USS Klamath 1865-1874
The USS Klamath was One of twenty Casco Class Monitors (iron-clad). It was a single turreted monitor launched on April 20th, 1865 in Cincinnati, OH. The ship was meant to be a used in the shallow bays and rivers that the states of the Confederacy were known for by sacrificing armor to reduce weight and draft. The Casco class was designed by influential designer and engineer,
John Ericsson who designed the first US Navy Ironclad, the USS Monitor. But the design was modified by Chief Alban C. Stimers after the failure of the Second Battle of Fort Sumpter.
The two men’s relationship has been alternatively mentioned as poor or strained. The third person to look at the design, Chief of the Bureau of Construction and Repair, John Lenthall, had little contact with the US Navy ship construction board so the design was passed with little critical scrutiny and construction started. Design flaws discovered during construction of the first ship resulted in a redesign that extended the draft by 22 inches to make the ship seaworthy and able to carry the armor originally designed for the ship.
The US Navy received possession of the USS Klamath, along with the USS Yuma on May 6th, 1866, three days before the end of the Civil War. The design flaw, and the end of the war, meant that ships of this class couldn’t be used in their intended role though, and the USS Klamath was laid up in Mound City Illinois. It was renamed to the USS Harpy on June 15th, 1869 for unknown reasons, but changed back to USS Klamath less than a month later on August 10th, 1869.
The ship was moved to New Orleans in 1870 and along with a number of other surplus monitors such as the USS Kickapoo, sold at public auction on September 12, 1874 to Schickels, Harrison & Co. Where it is presumed they were scrapped.