USS Stars and Stripes (1861)
USS "Stars and Stripes" (1861) was a 407-ton steamer acquired by the
U.S. Navyand put to use by the Union during the American Civil War.
"Stars and Stripes " served the
Union Navyprimarily as a screw gunboat, and as a tugboatwhen necessary, in the blockade of the rivers and ports of the Confederate States of America.
Purchased by the Union Navy in New York in 1861
"Stars and Stripes" -- a screw steamer built at
Mystic, Connecticut, by Charles Mallory as a speculation for C. S. Bushnell -- was purchased by the Navy at New York Cityfrom C. S. Bushnell on 27 July 1861; was fitted out for naval service at the New York Navy Yardand was commissioned there on 19 September 1861, Lt. Reed Werden in command.
Civil War operations
Assigned to the North Atlantic blockade
Assigned to the
Atlantic Blockading Squadron, "Stars and Stripes" reached Hampton Roads, Virginia, on 26 Septemberand, two days later, was ordered to tow schoonersof the Stone Fleetto Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina. She arrived off Hatteras Inlet on 1 Octoberand operated in that vicinity for the next few months. On 15 December, she captured schooner "Charity" and sent her to New York Cityfor adjudication. On 7 February 1862, the screw gunboat was in the squadron which attacked Roanoke Islandand the next day captured that base which controlled communication between Pamlico Soundand Albemarle Sound. She operated in the inland waters of North Carolina and helped capture New Bern, North Carolina, in mid-March. "Stars and Stripes" returned to Norfolk, Virginia, on 4 Junefor repairs and sailed on the evening of the 10th for blockading duty off Wilmington, North Carolina. Shortly before dawn on the 27th, she helped "Cambridge" destroy blockade-running steamer "Modem Greece" which that Union blockader had run aground. On 24 August, "Stars and Stripes" captured British ship "Mary Elizabeth" attempting to slip into Wilmington with a cargo of salt and fruit.
Repaired at Philadelphia
The wear and tear of hard duty forced "Stars and Stripes" to sail, via
Norfolk, Virginia, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for repairs. She was decommissioned at the Norfolk Navy Yardon 14 September.
Assigned to the East Gulf of Mexico blockade
Quickly restored to a serviceable condition, the ship was recommissioned on
29 Septemberand was assigned to the East Gulf Blockading Squadron. The steamer reached Key West, Florida, and spent the remainder of the Civil War operating off the gulf coast of Florida.
Highlights of her service in
1863included capturing sloop"Florida" at St. Marks Bay, Florida, laden with cotton and taron 3 June; the expedition of boat crews from the steamer and "Somerset" to Marsh Island, Florida, to destroy salt and salt workson 15 July; and the destruction under heavy fire of blockade-running schooner "Caroline Gertrude" aground on the bar at the mouth of the Ochlockonee Riveron 29 December.
1864, she captured blockade-running steamer "Laura" off the Ochlockonee on 18 January; she destroyed an extensive Confederate fishery at Marsh Island on 19 and 20 Octoberand captured the troops stationed there as guards; and she joined three other gunboats in an expedition on 3 Decemberwhich destroyed extensive salt worksat Rocky Point in Tampa Bay.
After the end of the Civil War, "Stars and Stripes" sailed north and was decommissioned at Philadelphia on
30 June 1865. She was sold at public auction there on 10 August 1865to Thomas Watson and Sons of New York City.
Subsequent commercial career
"Stars and Stripes" was redocumented on
18 September 1865as "Metropolis". The ship operated in merchant service until, while steaming from Philadelphia to Pará, Brazil., she was wrecked on the outer bar of Currituck Beach, North Carolina, on the evening of 31 January 1878. Both the ship and her cargo were a total loss.
American Civil War
Confederate States Navy
* [http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/s18/stars_and_stripes.htm USS Stars and Stripes]
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