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Tigress (III)

Screw Steamer:
  • Built in 1871 as a whaler at Quebec, Canada by Harvey and Co.
  • Chartered by the United States Navy for service during the search for the missing expedition ship Polaris, manned by a Navy crew under the command of CDR. James A. Greer
  • Tigress' orders were to make her way as near to Polaris' last reported position and there to begin the main portion of the search
  • She cleared New York on 14 July, visited St. John's, and put in at Godhaven, Greenland, on 6 August for coal
  • Between the 8th and the 10th, she moved from Godhaven to Upernavik where she took on coal and provisions from USS Juniata
  • The next day, the steamer headed north, following the Greenland shore as closely as she dared. On her way, she searched North Star Bay, Northumberland Island, and Harstene Bay without success
  • On 14 August, she discovered the camp on Littleton Island at which the people from Polaris had passed the previous winter. From the natives then in possession of the camp, the searchers learned that the Polaris crew had departed the previous June in boats constructed of materials salvaged from the ship and that Polaris herself sank soon thereafter Tigress' crew gathered what papers and instruments they found in the camp and re-embarked
  • On the 15th, the steamer shaped a course to the south and, following a stop at Melville Bay to communicate with the authorities at Tessuisak, reentered Godhaven on 25 August
  • After coaling from Juniata again, Tigress resumed the search by crossing Baffin Bay and heading southward along the coast of Baffin Island to Cumberland Sound and back to the coast of Greenland. There, she searched the area between Ivigtut and Liskenaes. She searched the Davis Strait until 16 October when she had to put into St. Johns for coal. There, she learned that the rest of Polaris' crew had been rescued and had arrived in Scotland
  • After a fortnight in port, Tigress cleared St. John's on 30 October and, on 9 November, returned to New York where she was returned to her civilian crew
    Displacement 360 t.
    Length 139'
    Beam 27'
    Depth of Hold 16'2"
    Draft 15'
    Speed unknown
    Complement unknown
    Armament unknown
    Propulsion sail and steam

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    Tigress 104k Tigress after fitting out at the New York Navy Yard, to search for the Polaris Expedition, circa 1873.
    Library of Congress photo # LC-D4-21021 from the Detroit Publishing Co. collection at the Library of Congress.
    Robert Hurst

    Tigress (III)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 24 February 2017