Figure 2: USS Sacramento at Kingstown, Ireland, in July 1865. Several local sailing vessels are nearby. This photograph shows Sacramento in her original configuration, with no bowsprit. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: The Tower of Belem, Lisbon Harbor, Portugal, firing on USS Niagara and USS Sacramento, 28 March 1865. Line engraving published in Harper's Weekly, 13 May 1865, page 301. This incident resulted when Niagara was shifting her berth in the harbor and was briefly fired upon by the harbor fortification on the presumption that she was trying to follow the Confederate warship CSS Stonewall to sea before expiration of the 24-hour waiting period mandated by international law. Portugal later apologized for the incident. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: USS Sacramento in quarantine at Madeira, Canary Islands, in December 1866, while en route to the East Indies station by way of west Africa. Collection of Surgeon H.P. Babcock, USN; donated by his son, George R. Babcock, 1939. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: USS Sacramento at Benguela, Angola, off Elephant's Bay, 7 March 1867, while cruising along the west African coast en route to the East Indies station. Her bowsprit was fitted during her 1865-66 refit. Collection of Surgeon H.P. Babcock, USN; donated by his son, George R. Babcock, 1939. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: USS Sacramento "Kroomen" from Monrovia, Liberia, on board, in January-February 1867, while the ship was cruising along the west African coast en route from the United States to the East Indies station. These men appear to be wearing Navy uniforms and may be members of Sacramento's crew. Collection of Surgeon H.P. Babcock, USN; donated by his son, George R. Babcock, 1939. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: Pencil sketch of USS Sacramento by Midshipman M.S. Day, drawn 20 June 1867, the day after she was wrecked on a bar at the mouth of the Godavari River near Madras, India. Collection of Surgeon H.P. Babcock, USN; donated by his son, George R. Babcock, 1939. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Named after the river in California (and not the city), the 2,100-ton USS Sacramento was a steam screw sloop gunboat that was built by the Portsmouth Navy Yard at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and was commissioned during the Civil War on 7 January 1863. The ship was approximately 229 feet long and 38 feet wide, had a top speed of 12 knots, and had a crew of 161 officers and men. Sacramento was armed with one 150-pounder gun, two 11-inch guns, one 30-pounder, two 24-pounders and four 12-pounders.
After being commissioned, Sacramento was assigned to blockade duty off the coast of North Carolina as part of the plan to eliminate Confederate shipping coming out of Wilmington, North Carolina. On 1 May 1863, while on patrol off Wilmington, Sacramento captured the British blockade runner Wanderer. After undergoing a brief overhaul, Sacramento then was sent to Europe. Sacramento left Boston, Massachusetts, on 2 February 1864 and, after making stops in the Azores and the Canary Islands, sailed on to Cherbourg, France, arriving there on 5 July.
Sacramento cruised off the coasts of France and England in search of Confederate commerce raiders and blockade runners. Sacramento assisted in blockading the Confederate gunboat CSS Rappahannock, which was detained at Calais, France, in early 1865. In March, Sacramento joined USS Niagara off Ferrol, Spain, to observe the movements of the formidable Confederate casemate turret ram CSS Stonewall, which was bound for Cuba from Bordeaux, France. Sacramento left Queenstown, Ireland, on 25 July 1865 (after the end of the Civil War) and returned to Boston, arriving there on 12 August. The ship was decommissioned on 21 August at the Boston Navy Yard in Boston and remained inactive until 1866.
Re-commissioned on 17 September 1866, Sacramento was sent to join American warships on the Asiatic station in China and Japan. Sacramento left the United States in late 1866 and stopped at Madeira, Canary Islands, before arriving at Monrovia, Liberia. While docked at Monrovia, Sacramento embarked the president of Liberia and members of his government, along with Maryland Senator John Marshall. The ship left Monrovia on 15 January 1867 and took its passengers to Cape Palmas, located on the extreme southeast end of the Liberian coastline.
After leaving Liberia, Sacramento made her way to Madras, India. But on 19 June 1867, shortly after leaving Madras, the ship ran aground on a reef at the mouth of the Godavary River. Although smashed by powerful waves and wrecked, Sacramento’s crew was saved and eventually boarded the steamer SS General Caulfield, which returned to the United States and arrived in New York City on 19 November 1867.