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U.S. Civil War Navy ship with Chinese name

U.S. Civil War Navy ship with Chinese name

U.S. Transport ship Chi-Kiang

Collison between a Confederate Schooner and a Federal Transport

The U.S. Transport Chi-Kiang (the source mis-spelled it as "Chi-Kiong") was laden with troops for the Southern campaign, and was proceeding South when it came in collison with a schooner, which was probably intentionally placed in her path. Sketched by an Officer.

Chi-Kiang is the name of a Chinese province, located around the southeast coast.

{Source: Leslie's Illustrated Civil War (Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, from 1855 through the Civil War period.)}

The webmaster has the drawing of the ship in his file.

USS Chih Kiang

USS Chih Kiang

This is the same ship as above. The information came from two different sources.

Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies (OR)
OR, Series II, Vol 1, Statistical Data --- page 226
Acquisition---purchased, June 22, 1863 at New York by Rear Admiral H. Paulding from Henry G. Ward.
Description---Class: Screw steamer. Rig: Tug.
Tonnage---183 tons
Dimensions---Length 97' 3"; Beam 21' 9"; Depth 9' 6"
Draft---(estimated Jan 10, 1863)---loaded 8'.
Battery---Aug 24, 1863, two 24-pdrs; one 20-pdrs Parrott rifle, broadside; Sep 30, 1864, one 20-pdrs Parrott rifle; two 24-pdrs; two heavy pdrs.
Disposition---Destroyed by boiler explosion, Ragged Point, VA, Nov 11, 1864, W.H. Smith, acting master, commanding.

Remarks---Formerly called USS Chih Kiang. Name was changed to USS Tulip in June 4, 1864, a cabin was ordered to be put on her.

USS Chikiang

Additional information from the third source (From a Chinese military magazine published by the Republic of China on Naval History). The webmaster translated the information from Chinese to English.

Battleship type: From "Light House Tender" changed to 4th class coastal gunship with wood frame and U. S. Transport.
Building period: 1862-1863
Ship Builder: James C. Jewett & Co. in Brooklyn, New York City.
Registration record: Henry G. Ward, December 24, 1862. Subsequently, William H. Fogg of the Fogg and Co. owned it. Then, it was Henry G. Ward who sold it to the U.S. Navy.
Service record: Patrolling, Transporting soldiers and goods. In November 11, 1864, the boiler malfunctioned. In the repair process, the boiler exploded in Ragged Point, Virginia and many sailors died and injured.

U.S. Navy Gunboat Dai-Ching

New York Times, April 16, 1863

Naval News
Purchase of the Chinese Gunboat Dai-Ching

Yesterday the new steam gunboat Dai-Ching, which has been lying on the Brooklyn Navy-yard for over a week, was transferred to the Navy Department. She was built at the foot of North Second Street, Williamsburgh, for the Emperor of China, by James C. Jewell & Co. Her dimensions are as follows: Length 175 feet, width 29 feet, depth of hold 14 feet, draft of water 11 feet, measurement 728 tons. She has a direct sailing engine, with two 20 inch cylinders and 26 inch piston stroke. She is an exceedingly pretty vessel and will be put in active service at once. A small craft has been built by the same firm for the Chinese Navy, which has not been purchased by the Government.

New York Times, February 5, 1865

(Reprint from a Southern paper)
Combahee, South Carolina

The Yankee gunboat Dai-Ching got aground in the Combahee (river) yesterday. Our batteries opened on her, and set her afire. She burned to the water's edge. The prisoners were brought to the shore. -----------

(The following is based on New York Times, February 5, 1865, paraphrased and re-written in conjunction with other source by the researcher.)

The gun boat Dai-Ching was originally built for the Emperor of China to fight their own contemporaneous Civil War, the Tai Ping Rebellion 1850-1864. The name Dai-Ching means the Great Manchu Dynasty or Empire. The propeller steamer was built by James C. Jewell in New York in 1862 and later was purchased by R.B. Catherwood for about $117,000. She had three masts, a round stern, a round tuck and a scroll head, medium model and was bark rigged. Her capacity could carry 80 men, armed with four 24-pounder smoothbores, two 20-pounder Parrott rifle guns and one 100-pounder Parrott rifle gun at the bow.

