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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Tristram Shandy

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Sidewheel Gunboat:
  • Tristram Shandy, a schooner-rigged, iron-hulled sidewheel steamer completed in 1864 at Greenock, Scotland for Matthew Isaac Wilson, a Liverpool, England
  • SS Tristram Shandy sailed for the Bahamas, whence she took part in British efforts to continue trade with Southern states during the American Civil War
  • Tristram Shandy ran the blockade successfully two times but on departing Wilmington for her second run to Bermuda she was spotted and captured by USS Kansas
  • The ship was taken to Massachusetts where she was purchased by the Union Navy from the Boston Prize Court
  • Repaired and converted to a gunboat at Boston Navy Yard before proceeding to Hampton Roads, Va., where she was commissioned, 12 August 1864, Acting Vol. Lt. Edward F. Devens in command
  • 3 December 1864, destroyed a blockade runner, whose name could not be determined, that had run aground off the western bar at Wilmington, at Marshall Shoals
  • Tristram Shandy participated in the bombardment of Fort Fisher, 24 December 1864 and again on 13 January 1865
  • Tristram Shandy returned returned to Blockage duty off Wilmington following the fall of Fort Fisher
  • Captured blockade runner Blenheim, 25 January 1865
  • 31 January, Tristram Shandy joined the East Gulf Blockading Squadron
  • In the spring the ship returned to the Hampton Roads to serve as a dispatch vessel with Union forces operating there
  • In May 1865 Tristram Shandy was employed as a transport conveying Confederate prisoners to Fort Pulaski, Georgia
  • Returning to Hampton Roads 2 June 1865, Tristram Shandy was assigned directly to the Commander of the North Atlantic Squadron
  • 21 June 1865, her name was changed to USS Boxer
  • Laid up at Philadelphia in the late summer of 1865
  • Sold, 1 September 1868 to J. N. Middleton, of Philadelphia, who renamed her Firefly
  • She subsequently operated subsequently in merchant service under a succession of owners
  • Final Disposition, ran aground off Havana, Cuba, and was declared a total loss in 1874
    Displacement 444 t.
    Length 222'
    Beam 23'6"
    Draft 6'4"
    Depth of Hold unknown
    Speed 12kts
    Complement unknown
    three 12-pdrs
    one 20-pdr Parrott rifle
    Propulsion steam

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    Tristram Shandy
    From George Cruikshank's illustrations to Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy. Plate VIII: The Smoking Batteries. Uncle Toby is in the sentry box, the corporal on the right. Basically, the corporal has invented a way to make multiple cannons be fired at once, by using the principles of a hookah - when a puff is taken, the cannons fire. Unfortunately, the two find the puffing a little too enjoyable...(Wikipedia)
    Tristram Shandy - Took her name from the hero—and the shortened title—of the novel, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, which was written by Laurence Sterne between the years 1759 and 1767.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command

    USS Tristram Shandy
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 7 August 2020