WESTFIELD

J. Barto Arnold III
The U.S.S. Westfield
Illustration, USS Westfield, by R.G. Skerrett. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

WESTFIELD. The USS Westfield, Union flagship at the battle of Galveston in late 1862, was originally a side-wheel steam ferryboat belonging to Cornelius Vanderbilt. Her statistics were: tonnage 822, length 215 feet, beam 35 feet, depth 13½ feet. After acquisition by the Union Navy on November 22, 1861, she was armed with a 100-pound Parrot rifle, a nine-inch Dahlgren smoothbore, and four eight-inch Dahlgren smoothbores. The Westfield was commissioned in January 1862 under Commander William B. Renshaw. From the Westfield Renshaw commanded the Union mortar flotilla that captured the defenses of Galveston on October 4, 1862. Six days later the city formally surrendered. On January 1, 1863, when Confederate forces staged a surprise attack and recaptured the city, the Westfield ran aground near Pelican Spit in Galveston Bay; she could not be dislodged and had to be destroyed to prevent capture. Renshaw and a boat crew were killed when she blew up prematurely. One story had it that they waited until the explosion should have occurred, then returned to the ship thinking that the fuse must have gone out. In May 1864 the hard-pressed Confederate Ordnance Department ordered the salvage of the Westfield's hollow and forged side-wheel shafts, which were then made into gun barrels.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Civil War Naval Chronology, 1861–1865 (Washington: Naval History Division, Department of the Navy, 1961–66; rpt. 1971). Charles C. Cumberland, "The Confederate Loss and Recapture of Galveston, 1862–1863," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 51 (October 1947). Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (8 vols., Washington: U.S. Navy, 1959–81).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, J. Barto Arnold III, "WESTFIELD," accessed November 16, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qtw03.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on January 3, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...