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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Peacock (I)

  • Authorized by Act of Congress 3 March 1813
  • Laid down, 9 July 1813, by Adam & Noah Brown at the New York Navy Yard
  • Launched, 19 September 1813
  • Commissioned USS Peacock, circa 1813-14
  • Peacock departed New York, 12 March 1814, to deliver supplies to the naval station at St. Maryís, GA.
  • While patrolling off Florida, Peacock encountered the British brig HMS Epervier and a convoy of three merchant ship,at dawn on 29 April
  • Peacock closed Epervier and gave battle
  • In a forty-five minute action, Peacock defeated Epervier
  • Peacock sailed from Savannah, 4 June 1814 crossing the Atlantic via the West Indies, returning to New York, 29 October 1814 after capturing fourteen prizes
  • Peacock, in company with sloop USS Hornet and storeship USS Tom Bowline, departed New York for her third cruise on 23 January 1815
  • Chased by a British frigate off South America, Peacock sailing alone and cruised in the Indian Ocean that spring, capturing and burning three prizes
  • On 30 June, Peacock fell in with the East India Company cruiser Nautilus in the Straits of Sunda
  • When Nautilus claimed peace had been signed at Ghent the previous December, Warrington suspected a ruse and demanded the brig strike her colors. The British refused and Peacock responded with a broadside, killing or wounding fifteen. After boarding Nautilus, Warrington confirmed peace had been signed
  • A court of inquiry was held in Boston a year later, exonerating Captain Warrington of all blame
  • Peacock sailed from New York, 13 June 1815, joining the Mediterranean Squadron returning to Norfolk, 17 January 1819
  • Reassigned to the Mediterranean Squadron after a six month overhaul, departing for home 8 May 1821
  • Placed in ordinary, 10 July 1821, at Washington Navy Yard
  • Recommissioned, 3 June 1822, Peacock sailed south to the West Indies where she joined Commodore David Porterís West India Squadron as squadron flagship at Key West, FL.
  • On 28 September 1822, Peacock participated in a raid at a pirate camp at Funda Bay
  • The following spring, Peacock captured a pirate schooner and a sloop
  • Yellow fever struck down her crew in September causing Peacock sail to Norfolk, 28 November to recover
  • In March 1824, the sloop proceeded south to the Pacific Ocean cruising along the west coast of South America for over two years, keeping a close eye on the affairs of the Spanish colonies
  • In September 1825, Peacock sailed to the Sandwich Islands, where an agreement on commerce and navigation was negotiated with the Hawaiian Kingdom
  • From 24 July 1826 until 6 January 1827, the sloop visited the Society Islands and other Pacific island groups, sending numerous reports back to the Secretary of the Navy regarding the whaling industry, the fur trade of the northern Pacific, and American trade in the southern Pacific
  • On the return cruise to South America, Peacock was struck by a whale, causing serious hull damage
  • Arriving at New York in October 1827, Peacock decommissioned and was broken up and rebuilt at the Navy Yard during 1828 in preparation for duty with a surveying expedition to the South Pacific
  • Plans for the exploratory voyage stalled in Congress
  • Peacock was fitted out for regular naval service and departed, 26 September 1823, for a long West Indies cruise as part of Commodore Elliottís squadron, protecting American ships and encouraging the nationís trade in the West Indies until returning to Boston on 25 April 1831
  • Peacock departed again, 8 March 1832, for the Brazil station, from which she departed some months later in company with USS Boxer, on a diplomatic mission to the Far East. Onboard Peacock was the Honorable Edmund Roberts, who signed a treaties of amity and commerce with the Kingdom of Siam, 20 March 1833, and at Arabia with the Sultan of Muscat, 21 September 1833
  • Returning to the United States, Peacock was laid up at New York, 31 May 1834
  • The sloop departed New York, 25 April 1835, in company with USS Enterprise, on her second voyage to the Far East delivering the signed treaties to Siam and Muscat
  • Peacock ran aground on a coral reef in the Arabian Gulf but was floated off after throwing her heavy cannon and round shot overboard
  • The sloop arrived back at Norfolk, 2 November 1837
  • In 1838 Congress authorized the South Seas Surveying and Exploring Expedition
  • Peacock joined sloop USS Vincennes, brig USS Porpoise, store-ship USS Relief and two schooners, Sea Gull and Flying Fish, at Hampton Roads in the summer of 1838. Under the command of Lt. Charles Wilkes, and joined by noted naturalists and botanists, the expedition sailed on 15 August, arriving at Porto Praya in the Cape Verde Islands on 7 October. After surveying shoals reported in these areas, the expedition headed south and west, rounding Cape Horn in January 1839.
  • Final Disposition Peacock ran hard aground while crossing the bar at the mouth of the Columbia River, 17 July 1841, and was abandoned
    Displacement 509 t.
    Length 117' 11"
    Beam 31' 6"
    Draft 16' 4"
    Speed unknown
    Complement 140
    two 12 pdrs
    twenty-two 32 pdr carronades
    Propulsion sail