The loss of the Dai-Ching, an event which took on the 26th (Webmaster's notes, January 26, 1865) last, will be looted upon by all is the department as a circumstance to be seriously regretted. We are indebted to some of the officers of the ill-fated vessel for their courtesy in furnishing us with the details of the affairs.

On the night of the 22d, orders were received by the commanding officer of the Dai-Ching to be in readiness on the following morning to proceed up the Combahee River as far as the ferry --- a post near the Charleston and Savannah railroad --- for the purpose of cooperating is as advance movement of General Howard's force. In accordance with those orders the Dai-Ching got under way at an early hour on the 26th, and, after having proceeded up the Combahee for a few miles, was fired upon by a rebel battery situated on the right bank of the river. The battery opened with heavy pieces and at short range. The position of the Dai-Ching when first fired upon was such as to express her to a raking fire, but not withstanding this fact, she brought to bear on the fort with good effect her 100-pounder bow gun.

Before the battery engaged her, the Dai-Ching, as good luck would have it, captured the blockade runner Coquette, boarded from Charleston via Nassau, with a cargo of seventy-five bales of cotton. A prize crew was immediately put on board, with orders to take the prize to Port Royal, at which place she subsequently arrived.

The Dai-Ching established the fight with the rebel battery for seven consecutive hours, and had not the unfortuate circumstance of her getting aground occurred, the result in all probability, would have been the capture of the fort, together with all its guns. As it happens, the Combahee River is difficult of navigation. In consequence of its numerous short turns and shallow places. On one of these shallow points, technically known as a "bight," the Dai-Ching ran aground, while manuvering to get a broadside to bear on the fort. Her uncomfortable position having been observed by the rebels, they re-doubled their efforts to disable her, and, in order to affect this result, several additional guns were brought into action. The officers and crew of the Dai-Ching behaved spendidly. At last, at 3 o' clock in the afternoon, it being apparent that the vessel could not be got afloat, and that it had all hands on board would be captured unless measures were taken to prevent such an event. It was decided to fire and then abandon her. The savy steam tug Clover, setting as leader to the Dai-Ching, followed the gunboat a certain distance up the river. It so occured that when the Dai-Ching was aground the leader was not sufficiently near to render immediate relief. A signal of distress was hoisted in the Dai-Ching, but for some reasons --- a good one we are bound to believe --- it was not heeded by the leader. The efforts of the officers and men on board the leader to release the Dai-Ching's party in the afternoon seems to be sufficient evidence that they had no thought of acting a mean part. The leader, at any rate, was the vessel that brought the party safely to Port Royal.

It is to be regretted that a small boat containing Acting Ensign Charles D. Duncan and four men which put off to bail the Clover was captured by the enemy while on its mission. The remainder of the party of the Dai-Ching succeeded in reaching the marsh in small boats from the ship. Their toils and difficulties however were by no means ended when they had reached the marsh, for they were compelled to wade through the weed and mud for a distance of twelve or thirteen miles before they reached a point on the bank of the river where they could embark in a small boat for the leader which was awaiting them.

To those who have been for any length of time in the Department of the South or in the South Atlantic Squadron, a description of the Dai-Ching and the important service rendered by her while attached to the Squadron would be considered superfluous. She had been in these waters since July 1863, and had taken part in nearly every important naval engagement that had transpired here since that time. At the time of her loss her officers and men numbered about one hundred. All of her officers with the exception one mentioned above are saved. She carried seven guns --- one 100-pounder, two 20-pounders and four brass howitzers. At the time she was fired, her guns were loaded, and when the heat ignited the powder of the 100-pounder the shell went up into the middle of the rebel fort, so that the enemy thought our men were still at the guns. The rebel fired upon the Dai-Ching until it was evident that no living man could remain aboard of her. The officers saved nothing in the way of personal property. A few trading articles bringing to the Government men got off in small boats.

