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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive
USS Shark (I)
Built at Washington Navy Yard
Launched, 17 May 1821
Commissioned, USS Shark in June 1821 at Washington Navy Yard, LT. Mathew C. Perry in command
USS Sharks' first assignment in July 1821 was to transport DR. Eli Ayers to Sierra Leone in west Africa
Shark returned by way of the West Indies to New York, 17 January 1822
Assigned to the West Indies Squadron, sailing 26 February 1822
25 March 1822, LT. Perry took formal possession of what in now Key West, FL.
Shark was next assigned to another cruise off the coast of Africa, returning to Norfolk, 12 December 1822
The ship returned to duty with the West Indies Squadron in February 1823
Returned to New York for repairs, 9 July 1823
Sailed from New York 5 October to determine if the area at Key West was fit as a place to establish a naval base
Returned to Norfolk, 16 November 1823 to debark the survey party
Repaired at New York, 13 May to 5 October 1825, returning to duty in the West Indies
Returned to Norfolk, 29 August 1826
Shark departed Norfolk, 28 November 1826, proceeding to the west coast of Africa to ensure liberated slaves were safely established at Liberia
Returned to New York, 6 July 1827
Shark next sailed 24 July 1827, to the Newfoundland fisheries to defend American interests
The ship next resumed her duties in the West Indies in October 1827
Reassigned to the Mediterranean in 1833
Returning to Norfolk, 24 March 1838
Shark next sailed for duty with the Pacific Squadron, 22 July 1839
USS Shark passed thorough the Strait of Magellan from east to west, 13 December 1839, becoming the first United States man-of-war to do so
For the next five years the ship spent most of her time along the coast of Peru to protect American citizens from civil disturbances
Shark overhauled at Honolulu before conducting an exploratory voyage up the Columbia River
Final Disposition, when re-crossing the bar at the mouth of the river, 19 September 1846, while outbound to sea Shark struck an uncharted shoal and
was swept into the breakers by a swift tide. The ship was a total loss but her crew was saved.
Displacement 198 t.
Beam 24' 7"
Depth 10' 4"
ten 18-pdr carronades
two 9-pdr guns
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||Drawing by J.M. Caiella of the hull of USS Shark
||Watercolor by Gunner William H. Myers, of USS Cyane, showing the Squadron's ships sailing in line abreast, 1842-43. Ships are (from left to right):
USS United States,
USS Cyane (II),
USS Saint Louis (I),
USS Yorktown (I) and
USS Shark (I)
Copied from Journal of a Cruise on the USS Cyane, 1842-1843, by William H. Myers.
US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 54488
||Watercolor of USS Shark under way, by David Harrison Wright. From the Key West Maritime Historical Society.
||USS Shark circa 1846, U.S. Navy photo.
Image from Flickr courtesy of Florida Keys Public Libraries photo # MM00000860x.
||BW Photo of a watercolor of USS Shark crossing the bar at Lisbon, Portugal, by James Evans.
US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 108763
||Cannon recovered from the wreck of USS Shark. From the Cannon Beach History Center and Museum, Oregon.
||Model of the schooner USS Shark at the U.S. Navy Museum, taken, 27 December 2011, by Sturmvogel 66 (real name unknown).
USS Shark (I)
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
The Original Cannon and the USS Schooner Shark
Last Updated 22 September 2017
This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo|