USS Camanche (1864)

For other ships with the same name, see USS Camanche.
USS Camanche off Mare Island, during the Spanish–American War
Name: USS Camache
Builder: Donohue, Ryan & Secor
Launched: November 14, 1864
Commissioned: May 1865
Decommissioned: 1898
Fate: sold, March 22, 1899
General characteristics
Class and type: Passaic-class ironclad monitor
Displacement: 1,335 long tons (1,356 t)
Length: 200 ft (61 m) overall
Beam: 46 ft (14 m)
Draft: 11 ft 6 in (3.51 m)
Installed power: 320 ihp (240 kW)
Speed: 7 kn (8.1 mph; 13 km/h)
Complement: 76
Armament: 2 × 15 in (380 mm) Dahlgren guns
  • Side: 3–5 in (7.6–12.7 cm)
  • Turret: 11 in (28 cm)
  • Pilothouse: 8 in (20 cm)
  • Deck: 1 in (2.5 cm)
Notes: Armor is iron.

USS Camanche was a Passaic-class monitor that was prefabricated at Jersey City, N.J. by Donahue, Ryan and Secor[1] for the sum of 613,164.98 dollars ($7.12 million in present day terms).[2] She was disassembled and shipped around Cape Horn in the sailing ship Aquila to San Francisco, California. The Aquila arrived in San Francisco on 10 November 1863[1] but sank at her wharf in 30 feet of water on 14 November 1863 as a result of storm damage and a collision with another ship.[3] The monitor's parts were salvaged and she was launched on 14 November 1864. Camanche was commissioned in May 1865, Lieutenant Commander Charles J. McDougal in command.

USS Camanche c. 1866.

Commissioned just after the end of the Civil War, for more than a year—until the arrival of the larger monitor MonadnockCamanche was the only U.S. ironclad on the Pacific coast, and she was one of but two stationed there for nearly 25 years.

Camanche's career was a quiet one, with the ship generally maintained in decommissioned status at the Mare Island Navy Yard, in northern San Francisco Bay. She was the California Naval Militia's training ship in 1896–97 and appears to have been reactivated for a few months in 1898, during the Spanish–American War, for coastal defense purposes.[4]

Camanche was sold on 22 March 1899 for the sum of 6,581.25 dollars.[2] According to page 10 of the San Francisco Call dated November 20, 1899, the Camanche had her machinery, her weapons and her armor removed by the Union Iron Works in Oakland and she was converted into a collier, hauling coal. Her first voyage as a collier occurred on November 19, 1899.[1] Photographic evidence and local records indicate she remained in the San Francisco area hauling coal for almost 40 years after that. Her final fate is unknown.[5]


  1. 1 2 3 "From a United States Monitor to a Collier". The San Francisco Call. 20 November 1899. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  2. 1 2 "The Camanche". The San Francisco Call. 26 March 1899. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  3. "The Camanche". Santa Cruz Weekly Sentinel. 21 Nov 1863. p. 2.
  4. "Militiamen are Anxious". The San Francisco Call. 3 April 1898. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  5. Bradley, Jesse N. (May 1978). "Camanche, The Snakebit Monitor" (PDF). The Retired Officer: 20–23. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
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