Please report any broken links or trouble you might come across to the Webmaster. Please take a moment to let us know so that we can correct any problems and make your visit as enjoyable and as informative as possible.

NavSource Online:
Gunboat Photo Archive


Swatara Class Screw Sloop:

  • Laid down in 1872 by the Boston Navy Yard, Charlestown, MA
  • Commissioned 10 January 1876
  • Decommissioned 14 October 1884 at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, NH
  • Recommissioned 15 February 1886
  • Driven ashore by a hurricane and tore out her botton at Samoa 16 March 1889
  • Dismantled and donated to the Samoans.


  • Displacement 2,033 t.
  • Length between perpendicluars 216'
  • Beam 39'
  • Depth of hold 20'
  • Armament: Eight guns
  • Propulsion: Sail and steam, one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Vandalia 120k At the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, probably at the completion of her construction in early 1876
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 63408
    Robert Hurst
    Vandalia 182k Fitting out in drydock at the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, circa early 1876. Behind her, at right, is USS Adam, also fitting out. In the distance is the Navy Yard's receiving ship, USS Ohio
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 44794
    Robert Hurst
    Vandalia 153k At the New York Navy Yard, circa the later 1870s or the early 1880s.
    Naval Historical Center NH 58662
    Bill Gonyo
    Vandalia 183k Former President Ulysses S. Grant (center, seated) with his wife and son, and ship's officers, on board Vandalia, during his 1877-78 Mediterranean cruise on board that ship. Former President Grant and his party boarded Vandalia at Villefranche, France, on or about 13 December 1877. They left the ship at Naples, Italy, on 18 March 1878, following visits to ports in Italy, Egypt, Turkey and Greece.
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 61138
    Bill Gonyo
    Vandalia 91k Capt. Richard W. Meade attained the rank of Captain while commanding Vandalia in the North Atlantic and West Indies in 1879-1882.
    Library of Congress photo cwpb 05437
    Bill Gonyo
    Vandalia 132k Oil painting by A. Jacobsen, 1885
    Donated by F.H. Davis, 1963
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 42299
    Robert Hurst
    Vandalia 155k At the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine, circa March 1886. "Sailed from Portsmouth Navy Yard, 25 March 1886."
    Photographed by L.V. Newell, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
    Courtesy of N.F. Toczko, 1972
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 55843
    Bill Gonyo
    Vandalia 182k At the New York Navy Yard in the summer of 1886, while preparing for service on the Pacific Station. The receiving ship Vermont is in the right distance
    Photographed by E.H. Hart, 1162 Broadway, New York City
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 44796
    Bill Gonyo
    Vandalia 205k Ship's Commanding Officer, Captain Henry L. Howison, seated in his cabin, 1886
    Probably photographed by E.H. Hart, 1162 Broadway, New York City
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 42290
    Bill Gonyo
    Vandalia 95k Captain Henry L. Howison was in command of Vandalia from February 1886 to June 1888
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 66247
    Bill Gonyo
    Vandalia 125k At anchor circa 1886-1887, while serving as the flagship of the Pacific Squadron
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 44797
    Robert Hurst
    Vandalia 193k Ship's officers posed on deck, while she was flagship of the Pacific Station, circa 1888. Photographed at Honolulu, Hawaii.
    Those present are seated, left to right: Lieutenant John C. Wilson;Chief Engineer George J. Burnap; Lieutenant James W. Carlin; Captain Henry L. Howison, Commanding Officer; Paymaster Frank H. Arms; Surgeon Hosea J. Babin; and Lieutenant Charles E. Fox.
    Standing, left to right: Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Horace M. Witzel; Passed Assistant Engineer Alexander B. Bates; Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Thomas M. Brumby; Naval Cadet Harold K. Hines; Naval Cadet Samuel P. Edmunds; Naval Cadet Edward Moale, Jr.; Naval Cadet Charles E. Johnston; Naval Cadet Samuel B. Winram; Lieutenant Hawley O. Rittenhouse; Carpenter Joseph B. Fletcher; Assistant Surgeon Francis W.F. Wieber; Naval Cadet George F. Cooper; Ensign Charles E. Sweeting; Lieutenant Greenlief A. Merriam; First Lieutenant George F. Elliott, USMC; Pay Clerk John Roche; Assistant Engineer Walter M. McFarland; and Naval Cadet William G. McMillan.
    Paymaster Arms and Pay Clerk Roche lost their lives when Vandalia was sunk in the 15-16 March 1889 hurricane at Apia, Samoa.
    Collection of Lieutenant Edward Moale, Jr.
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 91970
    Bill Gonyo
    Vandalia 121k Firing salutes off the Portmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine, circa the 1880s. Possibly photographed in March 1886, when Vandalia left Portsmouth after overhaul
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 42295
    Robert Hurst
    Vandalia 193k Captain C. M. Schoonmaker, who commanded the Vandalia, was appointed to the navy from New York in 1854 and rose from the grade of acting midshipman to that of captain, to which he was commissioned 7
    October 1886.
    Library of Congress photo cph 3c09752
    Bill Gonyo

    View the Vandalia
    DANFS history entry located on the Naval Historical Center web site
    Back To The Main Photo Index Back To the Patrol Craft/Gunboat/Submarine Chaser Index Back To The Gunboat Photo Index

    Coments, Suggestions, E-mail Webmaster

    This page created and maintained by Joseph M. Radigan
    2008 Joseph M. Radigan 1996 - 2008 NavSource Naval History. All Rights Reserved.