|USS Bienville (1861) was a 1,558 long tons (1,583 t) (Burden) wooden side-wheel steamship acquired by the Union Navy during the beginning of the American Civil War. She was outfitted with heavy guns and assigned to the Union blockade of the waterways of the Confederate States of America.|
Built in Brooklyn, New York
Bienville built at Brooklyn, New York in 1860, was purchased by the Union Navy in August 1861 as part of the great expansion that took place in the first months of the American Civil War.
Civil War operations
Assigned to the South Atlantic blockade
She was commissioned in October 1861 and soon participated in the expedition that seized future Naval bases at Port Royal and Beaufort, South Carolina. Bienville operated off the Confederacy's Atlantic coast for more than a year, taking part in the capture of positions along the Georgia and Florida shore as well as ending the careers of several blockade runners, among them the steamers Stettin (later USS Stettin) (taken on 24 May 1862) and Patras
In 1863, Bienville was transferred to the Gulf of Mexico, where she continued her blockading work. In addition, she supported the capture of the entrances to Mobile Bay, Alabama on 5 August 1864. In an operation typical of the era's coastal warfare, she sent a boat party into Galveston Bay, Texas on the night of 7 February 1865 and seized two schooners loaded with cotton.
Decommissioning and civilian career
Bienville was decommissioned soon after the end of the Civil War. Following some two years in reserve, she was sold in October 1867. Operating under the same name as a commercial steamship, she lasted until 15 August 1872, when a fire destroyed her at Watling Island, Bahamas.