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Gunboat Photo Archive

Nipsic


Gunboat:

  • Laid down 24 December 1862 by the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, ME
  • Launched 15 June 1863
  • Commissioned 2 September 1863
  • Decommissioned in 1873
  • Recommissioned 11 October 1879
  • Decommissioned 2 October 1890 at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA
  • Sold 13 February 1913 and converted to a barge
  • Fate unknown.

    Specifications:

  • Displacement 592 t.
  • Length 179' 6"
  • Beam 30'
  • Draft 11' 6"
  • Speed 11 kts.
  • Armament: One 50-pounder rifle, one 30-pounder rifle, two IX inch smooth bore, two 24-pounder howitzers and two Italian 12-pounders
  • Propulsion: Steam and sail, one shaft.
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    Size Image Description Source
    Nipsic 111k A Nipsic class gunboat At the Washington Navy Yard, District of Columbia, circa the late 1860s or early 1870s. The Yard's western shiphouse is in the background. This ship is either Nipsic (1863-1873) in her configuration of 1869-1873, or Yantic (1864-1929) in her configuration of 1872-1897. Nipsic was rebuilt at the Washington Navy Yard in 1869
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 45212
    Robert Hurst
    Nipsic 145k In Limon Bay, Panama, during the Darien Expedition, 1870
    Courtesy of The Rev. William D. Henderson, 1967
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 64694
    Nipsic 146k Front page of "The Judge" magazine, 12 August 1882, featuring a cartoon by "JAW" concerning aid rendered by the U.S. Navy during the British Navy's bombardment of Alexandria, Egypt, in July 1882. Landing parties from USS Lancaster, USS Quinnebaug and USS Nipsic went ashore on 14 July, after the bombardment. The cartoon also makes note of the U.S. Navy's general condition at that time
    Courtesy of Captain Roger G. Gerry, USN(DC), U.S. Naval Hospital, St. Albans, New York, 1964
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 74114
    Nipsic 87k Commander Dennis W. Mullan, USN
    Photographed at Lima, Peru, in 1889, while he was serving as Commanding Officer of USS Nipsic.
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 47631
    Bill Gonyo
    Nipsic 112k Samoan Hurricane of 15-16 March 1889. Scene in Apia Harbor, Upolu, Samoa, during salvage efforts, circa late March or early April. The view looks about northwestward. In the foreground are improvised shear legs and purchase for handling guns, carriages and other heavy weights removed from the wrecks. This arrangement was used both in landing materials and later in embarking it on USS Monongahela for transit home. The bow of the German gunboat Eber is at left, by the shear legs. USS Trenton is in the center, with the sunken USS Vandalia alongside. Vandalia's smokestack has been removed to replace that of USS Nipsic, which is probably the ship in the right distance. In the left distance is the German gunboat Adler, on her side in shallow water.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 2149
    Naval Historical Center
    Nipsic 97k Wrecked ships in Apia Harbor, Upolu, Samoa, soon after the storm. The view looks about northward, with USS Trenton and the sunken USS Vandalia at left, the German corvette Olga beached in the center distance and USS Nipsic beached in the right center.Samoan Hurricane of 15-16 March 1889.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 2150
    Nipsic 130k Scene in Apia Harbor, Upolu, Samoa, soon after the storm. The view looks about southwestward, with USS Nipsic beached in the foreground. Beyond her stern is USS Trenton (in the right center) and the sunken USS Vandalia (in the center, alongside Trenton).
    U.S. Navy photo NH 2151
    Nipsic 77k Scene in Apia Harbor, Upolu, Samoa, circa late March or early April 1889, during salvage efforts. View looks westerly, with USS Nipsic undergoing repairs in the center. The upturned hull of German gunboat Adler is in shallow water beyond Nipsic.
    Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation. Collection of Rear Admiral Richard G. Davenport, USN, who was an officer of USS Nipsic during this time.

