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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Union (I)

Sidewheel Steamer:
  • Laid down in 1841 at Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, VA.
  • Launched in late 1842
  • Commissioned USS Union at Norfolk in early 1843, LT. W. W. Hunter in command
  • The Navy tested various designs of propulsion machinery during the transition to steam power in the early 19th century. Among these first experiments were Union fitted with an innovation named the Hunter Wheel.
    The Hunter Wheel was named after LT. W. W. Hunter and consisted of a conventional paddle wheel drum placed horizontally within the vessel below the water-line. The paddles were so arranged as to project from a suitable opening in the side of the ship when at right angles to the keel. Water was kept from entering by a cofferdam placed around the paddle wheel drum and against the side of the ship.
  • Union left Norfolk on a trial cruise in February 1843 and returned to Norfolk in June
  • Union joined the Home Squadron in 1844 and conducted a second series of test runs ending in early 1845
  • Placed in ordinary at Washington Navy Yard in 1845
  • Original engines were replaced in 1846 with ones of greater power which failed to increase the efficiency of the paddle wheels
  • Placed in ordinary at Norfolk in November 1847
  • Union was sent to Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1848, for conversion to a receiving ship
    Her machinery and paddle wheels were removed at this time and sold
  • Union remained at Philadelphia as a receiving ship until sold there in 1858
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
    Displacement 956 t.
    Length 184'6"
    Beam 33'6"
    Depth of Hold unknown
    Draft 11' 3"
    Speed 7 kts
    Complement unknown
    Armamentfour 68-pdrs
    Propulsion sail and steam

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    Size Image Description Source or
    Contributed By
    Union 36k USS Union under way, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo # NR&L(O) 18705.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Union 328k Receiving ship USS Union at Philadelphia Navy Yard.
    From Harper's Magazine, NY. Woodcut engraving, 1858. Independence Seaport Museum. Photo taken, 26 February 2011, by Piotrus (real name unknown)
    Robert Hurst

    USS Union (I)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 24 February 2017