Definitions

billethead

CSS Oregon

CSS Oregon, a wooden steam gunboat was the only ship of the Confederate States Navy to be named for the 33rd state. A wooden steamer similar to California, she was built at New York City in 1846 for the Mobile Mail Line, 60 percent owned at the end of April 1861 by the Geddes family of New Orleans, Louisiana, and Cincinnati, Ohio, the remainder by R. A. Heirn and Samuel Wolff of Mobile, Alabama. Described as having "one deck, one mast, no galleries and a billethead," she was permanently enrolled (coastwise) at New Orleans on 20 June 1858. Seized by Louisiana's Governor Moore sometime in 1861, she was an early and successful blockade runner, apparently only in the Gulf of Mexico. Under Captain A. P. Boardman she had somehow contrived to make 92 "entrances and clearances" at blockaded ports before being picked for arming as a man-of-war; how much of this coastal service was under Confederate Army auspices is not altogether clear. Captain A. L. Myers succeeded to her command.

After being converted into a gunboat, Oregon operated in Mississippi Sound on various assignments. On 13 July 1861 she steamed in company with Arrow to the vicinity of Ship Island Light where they vainly attempted to lure USS Massachusetts within range of shore batteries. During September 1861 she evacuated Confederate property and troops from Ship Island, Mississippi. When Confederate forces evacuated New Orleans in April 1862, Oregon was destroyed to prevent capture.

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