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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Alabama (I)

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Alabama Class Sidewheel Steamer:
  • Laid down in 1849 as the sidewheel steamer SS Alabama on the East River at New York City by William Henry Webb
  • Launched, 19 January or 10 June 1850
  • Delivered to the New York and Savannah Steam Navigation Co., for commercial service in January 1851
  • Taken over by the Army at New York in 1861
  • Purchased by the Union Navy, 1 August 1861 from S. L. Mitchell and Son
  • Commissioned, USS Alabama, 30 September 1861, CDR. Edmund Lanier in command
  • During the Civil War USS Alabama was active as follows:
    Assigned to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron to capture blockade runners
    Decommissioned 15 October 1862, for repairs
    Recommissioned, circa 1 December, 1862, CDR. Edward T. Nichols in command
    Assigned to the Caribbean Squadron to suppress Confederate raiders and privateers on American shipping
    Ordered north 27 July 1863, because of a Yellow Fever outbreak among the crew
    Decommissioned at New York, circa early August, the ship was towed to Portsmouth, N.H. and placed in quarantine
    Recommissioned, 17 May 1864, Acting Volunteer LT. Frank Smith in command
    Assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron
  • Decommissioned, 14 July 1865, at Philadelphia
  • Sold, 10 August 1865, to Samuel C. Cook
  • Engines removed in 1872, re-registered as a schooner
  • Final Disposition, destroyed by fire in 1878
    Displacement 1,261 t.
    Length 214' 4"
    Beam 35' 2"
    Draft 14' 6"
    Speed 13 kts.
    Complement 175
    eight 32-pdr smoothbores
    Propulsion sail and steam

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    Size Image Description Source
    Alabama 75k Watercolor by Erik Heyl, 1948, of SS Alabama painted for use in his book "Early American Steamers", Volume I. This steamship served as USS Alabama during 1861-1865. Courtesy of Erik Heyl.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 63861.
    Tommy Trampp
    Alabama 186k "Merchant Steamers Converted into Gun-boats."
    Engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", July-December 1861 volume. Depicts thirteen merchant steamships acquired by the U.S. Navy between April and August 1861 and subsequently converted into warships, plus the steamer Nashville (far left), which became a Confederate cruiser. US Navy ships as identified below the image bottom, are (from left to right:
    USS Alabama,
    USS Quaker City,
    USS Santiago de Cuba, (listed as "St. Jago de Cuba")
    USS Mount Vernon,
    USS Massachusetts,
    USS South Carolina,
    USS Florida,
    USS De Soto,
    USS Augusta,
    USS James Adger,
    USS Monticello,
    USS Bienville and
    USS R.R. Cuyler.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 59366.
    Robert Hurst
    Narragansett 223k "The Great Expedition -- The Vessels at Anchor at Hampton Roads Previous to the Departure". Line engraving published in Harper's Weekly, July-December 1861 volume, page 725. It consists of two views of Flag Officer DuPont's squadron at Hampton Roads, VA., prior to leaving, 29 October 1861 to capture Port Royal, S.C. Ships and geographical features, as identified below the images, are (upper engraving, from left to right):
    ferry boats,
    store ship,
    steamer SS Marion,
    USS Seminole,
    steamer SS Ben Deford,
    tug Grapeshot,
    Fort Monroe,
    USS Narragansett,
    USS Alabama,
    USS Pawnee, and
    new ("90-Day") gunboats.

