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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Keystone State

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Sidewheel Steamer:
  • Built in 1853 as wooden sidewheel steamer SS Keystone State at Philadelphia by J. W. Lynn
  • Chartered by the Navy 19 April 1861 from the Ocean Steam Navigation Co. at Philadelphia
  • Purchased 10 June 1861
  • Commissioned USS Keystone State, 19 July 1861, at Philadelphia Navy Yard, CDR. G. H. Scott in command
  • While under charter Keystone State shared in the capture of Hiawatha at Hampton Roads 20 May 1861
  • After commissioning USS Keystone State left the Delaware Capes 21 July and cruised in the West Indies seeking Confederate blockade runners in Caribbean ports, capturing Saloon on the high seas, 10 October 1861
  • Assigned to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron at Charleston, joining, 13 January 1862
    Engaged Confederate batteries at Amelia Island on 18 January 1862
    Captured blockade runner schooner Mars, 5 February 1862
    Chased schooner Liverpool ashore where she was burned to the waters edge, 10 April 1862
    Captured schooner Dixie, 15 April 1862
    Captured SS Elizabeth, 29 May 1862
    Captured schooner Cora, 31 May 1862
    Took blockade runner Sarah off Charleston, 20 June 1862
    Captured schooner Fanny attempting to slip into Charleston, 22 August 1862.
    31 January 1863 USS Keystone State engaged Confederate ironclads CSS Chicora and CSS Palmetto State off Charleston the return fire from the Confederates hit Keystone State's steam drum, scalding 1 officer and 19 men to death and wounding another twelve
  • Decommissioned, 10 June 1863, at Philadelphia Navy Yard for repairs
  • Recommissioned, 3 October 1863, CDR. Edward Donaldson in command
  • USS Keystone State was reassigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron at Wilmington, N.C.
    Captured SS Margaret and Jessie, 5 November 1863
    Captured SS Caledonia, 30 May 1864
    Took SS Suez, 5 June 1864, off Beaufort, N.C.
    Captured SS Rouen at sea 2 July 1864
    Chased and captured SS Lilian with USS Gettysburg
    With USS Quaker City USS Keystone State chased and captured blockade runner SS Elsie, 5 September 1864
    Participated in the attacks on Fort Fisher in December 1864 and January 1865
  • Decommissioned, 25 March 1865, at Baltimore, MD.
  • Sold at auction, 15 September 1865, at Washington D.C. to M. O. Roberts
  • Redocumented SS San Francisco, 22 December 1865, and operated in merchant service until 1879
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
    Displacement 1,364 t.
    Length 220'
    Beam 35'
    Depth unknown
    Draft 14' 6"
    Speed 9.5 kts
    Complement 163
    two 12-pdrs (light)
    two 12-pdrs (heavy)
    Propulsion steam
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    Size Image Description Source
    Mobile 67k Colored pencil sketch by Xanthus Smith of USS Keystone State, depicting the ship at Port Royal, South Carolina, 15 December 1862.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 60640-KN (Color)
    Bill Gonyo
    Palmetto State 61k "The Rebel Rams engaging our Blockading Fleet off Charleston, South Carolina, January 31, 1863"
    Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", January-June 1863, page 117, depicting CSS Chicora and CSS Palmetto State attacking USS Mercedita, with USS Keystone State at right
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 59304
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Mobile 34k The British Steamer and Blockade runner Jupiter, formerly a British Mail Packet on the Clyde, Scotland, said to run 16 miles an hour, is caught off New Inlet in 1863 by USS Keystone State and USS Wauchusett and brought into Philadelphia in 1864.
    Water color by D.J.Kennedy (1816-1898). Image courtesy of Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
    Robert Hurst
    Mobile 30k USS Keystone State riding a large wave in a gale, on the blockade, in 1863.
    Water color by D.J.Kennedy (1816-1898). Image courtesy of Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
    Robert Hurst
    Mobile 64k Watercolor by Erik Heyl, 1949, painted for use in his book "Early American Steamers", Volume I. This steamer served as USS Keystone State in 1861-65. After the Civil War she returned to civilian use as SS San Francisco. Courtesy of Erik Heyl.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 63857
    Bill Gonyo

    USS Keystone State
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01LT. Woodhull, Maxwell19 April -1861 - 22 April 1861 (Chartered)
    02LT. Trenchard, Stephen D.23 April 1861 - 18 July 1861(Chartered)
    03CDR. Scott, Gustavus H.19 July 1861 - 11 November 1861
    04CDR. Le Roy, William Edgar12 November 1861 - 10 June 1863
     Decommissioned10 June 1863 - 3 October 1863
    05CDR. Donaldson, Edward3 October 1863 - 18 February 1864
    06CDR. Crosby, Pierce18 February 1864 - 18 October 1864
    07CDR. Rolando, Henry18 October 1864 - 25 March 1865 (Decomm)
    Courtesy Bill Gonyo

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    Last Updated 7 April 2017