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The second USS Ohio was a ship of the line of the United States Navy. She was designed by Henry Eckford, laid down at New York Navy Yardmarker in 1817, and launched May 30, 1820. She went into ordinary and in the ensuing years decayed badly. Refitted for service in 1838, Ohio sailed October 16, 1838 to join the Mediterranean Squadron under Commodore Isaac Hull. Acting as flagship for two years, she protected commerce and suppressed the slave trade off the African coast. Ohio proved to be an excellent sailor repeatedly making more than 12 knots. One of her officers stated, "I never supposed such a ship could be built—a ship possessing in so great a degree all the qualifications of a perfect vessel." In 1840 Ohio returned to Bostonmarker where she again went into ordinary. From 1841 to 1846 Ohio served as receiving ship.

To meet the needs of the Mexican-American War, Ohio recommissioned December 7, 1846, and sailed January 4, 1847 for the Gulf of Mexicomarker, arriving off Veracruzmarker March 22. Ohio landed ten guns on March 27 to help in the siege of Veracruz; but the city soon surrendered.

Ohio drew too much water for coastal operations in the gulf. However, 336 of her crew participated in the Tuxpan River Expedition. In 1847 the entire distance from the mouth of the river to the town was covered with thick jungle growth. The enemy had constructed three well-positioned forts on bluffs overlooking bends in the river. On April 18 Commodore Matthew Perry arrived off the mouth of the river with 15 vessels. At 10 p.m. light-draft steamers Scourge, Spitfire, and Vixen, each towing a schooner, moved up stream. Bombships Etna, Hecla, and Vesuvius followed closely while 30 surf boats containing 1,500 men brought up the rear. Approaching the town, the squadron came under hot fire from Fort LaPena. Commodore Perry ordered Commander Franklin Buchanan to disembark the surf boats and storm the fort. As the landing party swept ashore, the Mexicans abandoned their position. The other two forts fell in a like manner, with only light casualties substained by the squadron. Men from Ohio retrieved the guns of brig Truxtun which had foundered in a storm near Tuxpan September 16, 1846. The town was occupied and all military stores destroyed.

Following Tuxpan, Ohio sailed from Veracruz and arrived in New York May 9, 1847. On June 26 she sailed to bolster the Pacific Squadron, first carrying the U.S. minister to Brazilmarker and operating off the east coast of South America until December. In Valparaísomarker, on January 21, 1848, Commodore Thomas ap Catesby Jones took her as the flagship of the Pacific Squadron, intending to blockade the western Mexico ports.The Ohio arrived at Mazatlánmarker on May 6, shortly after the Mexican-American War ended.Jones used the fleet to help transport to Monterey, Californiamarker, those that had aided the United States in the war, arriving there October 9.The Ohio then sailed to Sausalitomarker, in San Francisco Baymarker.Ohio spent the next two years in the Pacific protecting commerce and policing the newly acquired California Territory during the chaotic early months of the gold rush.Scurvy struck the crew in the spring of 1849 in San Francisco Baymarker so Jones sent the Ohio to the Sandwich Islandsmarker for fresh food.

In 1850 she returned to Bostonmarker where she again went into ordinary. In 1851, Ohio became a receiving ship and continued this duty until again placed in ordinary in 1875. Ohio was sold at Boston to J. L. Snow of Rockland, Mainemarker September 27, 1883. She was burned in the following year, in Greenport Harbor, New Yorkmarker; the remains are still accessible to scuba divers. The wreck is off Fanning Point, in about 20 feet of water.

See also

  • Samuel P. Carter - first American officer to be awarded both the rank of Rear Admiral and Major General


  • Howard Chapelle, The History of the American Sailing Navy: the Ships and their Development (New York: Norton, 1949)

  • Log book of the USS Ohio (National Archives)

  • Gene A. Smith, Thomas ap Catesby Jones, Commodore of Manifest Destiny (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2000) ISBN 1-55750-848-8

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