    (lower engraving, from left to right):
    store ship,
    SS Vanderbilt,
    steam tug (foreground),
    store ship,
    steamer Winfield Scott,
    steamer Atlantic,
    USS Minnesota,
    steamer SS Baltic,
    USS Relief,
    USS Wabash,
    USS R.B. Forbes,
    steamer SS Oriental,
    steamer SS Matanzas,
    steamer SS Philadelphia,
    and the Rip Raps.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo #: NH 59317
    Robert Hurst
    Wabash 170k "Portion of the Naval Expedition, as it appeared on the night of October 16, sailing to Hampton Roads. -- Sketched by an Officer on Board. 1861".
    Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", July-December 1861 volume, pages 712. It depicts Flag Officer DuPont's squadron en route to capture Port Royal, South Carolina. Ships, all U.S. Navy, as identified below the image bottom, are (from left):
    USS Wabash,
    USS Florida,
    USS Augusta,,
    USS Alabama,,
    USS Ottawa,,
    USS Seneca,
    and USS Pembina.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 59316
    Robert Hurst
    Wabash 100k "The Great Naval Expedition" to capture Port Royal, South Carolina, November 1861. Engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", July-December 1861 volume, pages 696-697, depicts Federal warships and transports, under Flag Officer Samuel F. DuPont, USN, departing Hampton Roads, Virginia, en route to Port Royal. Ships, as identified below the image bottom, are (from left): (illegible),
    USS O.M. Pettit,
    USS Gem of the Sea,
    Great Republic,
    USS Wabash (DuPont's flagship),
    USS Seneca,
    USS Pembina,
    USS Connecticut,
    USS Mercury,
    USS Unadilla,
    USS Augusta,
    USS Alabama and (illegible).
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo #: NH 59315
    Robert Hurst
    Alabama 117k "Destruction of a Schooner off Cumberland Inlet, Georgia, by the Boats of the 'Alabama' -- Sketched by an Officer of the 'Alabama'."
    Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", January-June 1862 volume, page 65, depicting a typical incident of the Civil War blockade of the southern coast, circa late 1861 or early 1862. USS Alabama, which was then serving on the blockade of South Carolina and Georgia, is depicted in the right center distance.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 59349.
    Robert Hurst
    351k "Capture of Blockade Runner Annie October 31, 1864.-Sketch by Charles F. Ellmore."
    From left to right: USS Howquah; USS Alabama launch; USS Wilderness; USS Nipon; blockade runner Annie; USS Kansas; USS Alabama.
    Flickr - State Archives of North Carolina
    John Spivey
    Alabama 144k Daniel D. T. Nestell, reportedly born in New York between 1815 and 1819, graduated with honors from the University of the City of New York's University Medical College (later the New York University School of Medicine) in 1843. Following graduation, Nestell, accompanied by one of his professors (Dr. Valentine Mott), traveled abroad for two years in furtherance of his medical studies. Upon his return to the United States, Dr. Nestell reportedly worked as a physician or apothecary until 1862. On January 25, 1862, Dr. Nestell was appointed Acting Assistant Surgeon, to serve on the U.S.S. Clifton (side wheel steamer). While assigned to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, Clifton participated in the Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Phillip in April 1862, the Siege of Vicksburg in June 1862, and the First Battle of Galveston in October 1862, before being captured by Confederate forces at Sabine Pass, Texas on September 8, 1863. Nestell was subsequently held as a prisoner of war until January 1864, when he was released. After his release from Confederate captivity, and a subsequent furlough, Nestell was assigned to the U.S.S. Alabama (side wheel steamer), again serving as Acting Assistant Surgeon. Assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Alabama took part in the Union attacks on Fort Fisher from December 1864 to January 1865. During the action at Fort Fisher, Nestell suffered irreversible hearing damage. Five months later, on June 6, 1865, Dr. Nestell's appointment as Acting Assistant Surgeon was revoked, and he was honorably discharged from the Navy in August of that year.
    Image and text courtesy of the Nimitz Library - United States Naval Academy
    Bill Gonyo

    USS Alabama (I)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CDR. Lanier, Edmund30 September 1861 - 26 July 1862
    02LCDR. Gillis, James H. (Temp)26 July 1862 - 12 August 1862
    03LCDR. Truxtun, William T.12 August 1862 - 15 October 1862
     Decommissioned15 October 1862 - December 1862
    04CDR. Nichols, Edward T.December 1862 - 27 July 1863
     Decommissioned27 July 1863 - 17 May 1864
    05Act. Vol. LT. Smith, Frank17 May 1864 - 10 January 1865
    06Act. Vol. LT. Langthorne, Amos R.10 January 1865 - June 1865
    Courtesy Bill Gonyo

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    Last Updated 17 June 2022