Today in History:

Osage (1863-1865)

USS Osage, a 523-ton Neosho class single-turret ironclad river monitor, was built at Carondelet, Missouri. Commissioned in July 1863, she operated in the Mississippi River area in 1863 and 1864, including participation in expeditions up Louisiana's Black and Ouachita Rivers in February-March 1864 and the Red River in March-May of that year. In February 1865, Osage was transferred to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron for employment in Mobile Bay. In late March she took part in an attack on Spanish Fort, near Mobile, Alabama. While engaged in that operation on 29 March 1865, USS Osage struck a Confederate "torpedo" and was sunk in the Blakely River. Her hulk was later raised and was sold in November 1867.

This page features our only views of USS Osage.

Photo #: NH 60295

USS Osage (1863-1865)

Photographed on the Western Rivers during 1863-65.

Photo #: NH 49997

USS Osage (1863-1865)

Photographed on the Red River, Louisiana, circa March-May 1864.
Note that guns in turret bear dead ahead, and there are false gun ports painted on the turret side.

Photo #: NH 55832

USS Osage (1863-1865)

Sepia wash drawing by F. Muller, circa 1900.

Courtesy of the U.S. Navy Art Collection, Washington, D.C.

Photo #: NH 996

USS Osage (1863-1865)

Sketch made during the Civil War, and photographed by T. Lilienthal, New Orleans.

Courtesy of the Philibrick Collection, Kittery, Maine.

Photo #: NH 91999-A-KN (Color)

Red River Expedition, March-May 1864

Watercolor by James Alden, depicting the monitors USS Neosho and Osage running through a break in the Red River dam to pass safely over the rapids, 9 May 1864.
This passage took advantage of an accidental break in the dam, which was being built by Army engineers to raise the river level enough to permit passage of all the vessels trapped above. Four gunboats passed through at this time: Lexington (which went first), Neosho (second), Fort Hindman and Osage.

Collection of Cdr. George M. Bache, USN.

Photo #: NH 59155

"The Siege of Mobile--Wreck of the 'Osage' and the Monitor 'Milwaukee.'"

Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 29 April 1865, depicting USS Osage striking a mine and sinking near Spanish Fort on 29 March 1865.
The wreck of USS Milwaukee, which had been sunk by a mine on the previous day, is in the center middle distance. The twin-turret monitors at right are two of the following: USS Winnebago, USS Chickasaw and USS Kickapoo. Ships in the right distance are "Double-Ender" and "Tinclad" gunboats also engaged in attacking the Confederate-held Spanish Fort.