Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Naval Combat on the Red River - 150 Years Ago Today

On this day in 1863, the Union "tinclad" Gunboat USS Cricket (Tinclad #6), steamed up the Little Red River in pursuit of two Confederate steamboats, Kaskaskia and Tom Sugg.

Cricket captured the two Confederate ships at Searcy Landing (modern day Searcy, Arkansas in White County, north of Little Rock).

Cricket then began escorting the two captured vessels downriver.

When the flotilla reached West Point, Arkansas, Confederate forces made an attempt to not only recapture the two ships, but to also capture the Federal gunboat.  Defensive fire from Cricket damaged houses in the town of West Point.

A second attack on these vessels was attempted about four miles downstream from West Point.  This attack was also unsuccessful.

Cricket met up with the larger Union gunboat USS Lexington, and the small fleet was attacked a third and final time, again unsuccessfully.

Both USS Cricket and USS Lexington would be active in the river campaigns in Arkansas and on other rivers in the surrounding states (known during that period as the "Western Rivers") for the rest of the war.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Another Plaque From a Long-Serving Submarine

USS Sirago (SS-485) was commissioned on this day in 1945.   A Tench-class submarine (basically, an improved Balao-class boat), she was built at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, like Razorback.

Entering service too late to see combat, Sirago spent several years participating in various training exercises before being modernized under the GUPPY program in 1948.

Like Razorback, Sirago initially received a "step sail".  She served in that configuration until 1962 when she had a "North Atlantic" sail installed.  Sirago went on to serve another 10 years.  She was decommissioned in 1972 and was sold for scrapping.