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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Hornet (V)
USS Lady Sterling (1864)

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Sidewheel Steamer:
  • Built in 1864 at Blackwell, England, as the Confederate blockade runner Lady Sterling
  • Taken prize and set afire off Wilmington, N.C., by USS Eolus and USS Calypso of the Atlantic Blockading Squadron, 28 October 1864
  • Sold by the New York Prize Court to the Navy
  • Commissioned, USS Lady Sterling, 24 April 1865, Acting Master Joseph Avant in command
  • Renamed USS Hornet 17 June, 1865.
  • During the Civil War USS Hornet
    Carried President Andrew Johnson, Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles, and their party to Point Lookout 22 to 24 July 1865
    Escorted the captured Confederate ram CSS Stonewall from Havana to Washington
    Transported troops from Norfolk to New York
  • Decommissioned, 15 December 1865, at Philadelphia
  • Sold for mercantile service, 25 June 1869
  • As a merchant ship Hornet active in supporting insurrections in Haiti and Cuba
  • Taken into Spanish service in 1872 and renamed Marco Aurelia
  • Final Disposition, broken up circa 1894
    Displacement 835 t.
    Length 242'
    Beam 26' 6"
    Draft 13' 3"
    Speed unknown
    Complement unknown
    Armament eight guns
    Propulsion steam

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    Size Image Description Contributed
    USS Hornet
    Hornet - A large, strong wasp whose sting is severe (NS020869a). Hornets are the largest of the eusocial wasps, and are similar in appearance to their close relatives yellowjackets (wasps native to North America—e.g., baldfaced hornets—are commonly refered to as hornets but are actually yellowjackets). Hornets aggresively guard their nesting sites when threatened and their stings are more painful and dangerous to humans than typical wasp stings, as their venom contains a large amount of acetylcholine; moreover, individual hornets can sting repeteadly.
    Tommy Trampp
    Lady Sterling 61k Watercolor painting by Erik Heyl, 1961, of Confederate blockade runner SS Lady Stirling painted for use in his book Early American Steamers, Volume IV. Built in England in 1864, this blockade runner was captured 28 October of that year and served as USS Lady Sterling and USS Hornet from 1865 to 1869. Note that the correct spelling of this ship's name differs from that used by the artist.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 63708. Courtesy of Erik Heyl.
    Robert Hurst
    Eolus 95k USS Eolus capturing the blockade runner Lady Sterling off Wilmington, North Carolina, 28 October 1864.
    Phototype by F. Gutekunst, Philadelphia, PA., published circa the later 1800s.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 2014.
    Bill Gonyo
    Hornet 92k USS Hornet photographed by C.W. Yates, at Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1865. This ship was formerly the blockade runner Lady Sterling, captured off Wilmington in October 1864.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 5119, donation of Ralph Dudley, 1943..
    US Naval History and Heritage Command

    USS Hornet (V)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 18 December 2020