, Port Royal and Naugatuck (listed as shown, left to right), under the command of Commander John Rodgers, bombarding the Confederate fort at Drewry's Bluff.

Photo #: NH 59206

"Rendezvous of Our Fleet in James River, off City Point, -- Drawn on the Spot, May 29, 1862"

Line engraving, published in "Harper's Weekly", Volume of January-June 1862, page 390.
It depicts the U.S. Navy ships (listed as shown, from left to right) Maratanza, Wachusett, Aroostook, Monitor, Mahaska and Galena operating on the James River, Virginia, in support of General McClellan's army.

Photo #: NH 1853

"U.S. Gun Boats on James River covering the Retreat."

Engraving after a drawing by C. Parsons, published by Virtue, Yorston & Company, New York, circa the later 19th Century. It depicts the ironclads Monitor and Galena bombarding Confederate forces as General McClellan's army withdraws following the Battle of Malvern Hill, 2 July 1862.
The other two ships visible are probably USS Aroostook (beyond Monitor's bow) and USS Jacob Bell (behind Monitor, at left).