A list of officers of the Dai-Ching: Lieut-Commander, J.C. Crapes; Executive Officer, Wm. McKinny; Acting Master, Geo. Howarth; Acting Assistant Surgeon, J.R. Richardson; Acting Assistant Paymaster, Edwin Sherman; Acting First Assistant Engineer, Geo. R. Bennett; Acting Ensign, Walter Waltes, Casries D. Duncan; Acting Third Assistant Engineer, D. Castines, John H. Fulcher, Montgomery West, William R. Fisher; Captain Clark, W.C. Chapils.

{Source and credit:
(1) Credit goes to my friend and Olde Colony CWRT Confederate Admiral Joe Geden, who mentioned US gunboat Dai-Ching to me, and I started to investigate.
(2) New York Times, April 16, 1863
(3) New York Times, February 2, 1865
(4) New York Times, February 5, 1865
(5) Reference credit goes to Dr. Edward Lee Spence, Treasure of the Confederate coast: The real Rhett Butler & other revelations, Narwhal Press Inc. Charleston, SC, 1995.}

Additional reference:
USS Dai-Ching
OR, Series I, Vol 2, Jan 1, 1863 to Mar 31, 1864.
OR, Series I, Vol 9, May 5, 1863 to May 5, 1864.
OR, Series I, Vol 14, Apr 7, 1863 to Sep 30, 1864; page 394
USS Dai-Ching---June 25, 1863 Morris Island---at 5 am got underway and cleared for action and proceed to join the squadron in line of battle. At 7 am, opened fire at Ft. Wagner. Expended 50 100-pounder 15 second fuse shell. At 10 am, the enemy exhibited a flag of truce, the firing ceased. From 8 pm to midnight heavy and continuous firing in the direction of Sumter and Wagner.
OR, Series I, Vol 16, Oct 1, 1864 to Sep 30, 1865; page 198-199.
USS Dai-Ching---Combahee River---Jan 26, 1865
OR, Series I, Vol 16, Oct 1, 1864 to Sep 30, 1865; page 366
OR, Series II, Vol 1, page 70, Statistical Data.

Dai Ching means the Great Ching Dynastry.

Dai Ching
The following information came from a Chinese military magazine published by the Republic of China on Naval History). The webmaster translated the information from Chinese to English.
Battleship type: 4th class coastal gunship with wood frame.
Building period: 1862-1863.
Ship Builder: James C. Jewett & Co. in Brooklyn, New York City.
Registration record: Henry G. Ward, December 24, 1862.
Acquisition: by Hiram Paulding 1797-1878, on April 21, 1863, representing the U.S. Navy, buying it from R.B. Catherwood for $117,575. Sent it to New York Navy Shipyard for armoring.
Commissioned: Dated June 11, 1863, and the ship name remained as Dai Ching.
Tonnage: 520 tons
Dimension and draft: Dimension, length 170 feet 6 inches; width 29 feet 4 inches; draft eleven feet.
Speed: highest 6 knots; average 4 knots.
Battery: One rifle gun, 6.4 inches diameter; 100 pounds explosive; inclination 5 % angle; firing distance 2,250 yards (1 yard = 0.9144 meter). Four 24-pounder smoothbores with 5.82 inches gun diameter; inclination 5 % angle; firing distance 1,270 yards. Two 20-pounder Parrott rifle guns with 3.67 inches gun diameter; inclination 5 % angle; firing distance 1,900 to 2,100 yards.
Service record: Frequent patrolling and fighting records; captured 2 Confederate blockade runners. On January 26, 1865, Dai Ching ran aground in the Combahee river, South Carolina, while engaging in a fire fight with the Confederate. She was hit 30 times. The Union captain ordered to burn Dai Ching, to prevent her from falling into the Confederate's hand.

U.S. Steamer Ta Kiang

The Official Records of the Navy mentioned that the US Navy did charter a steamer by the name of Ta Kiang (could mean Big and Strong, depending on what the original Chinese characters are), armed her, and used her against the Japanese for the short while, during the Civil War years. These details can be found in Series 1, Volume 3, pages 202-203. Thanks for the input from my friend, Terry Foenander, who is the source of this piece of information. The webmaster summarized the story as follows:

The American steamer, Ta Kiang, was chartered at the rate of $9,500 per month by Captain Price, U.S. Navy, commander of U.S. ship Jamestown, and General Pruyn. She was to carry a landing party to land in Japan, on September 6, 1864. the action was related to opening the Strait of Shimonoseki, Japan. Ta Kiang was commanded by Ensign Frederick Pearson, U.S. Navy. The Japanese opened fire and the fleet returned fire.

