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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Philadelphia (III)

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Sidewheel Steamer:
  • Built at Chester, Pennsylvania, in 1859, as the commercial vessel SS Philadelphia
  • Seized, 21 April 1862 and fitted out for Naval service at Washington Navy Yard
  • Commissioned, date unknown, as USS Philadelphia, LT. William Nicholson Jeffers in command
  • During the Civil War USS Philadelphia
  • Operated on the Potomac River as a transport until October 1861
  • Assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron in October and participated in the following actions:
    Battle of Roanoke Island, N.C., 7 and 8 February 1862
    Capture of New Berne and Dismal Swamp Canal, 17 to 20 April 1862
    Assigned to the South Atlantic blockading Squadron, as flagship, in August 1863
    Participated in the operation against Charleston, S.C., in the fall of 1863
  • Decommissioned, 31 August 1865, at Washington Navy Yard
  • Sold at public auction, 15 September 1865, to N.L. and G. Griswold, returning to civilian trade as SS Philadelphia
  • Renamed SS Ironsides in 1869
  • Final Disposition, lost by stranding at Hog Island, VA., 29 August 1873
    Displacement 500 t.
    Length 200'
    Beam 30'
    Depth 10'
    Speed unknown
    Complement unknown
    two 12-pdrs

    Propulsion steam

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    Size Image Description Contributed
    Philadelphia (III) 53k Artwork by Erik Heyl of the Seabord & Roanoke R.R. Co. steamer SS Philadelphia in 1859. for use in his book "Early American Steamers", Volume III.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 67014. Courtesy of Erik Heyl.
    Bill Gonyo
    Philadelphia (III) 96k Sepia wash drawing by R.G. Skerrett, 1903 of USS Philadelphia.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 60690. Courtesy of the U.S. Navy Art Collection, Washington, D.C.
    Bill Gonyo
    Philadelphia (III) 123k USS Philadelphia officers pose on her fore deck, during the Civil War. Photographed by the Matthew Brady organization. Note Philadelphia's deck, partially covered with canvas; her pilothouse with bell mounted on top; and brightly-polished capstan. The gun is a 12-pounder Dahlgren boat howitzer, mounted on a field carriage. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.
    Note: although this photograph is identified as having been taken on board Philadelphia during the Civil War, the ship's structure is rather different than that seen in the above artworks of the ship. This may reflect the subsequent addition of a forecastle deck, or may indicate an incorrect identification.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # LC-B8171-3414 from the collections of the US Library of Congress.
    Bill Gonyo

    USS Philadelphia (III)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 9 September 2011