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    Size Image Description Contributed
    Peacock 271k Pen and ink drawing by Howard Irving Chapelle showing the lines of the sloop of war USS Peacock, 1813.
    "The History Of American Sailing Ships" by Howard I. Chapelle, Bonanza Books, New York.
    Robert Hurst
    Peacock 149k Pen and ink drawing by Howard Irving Chapelle showing the inboard profile and deck of the sloop of war USS Peacock, 1813.
    "The History Of American Sailing Ships" by Howard I. Chapelle, Bonanza Books, New York.
    Robert Hurst
    Peacock 340k Pen and ink sketch by Henry Rusk of the sloop of war USS Peacock, 1813.
    "The History Of American Sailing Ships" by Howard I. Chapelle, Bonanza Books, New York.
    Robert Hurst
    Peacock 135k Chalk drawing of the sloop-of-war USS Peacock, date and artist unknown. Tommy Trampp
    Peacock 150k Woodcut issued at Boston in 1836 depicting the sloop-of-war USS Peacock engaging the British brig HMS Epervier, 29 April 1814. Tommy Trampp
    Peacock 29k Newspaper article reporting on USS Peacock's activities in the Canary Islands in September 1814. Tommy Trampp
    Vincennes 408k A modern rendering of the six vessels of the U.S. Exploring Expedition assembled at Orange Bay, near Cape Horn, in February 1839. Shown from the left are the schooner Sea Gull at anchor; the flagship USS Vincennes in the foreground, hoisting out her launch; the schooner Flying Fish under way, shifting her anchoring ground; the sloop-of-war USS Peacock with her hands furling sail; the brig USS Porpoise standing in and shortening sail, preparing to anchor; and the store ship USS Relief in the distance with her upper yards sent down, preparing to distribute provisions. Artist unknown.
    From "Sea of Glory: The Epic South Seas Expedition 1838-42" by Nathaniel Philbrick.
    Robert Hurst
    Peacock 102k USS Peacock crashing into a tabular iceberg while serving with the South Seas Surveying and Exploring Expedition at Antarctica.
    From the Narrative, courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution Library, as found in "Sea of Glory: The Epic South Seas Expedition" by Nathaniel Philbrick.
    Robert Hurst
    Peacock 99k A sketch by Assistant Surgeon Charles Guillou, a close friend of Passed Midshipman William Reynolds, showing attempts to extricate the rudderless USS Peacock from the ice.
    Courtesy Anne Hoffman Cleaver Collection as found in "Sea of Glory: The Epic South Seas Expedition" by Nathaniel Philbrick.
    Robert Hurst
    Peacock 107k A drawing of the wreck of USS Peacock, 17 July 1841. Here the ship's boats attempt to return to the wreck after delivering a portion of the crew to Bakers Bay, just inside Cape Disappointment at the northern edge of the Columbia River's mouth. As one of the boats capsizes in the heavy seas at the bar, the crew of the schooner Flying Fish watches helplessly from just beyond the bar.
    From the Narrative, courtesy Smithsonian Institution Libraries as found in "Sea of Glory: The Epic South Seas Expedition" by Nathaniel Philbrick.
    Robert Hurst

    USS Peacock (I)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 5 January 2018