John Kelly, Ordinary Seaman, US Navy, Civil War, Lost his Life on board USS Pawnee
USS Pawnee, 1533-ton (displacement) light-draft steam sloop of war, was built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania. Commissioned in June 1860, she operated off Mexico in October and November of that year, then returned to the U.S. In April 1861 Pawnee was sent to assist in the relief of Fort Sumter, at the entrance to Charleston harbor, South Carolina, but arrived after the fort had surrendered. On 20 April she towed the sailing warship Cumberland away from the Norfolk Navy Yard, Virginia, as the facility was falling into Confederate hands. For the rest of the spring and into the summer Pawnee served on the Potomac River, assisting with the defense of Washington, D.C., and participating in the North's initial offensive operations against the river's Virginia shore. Among her activities during this time were the occupation of Alexandria on 24 May and engagements with Confederate artillery batteries at Aquia Creek in late May and early June.
In late August 1861 Pawnee was part of the fleet that landed troops to capture Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina. She repeated that kind of amphibious attack in November, when Port Royal, South Carolina, was taken to provide a base for further operations against the Confederacy's Atlantic seaboard. While engaging enemy forces there she was hit several times and suffered the loss of two crewmen.
Pawnee was active in South Carolina, Georgia and northern Florida waters for the rest of the Civil War, ultimately focusing on the siege of Charleston, S.C. She participated in the capture of Fernandia, Florida, in March 1862, was a participant in several expeditions into South Carolina's coastal rivers, helped enforce the blockade, and at times served as flagship for the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
With the war at an end, in late July 1865 Pawnee was decommissioned for repairs. She recommissioned at the beginning of 1867 and, from April of that year until May 1869, operated with the Brazil Squadron off eastern South America. Again decommissioned in July 1869, her engines were removed and she was fitted for use as a floating hospital and storeship. Pawnee returned to commissioned service in those roles in December 1870 and was stationed at Key West, Florida, from early 1871 until the spring of 1875. She was then transferred to Port Royal, South Carolina, remaining there some seven years. USS Pawnee decommissioned for the final time in November 1882 and was sold in May 1884.
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