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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Reliance (I)

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Screw Steamer:
  • Built as a wooden screw steamer in 1860 at Keyport, N.J.
  • Launched, date unknown
  • Purchased by the Union Navy, 7 May 1861, at New York
  • Commissioned, USS Reliance, 13 May 1861, Acting Lt. Jared P. K. Mygatt in command
  • Assigned to the Potomac Flotilla, Reliance began her active service by blockading the Virginia side of the Potomac River patrolling the river, searching for smuggled supplies, runaway slaves, and deserting Confederate soldiers.
    From 29 May to 1 June 1861, she joined in attacks against enemy positions at Aquia Creek, VA.
    On 20 June, she engaged Rebel batteries at Marlborough Point, VA.
    A week later, she fought Confederate forces at Mathias Point, VA.
    On 12 August 1862, she captured sloop, Blossom, and sent a boat expedition into Sturgeon Creek
    On 30 October, seized the sloop Painter off Alexandria
    On 24 November, took longboat, New Moon
    On 23 August 1863, Reliance and USS Satellite anchored off Windmill Point were captured by Confederate raiders
  • Final Disposition, taken to Port Royal, Va., stripped and destroyed on 28 August to prevent their recapture by approaching Union cavalry
    Displacement 90 t.
    Length 66'2"
    Beam 17'
    Depth of Hold unknown
    Draft 7'5"
    Speed unknown
    Complement unknown
    one 24-pdr howitzer
    one 12-pdr howitzer
    Propulsion steam, single screw

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    Size Image Description Source
    Reliance 197k "Engagement between the Gunboat Flotilla, Freeborn and Reliance, under the Command of Captain James H. Ward, and a Secession Force at Mathias Point, Va., on the Potomac River -- Death of Captain Ward." 27 June 1861.
    A line engraving, based on a sketch by an Officer of the Expedition, published in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, 1861, depicting USS Thomas Freeborn, Ward's flagship, in the left foreground with USS Reliance to her right.

    US Navy History and Heritage Command photo # NH 59242
    US Navy History and Heritage Command

    USS Reliance (I)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 7 January 2017