An expedition of nine British, three French and four Dutch steamships of war, with a landing force of about 1,200 men, were organized to protect Yokohama and its foreign residents towards the Tycoon's Government which was not strong enough to overcome the rebellious Prince of Nagato unaided, who owned and had fortified the western side of the strait.

U.S. steamer Ta Kiang would proceed to the strait of Shimonoseki to act in concert with the treaty powers, showing the American flag and demanding the right of passage. Ta Kiang fired eighteen shells from her Parrott gun in the attack upon the forts, thus identifying herself in this respect with the expedition. Ta Kiang returned to this anchorage on the evening of September 23, 1864, having on board twenty-four wounded English from Shimonoseki.

(Summarized by the Webmaster Gordon Kwok, Jan 2000)
Credit of this article goes to my friend Terry Foenander, who sent me the information.
About a year later (in one of the 2001 issue), the North & South magazine also printed a short article on the Shimonoseki incidence, but did not mention the name of the steamer. {Note: Special thanks to reader Carl Masthay from St. Louis, for providing the correct spelling and meaning of the word: Shimonoseki.} ("shimo-no-seki" is "lower part of a dam")

More O.R. information on U.S. Steamer Ta Kiang
U.S. chartered steamer Ta Kiang
Off Shimonoseki, Japan, September 11, 1864

Sir: In obedience to you order, I took charge of the steamer Ta Kiang on the 28th August.
On the 29th I left Yokohama for the island of Hime Sima, where I arrived at 8 p.m. September 1, in company with the Dutch sloop of war Djambe.
September 2 --- At 8 p.m. all the allied fleet arrived, making a total of eighteen sails.
September 4 --- At 10 [a.m.] the fleet got underway, steaming in three columns for the Strait of Shimonoseki. Our position was in rear of the French column. At 4 p.m. we anchored off the mouth of the strait, in sight of the batteries on the Nagato shore.
September 5 --- Moved up closer to the batteries, taking a position between the English and French admirals. At 4:10 p.m. the English admiral fired a shot, which was immediately answered by the enemy. The action now became general, lasting until 5:30 p.m., when all the batteriesin sight were silenced. During the night the English landed and spiked some of the guns in the first battery.
September 6 --- At 6 a.m. the Japanese opened fire, which was returned by the fleet. At 8:30 the Ta Kiang steamed up close to the first batteries with two of the Duplex's boats, containing a landing party in tow. Other vessels having boats in tow steamed toward the shore. The English, French and Dutch forces were landed, and by noon the batteries were taken possession of. A skirmish was kept up during the day, the fleet firing occasional shots. Toward evening the enemy made an attack upon the force, occupying the first and second batteries, which, after easy fighting, was repulsed. Before night the land forces returned to their vessels and our steamer was anchored near the French admirals.
September 7 and 8 --- Twenty-three wounded men were received on board; also a surgeon and attendants. On the afternoon of the 8th hostilities ceased and the white flag was shown by all the vessels of the fleet.
September 9 --- At the request of the French and English admirals, I proceeded to Hime Sima, the object to direct any vessels which might have arrived there to the strait.
September 10 --- No vessels being in sight, I returned to the strait, anchoring off the town of Shimonoseki. I received a communication through the English admiral from the Prince of Nagato, which I send you; also a copy of it in English.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Fred K. Pearson, U.S. Navy
Ensign [Lieutenant], Commanding Steamer Ta Kiang

Report of Captain Price, U.S. Navy, commanding U.S. ship Jamestown, transmitting report of Lieuntenant Pearson, U.S. Navy, commanding chartered steamer Ta Kiang, regarding the action at Shimonoseki, Japan.

U.S. ship Jamestown
Yokohama, September 23, 1864.

Sir: The Ta Kiang (chartered steamer) returned to this anchorage on the evening of the 21st, having on board twenty-four wounded English, from Shimonoseki. She was the day after returned to her agents, having been chartered at the rate of $9,500 per month, the United States to pay for the coal consumed.

