USS Carondelet, an ironclad river gunboat, was built in 1861 by James Eads and Company in Carondelet, Missouri under contract to the War Department; commissioned 15 January at Cairo, Illinois. Her first commanding officer was naval Captain H. Walke, reporting to the Western Gunboat Flotilla (Army), commanded by naval Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote.
Between January and October 1862 Carondelet operated almost constantly on river patrol and in the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson in February; the passing of Island No. 10 and the attack on and spiking of the shore batteries below New Madrid, Mo., in April; the lengthy series of operations against Plum Point Bend, Fort Pillow, and Memphis from April through June, and the engagement with CSS Arkansas on 15 July, during which Carondelet was heavily damaged and suffered 35 casualties.
Transferred to Navy Department control with the other ships of her flotilla on 1 October 1862, Carondelet continued the rapid pace of her operations, taking part in the unsuccessful Steele's Bayou Expedition in March 1863. One of those to pass the Vicksburg and Warrenton batteries in April 1863, Carondelet took part on 29 April in the five and one-half hour engagement with the batteries at Grand Gulf. She remained on duty off Vicksburg, hurling fire at the city in its long siege from May to July. Without her and her sisters and other naval forces, the great operations on the rivers would not have been possible and Northern Victory might not have been won. From 7 March to 15 May 1864, she sailed with the Red River Expedition, and during operations in support of Army movements ashore, took part in the Bell's Mill engagement of December 1864. For the remainder of the war, Carondelet patrolled in the Cumberland River. She was decommissioned at Mound City, III., 20 June 1865, and sold there 29 November 1865.
Part of the text is incorporated from the United States Navy's Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, a work in the public domain.