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NavSource Online:
Gunboat Photo Archive


Albatross served both the Department of Fisheries and the U. S. Navy.

Research Vessel/Gunboat:

  • The second Albatross was built in March 1882 by Pusey and Jones, Wilmington, DE
  • Launched 19 August 1882
  • Commissioned USS Albatross 11 November 1882
  • Reclassified as an Auxiliary Cruiser 21 April 1898
  • Reverted back to a Research Vessel 8 September 1898
  • Reclassified as a Gunboat 19 November 1917
  • Reverted back to a Research Vessel 23 June 1919
  • Decommissioned 29 October 1921
  • Sold 16 June 1924 to Thomas Butler and Co. of Boston, MA who then refitted her as a schoolship
  • Reportedly tied up at Hamburg 18 October 1927, "under attachment for indebtedness."
  • Fate unknown.


  • Displacement 638 t.
  • Length 234'
  • Beam 27' 6"
  • Draft 16' 9"
  • Speed 10 kts.
  • Complement 110
  • Armament: As a Research Vessel - none; As an Auxiliary Cruiser - two 20-pounders, two 37mm guns, one 53mm gun and two Gatling guns; As a Gunboat - four 6-pounders and one Colt automatic gun
  • Propulsion: Steam, two shafts.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Research Vessel Albatross
    Albatross 78k Photos from Naval History website Robert Hurst
    Albatross 55k
    Albatross 75k
    Albatross 228k Lieutenant Commander Zera Luther Tanner, USN, Albatross' Commander from 1882-1894
    Albatross 306k c. September/October 1889
    Mare Island, CA
    Ships at the pier (left to right) are the Supply Ship USS Monongahelia outboard of the Monitor USS Monadnock (under construction), the Research Vessel USS Albatross, USC&GS Carlisle P. Patterson, USS Charleston (C 2), (being outfitted), floating dry dock and ex-Ship-of-the-Line USS Independence (Receiving Ship). Ships in the channel (left to right) Gunboat USS Alert and the Auxiliary Steamer USS Thetis
    Photo from the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum
    Darryl Baker
    Albatross 82k c. 1890
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 91740 from the U.S. Army History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania
    Robert Hurst
    Albatross 263k c. 1896
    Archival Photography by Steve Nicklas, NOS, NGS from Bulletin of the United States Fish Commission for 1896. NOAA Central Library Call photo ship3165 from Voyage To Inner Space - Exploring the Seas With NOAA Collection
    Albatross 160k Albatross, USS Davis (TB 12) and USS Fox (TB 13) in dry dock No. 1 at Mare Island. The three ships were in dock together from 10 - 18 February 1902.
    U.S. Navy photo DD1 1902
    Darryl Baker
    Albatross 98k Albatross off Mare Island in 1902.
    U.S. Navy photo E-6-1902
    Albatross 111k Albatross in the Mare Island Channel on 14 February 1914.
    U.S. Navy photo 1285-2-1914
    Gunboat Albatross
    Albatross 44k c. 1918.
    Richard Cleaveland
    Albatross 50k Under tow after her decommissioning in 1921
    Photo from Naval History website
    Robert Hurst

    Commanding Officers
    01LT Zera Luther Tanner, USN - Awarded the Medal of Honor
    Retired as Captain
    11 November 1882 - 1 May 1894
    02LCDR F. J. Drake, USN1 May 1894
    03LCDR Jefferson Franklin Moser, USN - USNA Class of 1868
    Retired as Rear Admiral
    1896 - 1898
    04LCDR Le Roy Mason Garrett, USN29 December 1902 - 21 November 1906 (Washed overboard)
    05LT Arthur Japy Hepburn, USN - USNA Class of 1897
    Awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal (1920) - Retired as Admiral
    21 November 1906
    06LCDR John Joseph Hannigan, USN - USNA Class of 1901
    Awarded the Navy Cross (1920)
    19 November 1917
    Courtesy Joe Radigan

    View the Albatross DANFS History
    Symposium papers on The U.S. Fish Commission Steamer Albatross: A History
    Back To The Main Photo Index Back to the Patrol Craft/Gunboat/Submarine Chaser Index Back To The Gunboat Photo Index

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    This page created and maintained by Joseph M. Radigan
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