    U.S. Navy photo NH 97925
    Nipsic 192k Propeller of USS Nipsic was removed during salvage operations after she was wrecked during the Samoan Hurricane of March 1889.
    Photo from the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkley
    Bill Gonyo
    Nipsic 93k Arriving at Honolulu, Hawaii, with a jury rudder, circa August 1889. She had come up from Samoa for repair of damage received during the 15-16 March 1889 Apia hurricane.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 63404
    Naval Historical Center
    Nipsic 86k View of the ship's starboard quarter, showing the jury rudder fitted after she had lost her rudder post and rudder in the 15-16 March 1889 hurricane at Apia, Samoa. This view shows the rudder topped after backing. Probably taken at Honolulu, Hawaii, after Nipsic had arrived from Samoa, circa August 1889.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 63081
    Nipsic 85k View of the ship's starboard quarter, showing the jury rudder fitted after she had lost her rudder post and rudder in the 15-16 March 1889 hurricane at Apia, Samoa. This view shows the rudder lowered for use. Probably taken at Honolulu, Hawaii, after Nipsic had arrived from Samoa, circa August 1889.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 44707
    Nipsic 223k In the floating drydock at Honolulu, Hawaii, after arriving from Samoa for repair of damage received during the 15-16 March 1899 Apia hurricane. Not only was the propeller bent beyond repair, but the rudder and rudderpost were torn away, as were the keel and deadwood below the propeller. Of note are the sailors (including two Chief Petty Officers wearing enlisted "white hats"), sanitary chute running from the port quarter to the water, and rudder post bracket. The words "corn meal" are written on the lower right propeller blade
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 63083
    Robert Hurst
    Nipsic 130k A starboard side view of Nipsic in the floating drydock at Honolulu, Hawaii, circa August 1889, after arriving from Samoa for repair of damage received during the 15-16 March 1899 Apia hurricane
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 90464
    Nipsic 285k Barnacle encrusted hull of Nipsic dry docked at Honolulu in 1889 (date is questionable)
    Photo from the 2 August 1908 edition of the Honolulu Sunday Advertiser newspaper
    Michael Mohl
    Nipsic 142k Nipsic's badly bent propeller on display at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, circa the 1890's. This four-bladed propeller was badly bent when Nipsic went ashore during the 15-16 March 1889 hurricane at Apia, Samoa
    Courtesy of the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, 1970
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 70598
    Robert Hurst
    Nipsic 100k At the Puget Sound Naval Station, Bremerton, Washington, while serving as a barrack ship, circa 1895
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 44601
    Nipsic 129k At the Puget Sound Naval Station, Bremerton, Washington, 5 October 1897, while serving as a barrack ship. Off Nipsic's stern is the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey ship Hassler, a 350-ton steamer built at Camden, New Jersey, in 1872
    Donation of Rear Admiral Ammen Farenholt, USN(MC)
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 44602
    Nipsic 166k Serving as a barrack ship at the Puget Sound Naval Station, Bremerton, Washington, in 1898
    Donation of Rear Admiral Ammen Farenholt, USN(MC)
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 44600
    Nipsic 104k Photographed in 1898, while serving as a barrack ship at the Puget Sound Naval Station, Bremerton, Washington
    Collection of Naval Cadet Cyrus R. Miller
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 44603
    Nipsic 143k Memorial tablet in the Chapel at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, dedicated to the memory of officers and men of USS Trenton, USS Vandalia and USS Nipsic who lost their lives in the Samoan Hurricane of 15-16 March 1889. Photographed circa the early 1900s or earlier
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 1897

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships: Nipsic was laid down 24 December 1862 by Portsmouth Navy Yard; launched 15 June 1863; sponsored by. Miss Rebecca Scott; and commissioned 2 September 1863, Lt. Comdr. George Bacon in command.

    Nipsic arrived off Morris Island, S.C., 5 November 1863 to join in the blockade of Charleston, where she served until the end of the Civil War. On 27 June 1864, she took schooner Julia as the blockade-runner attempted to enter port. Such service contributed largely to Confederate defeat by closing the South's economy to all foreign contact.

