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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Mercury

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Sidewheel Steamer Tug:
  • Laid down, date and location unknown
  • Launched, date unknown
  • Purchased by the Navy, 17 August 1861, at New York, N.Y. by George D. Morgan from R. Coffin & Co.
  • Rebuild at New York Navy Yard
  • Commissioned, USS Mercury, 3 October 1861, at New York Navy Yard
  • During the Civil War Mercury served as at tug at Hilton Head, S.C.
  • Reassigned to the US Naval Academy in 1865
  • Decommissioned and laid up in 1870
  • Sold, 29 August 1873, to Wyeth Bros., Washington D.C. for $6,300
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
    Displacement 187 t.
    Length 128'
    Beam 22' 10"
    Depth of Hold 8'
    Draft 5' 6"
    Speed unknown
    Complement unknown
    October 6 and 19 1861
    one 20-pdr
    one 30-pdr Parrott rifle
    August 4, 1864
    one 30-pdr Parrott rifle
    one 20-pdr rifle
    March 31, 1865
    one 3-pdr Parrott rifle
    one 2-pdr Parrott rifle
    one steam engine, cylinder diameter 36"
    one boiler

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    Wabash 100k "The Great Naval Expedition" to capture Port Royal, South Carolina, November 1861. Engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", July-December 1861 volume, pages 696-697, depicts Federal warships and transports, under Flag Officer Samuel F. DuPont, USN, departing Hampton Roads, Virginia, en route to Port Royal. Ships, as identified below the image bottom, are (from left): (illegible),
    USS O.M. Pettit,
    USS Gem of the Sea,
    Great Republic,
    USS Wabash (DuPont's flagship),
    USS Seneca,
    USS Pembina,
    USS Connecticut,
    USS Mercury,
    USS Unadilla,
    USS Augusta,
    USS Alabama and (illegible).
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo #: NH 59315
    Robert Hurst
    Arkansas 78k "Army & Navy Reconnaissance. Tuesday Morning Nov. 5" 1861 Line engraving published in "The Soldier in Our Civil War", Volume I, page 189, depicting Federal ships investigating Port Royal Sound, South Carolina, prior to their successful attack on Confederate fortifications there. Ships and other items identified across the bottom of the print include (from left to right):
    USS Mercury, with Generals Sherman and Stevens & staff on board;
    USS Penguin, with Hilton Head Battery beyond;
    USS Pawnee; Broad River (in distance);
    CSS Huntress (distance);
    USS Seneca; Steamer Screamer (distance);
    USS Ottawa with Capt. Rogers & General Wright on board;
    Steamer Everglades (distance, beyond Ottawa;
    USS Pembina;
    CSS Lady Davis (distance); Beaufort River (distance); Bay Point Battery (distance); USS Curlew; (probably misidentified as no record exists that USS Curlew served with South Atlantic Blockading Squadron) Confederate camp (distance);
    USS Isaac Smith.
    US Navy photo # NH 59319
    Tommy Trampp
    Congress 142k Admiral DuPonts machine ship in Charleston Harbor, S.C. This is the only known image (however inaccurate) of what may be the tug USS Mercury For the purpose of saving time spent by vessels of the Southern Blockading Squadron being sent North for repairs, Admiral DuPont established a floating machine-shop in Station Creek, near Hilton Head, where such work was done. He took two of the old whale-ships which were sent down with the “Stone Fleet”, placed them side by side. One of them was housed over to provide an area for a steam-engine which was needed to drive various machinery needed to facilitate ship repair. The building was divided for different operations as found in machine shops, such as a pattern room, boiler-makers room, with heavy forges, brass founders’ room, etc. The other vessel had furnaces, s store-house, and quarters for “contrabands”.
    Illustration from Frank Leslies book “The Soldier in Our Civil War: a Pictorial History of the Conflict” Vol. II.
    Bill Gonyo
    Congress 134k Correspondence from Admiral DuPont confirming the existence of the repair facility at Station Creek. Bill Gonyo
    Congress 42k Ships of the Stone Fleet Bill Gonyo

    There is no DANFS history record for Mercury available at NavSource
    Commanding Officers
    01Act. Master Martin, Samuel G.11 November 1861 - 10 February 1862
    02Act. Master Rockwell, John E. (temp)10 February 1862 - ?
    03Act. Ensign Center, Sturgis7 June 1864 - ?
    04Act. Ensign Nelson, Thomas1864 - ?
    05Act. Master Morris, William G.13 June 1865 - ?
    06Mate, Brown, John (Academy)30 September 1865 - 1 January 1869
    Courtesy Bill Gonyo

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    The Navy's Stone Fleet
    Stone Fleet
    The Stone Fleet and the Massachusetts Connection
    The Civil War Sesquicentennial
    The Stone Fleet
    Civil War's Stone Fleet sailed from New London to Dubious End in South Carolina

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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 10 July 2015