The Ta Kiang fired eighteen shells from her Parrott gun in the attack upon the forts, thus identifying herself in this respect with the expedition, and in all others performing her part to the satisfaction of all concerned. ---------------- Cicero Price, Captain

USS Ta Kiang OR, Series I, Vol 3, The operation of the cruisers (Apr 1, 1864 to Dec 30, 1865), page 193, 202, 203, 204, 926.

USS Fahkee

USS Fahkee could literally mean "flower flag" in Chinese, a beloved nick-name given to the U.S. Flag by the Chinese, on account of its vibrant color pattern on the design. The term is often used to refer to the United States of America.
OR, Series I Vol 2, page 313; ---June 25, 1863---dispatch from Fahkee, second-class midshipman to Admiral Dahlgren received.
OR, Series I Vol 3, page xv; ---Fahkee---screw steamer---List of US vessels of war searching for Confederate Cruisers and Blokade Runners, from Apr 1, 1864 to Dec 30, 1865.
OR, Series I Vol 3, page 317, Acting Master F.R. Webb commanding Fahkee, left Navy Yard, New York.
OR, Series I Vol 3, page 332, USS Fahkee from New York bound to Hampton Road.
OR, Series I Vol 3, page 545, the Canonicus, in tow of the Fahkee, was sent into Port Royal for coal, (OR page 535) did not exceed 5 knots.
OR, Series I Vol 9, page 129---Letter from the Secretary of the Navy to Acting Rear-Admiral Lee. The Department has purchased the side-wheeler steamer Fahkee, 700 tons, to be used as a dispatch boat----. The Fahkee was one of the steamers of the Adams Express Company. Her apartments will not be altered and a light armament will be placed on board.
OR, Series I Vol 9, page 223---Sep 30, 1863, Fahkee left the roads (Hampton Roads) at midnight last night for Charleston, SC, with the rafts, topedoes and XI inch ammunition for Rear-Admiral Dalgren.
OR, Series I Vol 9, page 237---Fahkee just arrived here, on Fort Monroe, Oct 3, 1863. Left Charleston Bar Saturday evening, towing Madgie.
OR, Series I Vol 9, page 297---Nov 9, 1863---Fahkee southward of Cape Henry, for 20 or 30 miles, for 2 or 3 days, keeping a sharp lookoutand boarding all suspicious vessels, and returned.
OR, Series I Vol 9, page 375---Dec 24, 1863---Fahkee was cruising in Bear Inlet, near Beautfort, SC.
OR, Series I Vol 9, page 385---N W R--Vol 9--25---North Atlantic Blockade Squadron
Destruction of the blockade runner Bendigo, Jan 3, 1864.
Report of Acting Rear-Admiral Lee, U.S. Navy.
Flagship Fahkee---off Wilmington, NC, Jan 4, 1864.

Sir: I have the honor to report that yesterday, the 3d instant, at about 11 O'clock a.m., while standing up the coast from Little River Inlet towards Wilmington Bar in this vessel, a steamer was discovered lying at the entrance of Lookwood's Folly Inlet, apparently ashore, smoke issuing from her, and her appearance and position indicated that the steamer was a blockade runner, and that she had been fired and abandoned by her crew, who were seen leaving her hastily in boats. Going in to within 800 yards of the steamer, as near as the depth of the water would allow, I dispatched three boats to board the steamer, and if possible get her afloat, protect them with the guns of this vessels.

The boats were fired upon by sharpshooters of the enemy as they boarded the steamer, but then and at other times during the day their fire was silenced by the battery of this vessel. The steamer proved to be a blockade runner Bendigo, mentioned in consular dispatches as plying between Nassau and Wilmington; is an iron paddle-wheel steamer about 178 tons. She had been set on fire, and the woodwork in her after part was still burning, although almost entirely consumed. She was aground close to the beachalong her entire length, and had no cargo or freight of any description on board. Her center compartment was filled with water to the depth of 7 feet. After great efforts with kedges and hawsers to get her afloat at high tide, during which time the officersand men were occasionally annoyed by the enemy's fire from the shore, and the enemy were placing in a position inaccessible to this ship some fieldpieces which would command the Bendigo, I was compelled to order the withdrawn of the boats and her further destruction by directing upon her to fire this vessel's guns. The Fort Jackson, Iron Age, Montgomery and Daylight were sent by me yesterday to complete the destruction of the Bendigo, and by the reports of the officers commanding the Iron Age, and Daylight, made this morning, such destruction is complete. They reported her hull and boilers riddled by shots and shells, several feet of water in her hold, and firmly bedded in sand. The woodwork of her forward part, as well as her after, was entirely consumed by fire. I have the honor to be, Sir, very respectfully, yours

