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SHIP OF THE LINE - 1864

USS COMMODORE JONES

To date we are aware of six ships and a tender boat carrying a name to honor the Father of the American Navy - Commodore John Paul Jones. I have uncovered an additional ship that will bring our total to seven and the tender *. The addition is the USS COMMODORE JONES a double ended gunboat and converted ferryboat that was sunk on 6 May 1864.

Records show in June 1863 that the USS COMMODORE JONES, commanded by LCDR John G. Mitchell, was in action on the upper Mattapony river in the Ayletts for a successful attack with other ships and 400 troops on Walkerton, VA manufacturing operations.

On 6 May 1864 approximately five miles above City Point on the James River near Four Mile Creek / Deep Bottom the COMMODORE JONES was blown up with one half of her crew of 80 either killed or wounded. The COMMODORE JONES , Acting Lieutenant Thomas Wade Commanding, was destroyed by a 2000 pound "electric torpedo" detonated from shore by two Confederate torpedomen (one named Jeffries Johnson) using galvanic batteries. One source said that this was the first use of a shore detonated torpedo to actually sink a ship. LT. Wade survived the explosion and sinking.

Sources:

Civil War Naval Chronology 1861 - 1865, Compiled by Naval History Division, Navy Department 1971

The Way To Appomattox Battles and Leaders of the Civil War - Volume IV (popular Edition) Thomas Yoseloff

Information about the four ships and a tender boat was obtained from the USS JOHN PAUL JONES (DDG 53) Commissioning program dated December 18, 1993

  • USS JOHN PAUL JONES (DDG 53) 12/18/93 to Present

  • USS JOHN PAUL JONES (DDG 32) 1967 - 1982

  • USS JOHN PAUL JONES (DD 932) 1956 - 1965

  • USS PAUL JONES (DD 230) 1921 - 1945

  • USS PAUL JONES (DD 10) 1902 - 1919

  • USS PAUL JONES (Side wheel, double ended gunboat) 1862 - 1867

  • PAUL JONES, JR (observation / tender boat for US gunboat SENECA) 1863 - 1864

  • USS COMMODORE JONES (double ended ex-ferryboat, gunboat) UNK - sunk 6 May 1864

Researched and presented by at the Hampton Reunion:

CAPT John J. McKechnie, SC, USN (Ret)
Served as Asst Supply Officer (ENS - LTJG) 4/61 - 4/63