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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USRCS John A. Dix
USRCS Wilderness (1865 - 1874)
USS Wilderness (1864 - 1865)

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Sidewheel Steamer:
  • Built in 1864 as the wooden-hulled sidewheel steamer B. N. Creary, sometimes spelled B. N. Crary, at Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Acquired by the Union Navy at New York City, 30 May 1864, and simultaneously renamed Wilderness
  • Fitted out at the New York Navy Yard and commissioned USS Wilderness, 20 July 1864
  • Wilderness was assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron at Hampton Roads primarily as a supply ship for naval vessels operating on the James River
  • Wilderness was reassigned to the duty off the North Carolina coast in late October
  • On 31 October while patrolling off New Inlet, N.C., Wilderness took the British blockade-runner Annie
  • On 23 DecemberWilderness towed the stripped and explosive ladden Louisiana into position close to the walls Fort Fisher in an attempt to blow the fort up
  • Wilderness lay in reserve off shore during the first attempt to take Fort Fisher, 24 and 25 December 1864
  • The side-wheel steamer supported the landings against the Confederate stronghold on 13 January 1865, landing troops within 500 yards of the fort
  • Wilderness took part in the occupation of former Confederate works at Smithville, N.C., on 19 January
  • She remained in the vicinity of the mouth of the Cape Fear River into February and then returned to her former operating area, the James River, but was subsequently ordered back to New Bern, N.C. to resume her general utility duties through the end of the Civil War
  • Decommissioned, 10 June 1865
  • Acquired by the Treasury Department at the Boston Navy Yard, 6 September 1865
  • Fitted out at Baltimore, MD., as a revenue cutter in Florida waters on 28 November
  • Wilderness operated out of key West for a year
  • Wilderness Subsequently operated in the Gulf of Mexico out of New Orleans through the summer of 1872
  • Put into New York for repairs, 2 September 1872, apparently returning to New Orleans in July 1874 under the name John A. Dix
  • John A. Dix operated in the Florida Keys and Gulf of Mexico in the 1880s
  • Placed out of commission in April 1891
  • Sold, 18 May 1891, at Algiers, LA.
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown.
    Displacement 390 t.
    Length 137'
    Beam 25'
    Depth of Hold unknown
    Draft 6'
    Speed 13 kts
    Complement 83
    Armament four 24-pdr guns
    steam engine(s)
    two sidewheels

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    Size Image Description Source
    351k "Capture of Blockade Runner Annie October 31, 1864.-Sketch by Charles F. Ellmore."
    From left to right: USS Howquah; USS Alabama launch; USS Wilderness; USS Nipon; blockade runner Annie; USS Kansas; USS Alabama.
    Flickr - State Archives of North Carolina
    John Spivey

    USS Wilderness / USRCS Wilderness / USRCS John A. Dix
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    This page is created by Gary P. Priolo and maintained by Michael Junge
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    Last Updated 25 May 2023