USS Winona (1861-1865) A Virtual Cemetery created by: Rubbings
Description: USS Winona, a 691-ton Unadilla class screw steam gunboat, was built at New York City. Sent to the Gulf of Mexico soon after commissioning in December 1861, she took part in Union Navy's operations against Confederate defenses on the Mississippi River below New Orleans. Though most of the squadron successfully passed the forts on 24 April 1862, Winona was caught on obstructions in the attempt and was unable to proceed up the river until May. During the next few months, she bombarded enemy positions at Grand Gulf, Mississippi, twice ran past the batteries at Vicksburg and briefly engaged the ironclad CSS Arkansas.On 4 September 1862, while on blockade duty off Mobile, Alabama, Winona fired on the Confederate cruiser Florida as that ship made a daring run into Mobile Bay. Back on the Mississippi River, she was damaged in action with Confederate artillery on 14 December. In April-July 1863, Winona was involved in campaigns against Port Hudson and Vicksburg, and helped repel an attack on the Union position at Donaldsonville, Louisiana.Winona was under repair at Baltimore, Maryland, from August 1863 into February 1864. She then became part of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, operating along the coast from South Carolina to Florida. Among her exploits there were the destruction of a blockade runner in March 1864, attacks on enemy forts near Savannah, Georgia, and participation in an amphibious landing at Bulls Bay, S.C., in February 1865. After the collapse of the Confederacy, Winona was sent north. She decommissioned in June 1865 and was sold in late November. Subsequently becoming the civilian vessel C.L. Taylor, she remained in merchant service for at least another two decades.