length 132 feet, beam 23 feet, draft 10.2 feet. In service 1905-1921
in the Philippine Islands. Named for the island, Romblon, which
is located south of Luzon in the central Philippine Islands.
launch, length 121 feet, beam 23.5 feet, draft 7.5 feet. On
loan from the Navy specifically for the party of Ferdinand Gerdes.
The SACHEM was given as a replacement for the UNCAS which had
started on its way from New York to the Gulf of Mexico but which
had encountered mechanical difficulties necessitating a switch
of vessels at Hampton Roads. The ship worked with David Dixon
Porter and David Farragut on the lower Mississippi River prior
to the taking of New Orleans. Used as transportation and hotel
services for Gerdes, Sub-Assistant Joseph Harris, Sub-Assistant
John Oltmanns, and Aid T. C. Bowie. These men established survey
control on the banks of the Mississippi River for placement
of Porter’s mortar schooners such that they could use
indirect artillery fire into Forts Jackson and St. Philip. By
knowing the coordinates of the mortars on the schooners and
the coordinates of the forts (having been surveyed in previous
years), the naval officer Porter may have been the first person
in the history of warfare to use computed coordinates, azimuths
and distances to direct artillery fire at an unseen target.
Following passage of the forts, the SACHEM was used as a ferry
vessel for bringing the wounded down-river to safety. A few
weeks later, on an expedition up the Pearl River the SACHEM
was fired upon by Confederate infantry and John Oltmanns was
wounded by a shot through the chest. He recovered to serve as
a scout and topographer with Generals William Franklin and Phil
Sheridan for many campaigns during the remainder of the war.
On about June 30, 1862, the SACHEM returned to Navy control
and, for a little ship, was heavily involved in many actions,
until disabled and captured at Sabine Pass, Texas, by Confederate
forces. Name means Chief in Algonquin.