S. P. Lee
Actg. Rear-Admiral, comdg. North Atlantic Blockade Squadron
(To) Hon. Gideon Wells,
Secretary of the Navy

USS Tawah

Gunboat U.S.S. Tawah, or Ta-Wah could mean "Great China." <BRSeries I, Volume 25, page 192
Order of Fleet Captain Pennock, U.S. Navy, to Acting Master Phelps, U.S. Navy, to assume command of U.S.S. Tawah and convoy transport Polar Star.

Office Mississippi Squadron
Cairo, Ill., June 20,1863

Sir: You are hereby detached temporarily from the U.S. gunboat Champion and will assume command of the U.S. gunboat Tawah. -----------------

Series I, Volume 25, page 403
Order of Rear-Admiral Porter, U.S. Navy, to Lieutenant-Commander Greer, U.S. Navy, in White River
----------------- If I should miss seeing the Tawah and she should come here, order her to White River to report to Captain Phelps. ---------------------

Series I, Volume 25, page 487
Paducah, November 16, 1863.
U.S.S. Tawah arrived here at 3 o' clock yesterday p.m. After getting her pilot she left at 11 this a.m. All quiet here. Geo. L. Smith

Series I, Volume 25, page 498
Report of Volunteer Lieutenant Goudy, U.S. Navy, commanding U.S.S. Tawah, of movement down the White River.

U.S.S. Tawah,
Off Devall's Bluff, Ark., October 12, 1863. Sir: ------- I shall have to adopt the plan of sending a gunboat down whenever I can get boats enough to form a convoy. ---------

Very respectfully, Your obedient servant, Jason Goudy, Commanding U.S.S. Tawah

USS Kiang Soo

USS Kiang Soo is shown on the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies (OR) List of Union Ship Index, page 19.

Kiang Soo is a Chinese province on the East Coast. Its famous city, Shanghai, is located in this province.

The information came from a Chinese military magazine published by the Republic of China on Naval History. The webmaster translated the information from Chinese to English.

USS Kiang Soo
Acquisition: August 1863. USS Kiang Soo's name was changed to USS Fuchsia.
Battery: Same battery as USS Chikiang. However in March 1864, she added 3.4 inches rifle canons and 12-pound balls (inclining angle, 5 degrees; 1,750 yards distance.)
Service record: patrolling, transport.
Disposition: The gunboat was de-commissioned on August 5, 1865. She was auctioned for $11,000 in Sep 23, 1865 and was converted to civilian use. New owner was Russell & Co. Sails were added and were directed to the West Coast for commercial use. Changed owner again in 1871. Salvaged in 1889.

British (Chinese) War steamer Kwantung

British (Chinese) War steamer Kwantung observed a Civil War Naval fight
Kwantung: Kwan means fort and tung means East.

British ship Kwantung observed a Civil War Naval fight: the Confederate cruiser CSS Alabama destroyed an Union ship Texan Star, a/k/a, Martaban in the Malacca Straits close to Singapore in April 1864.

The Chinese originally intended to purchased Kwantung, built by England, but rejected the deal owing to substantial over-pricing. England did'nt want to re-sell Kwantung in the open market, for fearing the Confederate might buy it, and it would violate British Neutrality Law, and thus, offending the United States (Union). Therefore, they wanted to move Kwantung to Bombay, India. Enroute Kwantung observed the Alabama vs. Martaban fight. England owned Kwantung by default.


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Webmaster : Gordon Kwok
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June 14, 2002
Revised and updated on December 18, 2002
2nd revision and updated on January 25, 2006
Revised and uploaded on February 18, 2009