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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Periwinkle (1864 - 1871)

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Screw tug:
  • Built in 1864 as the two-masted, schooner rigged, white oak tug America at Philadelphia
  • Purchased by the Navy, 9 December 1864, from John W. Lynn
  • Commissioned USS Periwinkle in early January 1865, Acting Master Henry C. Macy in command
  • During the Civil War USS Periwinkle was assigned to the Potomac Flotilla as a gunboat
  • Following the war USS Periwinkle operated with the flotilla up to June 1865 when she was reassigned to Norfolk
  • Placed in ordinary in 1867 at Norfolk
  • Reactivated for service with the Hall Scientific Expedition to the Arctic in 1870, repaired at Washington Navy Yard
  • Renamed Polaris in 1871
  • Departed New York Navy Yard in July 1871, Charles F. Hall in command
  • Aiming for the North Pole Polaris reached the furthest point north yet reached by an vessel, 82° 1' 11"N
  • During her homeward voyage in October 1872, she was caught in the ice and crushed, her crew were rescued.
    Displacement 383 t.
    Length 140'
    Beam 28'
    Depth 12'
    Draft 10' 6"
    Speed unknown
    Complement 16
    two 24-pdrs
    Propulsion steam and sail

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    Size Image Description Contributed
    Periwinkle 221k Ex-USS Periwinkle as the Hall Scientific Expedition research vessel Polaris moored at Washington Navy Yard. She was renamed Polaris in 1871 and made the first expedition to the North Pole.
    Library of Congress photo.
    Bill Gonyo
    Periwinkle 163k Research vessel Polaris equipped for polar exploration, moored at Washington Navy Yard, circa 1871.
    Library of Congress photo.
    Robert Hurst
    Periwinkle 126k A wood engraving entitled "Captain Hall's Arctic Expedition -- The 'Polaris'" , published in Harper's Weekly, May 1873. Robert Hurst

    USS Periwinkle
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 13 July 2012