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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Gem of the Sea

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

  • Built, date and location unknown
  • Launched, date unknown
  • Purchased, 4 August 1861, by the US Navy from Galway & Teller at New York
  • Commissioned, USS Gem of the Sea, 15 October 1861, Acting Volunteer LT. Irvin B. Baxter in command
  • Gem of the Sea departed New York 20 October to serve in the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron off the coast of South Carolina
    Ran British blockade runner Prince of Wales aground off Georgetown 24 December 1861
    Captured blockade runner Fair Play 12 March 1862
    Captured schooner Dixie 15 April 1862
    Captured schooner Mary Stewart 3 June
    Took schooner Seabrook off Alligator Creek, 12 June
    Took possession of four rice-laden lighters up the Waccamaw River 1 July
  • Ordered to the East Gulf Squadron, she arrived at Key West, FL., 18 December 1862 to guard the coast
    Captured sloop Ann off Jupiter Inlet 30 December 1862
    Took a small, unidentified schooner 12 January 1863 and a small boat 28 January
    Captured schooner Charm in the Indian River Inlet 23 February
    Captured sloop Peter, and British blockade runners Maggie Fulton and Inez in the same vacinity
    Took British schooner Georgewas in the Sanibal River 29 July
    Captured sloop Richard in Peace Creek 31 August
    Destroyed the buildings and four boats of noted blockade runner Johnson in Peace Creek. 5 September
    Captured British schooner Director 30 September
    Took sloop Matilda 21 October
    Participated from 24 to 30 December 1863, in an expedition up the Myacca River, transporting refugee rangers from Useppa Island to the mainland
    Gem of the Sea spent her remaining career patrolling off Charlotte Harbor, FL.
    Joined her tender Rosalie in capturing steamer Emma off nearby Malco Inlet 11 June 1864
  • Gem of the Sea departed Charlotte Harbor 2 February 1865 and entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard the 22 February
  • Decommissioned 24 February and was sold 6 May 1865 to A. C. Purvis & Sons, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
    Displacement 371 t.
    Length 116'
    Beam 26' 3"
    Depth of Hold 13'5"
    Draft unknown
    Speed unknown
    Complement 65
    six 32-pdrs
    Propulsion sail

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    Size Image Description Source
    Arthur 197k Preparing Merchant Vessels for the Blockade", Harper's Weekly, September 7, 1861. Merchant ships Arthur, Braziliera (sic Brazelero), Amanda and Gem of the Sea being fitted out for naval service at New York Navy Yard. Tommy Trampp
    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

    USS Gem of the Sea
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 10 May 2019