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NavSource Online:
Gunboat Photo Archive



  • Built in 1852 at New York City
  • Acquired by the Navy 16 December 1861
  • Commissioned USS Hunchback 3 January 1862
  • Decommissioned 12 June 1865 at New York
  • Sold 12 July 1865 to the New York and Brooklyn Ferry Co.
  • Renamed General Grant in 1866
  • Remained in service until 1880
  • Fate unknown.


  • Displacement 517 t.
  • Length 179'
  • Beam 29'
  • Depth of Hold 10'
  • Speed 12 kts.
  • Complement 99
  • Armament: Three 9", one 100-pounder Parrott rifle and three smaller guns
  • Propulsion: Steam, side wheeler.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Hunchback 400k New York and Staten Island Ferry Company side-wheel ferry Hunchback in commercial service, in 1859
    Image from Maritime New York in Nineteenth-Century Photographs, P.11, Pub. by E. & H. T. Anthony-Johnson, , Dover Publications Inc., New York
    Robert Hurst
    USS Hunchback
    Hunchback 128k . Bill Gonyo
    Hunchback 140k On the James River
    Photo from the Mathew Brady Collection
    Tommy Trampp
    Hunchback 354k Acting Assistant Paymaster Henry Cushing entered service 29 July 1862 in his home state of New York. An article in the New York Times dated 31 May 1865 with his name listed as a crew member aboard the Hunchback. A listing in the United States Service Magazine noting he was relieved of duty aboard the Hunchback 3 June 1865 to finish “settling assets” of the Hunchback prior to her decommissioning on 12 June. He was discharged on 3 October 1865 from the Navy. It is beleived he served in Hunchback the balance of the Civil War. Here he sits at a table with two unidentified Acting Ensigns aboard ship under a canopy. The items above his head are the sponge and ram rod for the forward Parrot Gun. The item just inside the door appears to be a gun rack holding eight muskets. Since he is wearing his summer whites this would indicate the probability of photo being taken in or around the summer of 1863. Below are the crew members listed so far (more than what appears in the register for 1863) but still very short on names. Acting Ensign Valentine and Acting Master’s Mate John F. Sias were also long veterans aboard Hunchback:
    Act. Master Robert G. Lee (C.O.)
    Act. Ensign Edward K. Valentine
    Act. Asst. Paymaster Henry Cushing
    Act. Asst. Surg. Thomas W. Jamison
    First Asst. Engr. Henry W. Finch
    Act. Second Asst. Engr. Manasseh Smith
    Act. Master's Mate John Maddock, and
    Act. Master's Mate John F. Sias
    National Archives photo
    Bill Gonyo
    Hunchback 266k Library of Congress photo LC-DIG-ppmsca-33830 Mike Green
    Hunchback 364k c. 1864
    James River, VA
    Commanded by Act[in]g Master E. K. Valentine
    Photograph shows the officers and sailors of the steam-powered gunboat on its decks. In reality Acting Master Edward K. Valentine was the Executive Officer under the command of Lt. Joseph P. Fyffe. The officer sitting in the chair on the right holding the sword while wearing a straw hat is Acting Master Edward K. Valentine. The officer to his left sitting and four officers (3rd Assistant Engineers) standing appear to be the ship’s Engineering crew. The rest of the officers are standing on the roof of the deckhouse with the crew members around the pilot house is the balance of Junior Officers
    Library of Congress photo LC-DIG-ppmsca-33402
    Bill Gonyo
    Hunchback 300k The gentleman on the left is either the Master’s Mate; or 3rd Assistant Engineer (since his cuff is blank) and the gentleman on the right is either the Boatswain or Chief Gunner. The gent on the left has a slick sleeve which may indicate the photo was taken prior to 29 Jan 1864. The Navy changed to having Master’s Mates included wearing a star on their sleeve. Those plaid shirts were common issue during the war to both the Army and Navy
    National Archives photo
    Hunchback 159k Ship's officers and crew on deck, in the James River, Virginia, 1864-65
    Photographed by Matthew Brady. Negative No. B-2011
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 59430
    Robert Hurst
    Hunchback 236k Some of the ship's officers and crewmen pose on deck, while she was serving on the James River, Virginia, in 1864-65
    Photographed by Matthew Brady. Negative No. B-470
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 51955
    Hunchback 91k Gunners loading a 12-pounder Dahlgren smooth-bore howitzer, which is mounted on a field carriage
    Photographed by Matthew Brady in the James River, Virginia, 1864-65. The original photograph has Brady negative number B-6193
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 59431
    Hunchback 106k Loading drill on a 12-pounder Dahlgren rifled howitzer, mounted on an iron field carriage, in the James River, Virginia, 1864-65
    Photographed by Matthew Brady. The original photograph has Brady negative number B-620
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 59433
    Hunchback 114k Two of the ship's officers seated in folding chairs on the upper deck, in the James River, Virginia, 1864-65
    Photographed by Matthew Brady. The original photograph has Brady negative number B-613
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 59435
    Hunchback 51k Painting/Computer-generated imagery by Orin 2005 Tommy Trampp

    Commanding Officers
    01Acting LT Edmund Ross Colhoun, USN3 January 1862 - 5 November 1862
    Temp.CDR Stephen Clegg Rowan, USNFebruary 1862 - March 1862
    02LCDR William P. McCann, USN17 December 1862 - 3 September 1863
    03Acting Master Robert G. Lee3 September 1863 - 21 May 1864
    04LT Joseph P. Fyffe, USN21 May 1864 - 12 June 1865
    05Acting Master LT Edward K. Valentine, USN1864
    Courtesy of Bill Gonyo and Joe Radigan

    View the Hunchback
    DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command website
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    This page created by Joseph M. Radigan and maintained by Tom Bateman
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