The Steam Sloop of War USS Pawnee, was placed into service in 1860 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. It quickly responded to the commencement of hostilities by steaming to Washington D.C. to help protect the capital which had virtually no defense at the start of the war. The Marines from the Pawnee formed a guard unit that manned a large gun, and served as landing party. They participated in the battle of Port Royal, going ashore to capture a fort on St Helena Island.They performed raids around James Island in the campaign to blockade Charleston SC. They participated in landings as far south as North Florida. The unit started at 30 men with a Lt in charge and later dropped to just over 20 with an Orderly Sgt in command.