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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Relief (I)

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

  • Laid down in 1835 as the store ship Relief, at Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Launched 14 September 1836.
  • Commissioned , date unknown, LT Thomas A. Dorin, in command
  • Relief was assigned to the United States South Sea Surveying and Exploring Expedition in 1836
  • The ship sailed with the squadron clearing Hampton Roads on 19 August 1838
  • Relief arrived at Orange Harbor on Hoste Island, the base for survey operations of Antarctica by the squadron, 30 January 30 1839
  • Relief reached Callao, Peru on 15 April 1840 for refitting and replenishment. When Relief was unloaded and smoked, her dead rats filled three barrels
  • Relief departed Callao for home in mid July via Sydney, Australia and the Sandwich Islands, arriving at New York, 28 March 1840
  • Relief sailed for the Pacific late in 1840 for a 5 year tour operating primarily off the west coast of South America returning to New York in April 1846
  • During the Mexican War Relief was assigned to the Home Squadron, resupplying the ships blockading the Mexican coast
  • In July 1848, the ship returned to New York and in the fall was assigned to the Brazil Station
  • Relief's next assignment was with the Mediterranean Squadron in 1849
  • The ship returned to the United State in July 1850, and was engaged in resupply runs to Brazil until decommissioned, 20 November 1855
  • Recommissioned, 19 February 1856, the ship resumed her runs to the Brazil Station through 1857
  • Reassigned to the Home Squadron in late 1858 Relief again cruised the Gulf of Mexico
  • Reassigned to the African Squadron in 1861
  • With beginning of the Civil War Relief was assigned as supply ship to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron
  • In July 1862 she returned to the Gulf of Mexico and, until the fall of 1863, served primarily as station store ship at Ship Island in Mississippi Sound.
  • Decommissioned, 5 December 1863, at Boston
  • Recommissioned, 29 April 1864 and reassigned to the Pacific Squadron
  • Relief returned to New York in late 1866 and was placed in ordinary
  • Ordered to Washington, D. C. in 1871 to service as receiving ship until 1877
  • Decommissioned, date unknown
  • Laid up at Washington Navy Yard in 1878
  • Struck from the Naval Register, date unknown
  • Sold to J. B. Agnew, 27 September 1883
  • Final Disposition, fate u known
    Displacement 468 t.
    Length 109'
    Beam 30'
    Depth of Hold 12
    Speed unknown
    Complement unknown
    Armament six guns
    Propulsion sail

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    Size Image Description Contributed
    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
    Relief 137k USS Relief narrowly avoiding disaster at Noir Island just off the western entrance to the Strait of Magellan while assigned to the United States South Sea Surveying and Exploring Expedition.
    From the narrative, courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution Library, contained in the "Sea of Glory: The Epic South Seas Expedition 1838-42" by Nathaniel Philbrick.
    Robert Hurst
    Narragansett 223k "The Great Expedition -- The Vessels at Anchor at Hampton Roads Previous to the Departure". Line engraving published in Harper's Weekly, July-December 1861 volume, page 725. It consists of two views of Flag Officer DuPont's squadron at Hampton Roads, VA., prior to leaving, 29 October 1861 to capture Port Royal, S.C. Ships and geographical features, as identified below the images, are (upper engraving, from left to right):
    ferry boats,
    store ship,
    steamer SS Marion,
    USS Seminole,
    steamer SS Ben Deford,
    tug Grapeshot,
    Fort Monroe,
    USS Narragansett,
    USS Alabama,
    USS Pawnee, and
    new ("90-Day") gunboats.

    (lower engraving, from left to right):
    store ship,
    SS Vanderbilt,
    steam tug (foreground),
    store ship,
    steamer Winfield Scott,
    steamer Atlantic,
    USS Minnesota,
    steamer SS Baltic,
    USS Relief,
    USS Wabash,
    USS R.B. Forbes,
    steamer SS Oriental,
    steamer SS Matanzas,
    steamer SS Philadelphia,
    and the Rip Raps.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo #: NH 59317
    Robert Hurst

    USS Relief (I)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 17 March 2017