    Until 1873, when she was placed out of commission, Nipsic served primarily with the South Atlantic Squadron off the coast of Brazil, and in the West Indies, protecting American commerce and interests. Recommissioned 11 October 1879, she served again in the West Indies until March 1880 when she sailed for the European Station.

    After three years service in the Mediterranean and along the north and west coasts of Africa, Nipsic returned to the South Atlantic Squadron in June 1883. She served there until March 1886 when she sailed to Washington for overhaul. In January 1888 she sailed for Cape Horn and Callao, Peru, whence she departed 23 September for duty as station ship in Apia Harbor, Samoa.

    On 15 March 1889, Nipsic rode at anchor in Apia Harbor with Vandalia, Trenton, HMS Calliope, and three German naval vessels, Adler, Olga, and Eber, along with six merchantman. Gale-Force winds arose, and preparations for leaving harbor were begun, but departure was delayed in the hope that conditions next morning would be more favorable for the sortie. However, by early morning 16 March the harbor was a mass of foam and spray as hurricane-Force winds battered the ships. Only Calliope, larger and more strongly powered than the others, was able to leave the harbor. Vandalia, Trenton, the three German ships, and the merchantmen were all sunk; Nipsic's captain, Comdr. D. W. Mullin, was able by superb seamanship to beach his ship. While severely damaged by the pounding she received on the beach, Nipsic's hull was intact, although much of her topside structure was battered, all of her propeller blades damaged, two boilers spread and useless, and eight of her crew lost. Refloated and her engines repaired, Nipsic cleared Apia 9 May for Auckland, but was turned back by heavy seas. On 15 May she again sailed, for Pago Pago, Fanning Island, and Honolulu, arriving 2 August.

    Nipsic was completely rebuilt in Hawaii, her length and beam extended and her tonnage increased. From 3 January 1890 she cruised in the Hawaiian Islands guarding American interests. She arrived in San Francisco Bay 30 September, and decommissioned at Mare Island Navy Yard 2 October. In 1892 she sailed to Puget Sound Navy Yard to serve as receiving ship and prison. On 13 February 1913 she was sold.

    ******************************************

    Additional information on Nipsic

    Addition information taken from the site "The Patriot Files." This explains why the ships were on duty station in Samoa at the time of the Hurricane [that the] DANFS omitted.

    USS Nipsic, a 1375-ton Adams class gunboat, was built at the Washington Navy Yard, D.C., the last significant ship to be constructed at that facility. Officially, she was the Civil War gunboat Nipsic rebuilt, but she actually was a completely new ship, with a displacement more than half again that of the original. The new Nipsic was commissioned in October 1879 and served for several months in the West Indies. In March 1880, she crossed the Atlantic to join the European Squadron. Nipsic was transferred to the South Atlantic Squadron in Mid-1883 and remained on that station until March 1886.

    Following overhaul, Nipsic went to the Pacific by way of Cape Horn in early 1888. Later in the year she became the station ship at Apia, Samoa, providing U.S. Naval presence there during a tense period with Germany over that nation's attempts to establish a Samoan government of its choice. On 15-16 March 1889, she was in Apia Harbor during a violent hurricane that wrecked two German and two U.S. Navy warships. Nipsic and the German corvette Olga survived the storm, but both were driven ashore and seriously damaged. During the next two months, Nipsic was repaired enough to allow her to depart for Honolulu, Hawaii, where she arrived in early August 1889.

    During the rest of 1889, Nipsic underwent repairs at Honolulu. She operated in Hawaiian waters until September 1890 and was decommissioned at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, in early October of that year. In 1892 she was taken to the Puget Sound Naval Station, at Bremerton, Washington, for use as a barracks and prison ship. With a large roof built over her hull amidships, she served in this stationary role for some two decades. USS Nipsic was sold in February 1913. Her new civilian owners subsequently converted her to a barge. *********************************************************************************************************************************************************************


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