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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive
USS Porpoise (II)
Dolphin Class Brig:
Built in 1835 as the hermaphrodite brig Porpoise at Boston, MA.
Launched, 31 May 1836
Commissioned, USS Porpoise, date unknown, LT. William Ramsay in command
Assigned to coast surveying of the southern coastline in the summer of 1837, interrupted in search of pirates in October
December 1836, with LT. Cadwallader Ringgold in command Porpoise was assigned to the around the world United States Exploring Expedition Squadron under the command of Lt. Charles Wilkes
Departed Hampton Roads, 18 August 1838 assisted in the exploration and survey work confirming the existence of the Antarctic Continent, charted vast areas of the South Pacific, circumnavigated the world, and returned to New York in 1840
Overhauled at New York from the end of 1842 to 8 February 1843
1843 - 1844 patrolled the West Coast of Africa for slavers,
February 1845 and July 1847 cruised Gulf of Mexico participating in Naval operations during the War with Mexico
Decommissioned, 1 January 1848, at Norfolk, VA.
Recommissioned in 1849 to patrol with the West Africa Squadron in search of slavers
Decommissioned, 3 August 1852, at New York
Recommissioned in May 1853, assigned to the exploring squadron under CDR. Cadwallader Ringgold
Departed Hampton Roads, 11 June 1853, and with the squadron explored and charted many Pacific islands and shoals before arriving in China in March 1854
Porpoise and the rest of the squadron put to sea to explore in the Bonins, the Ladrones, and the Marianas
21 September 1854, Porpoise parted company with the squadron between Formosa and China, and was never heard from again
Final Disposition, lost with all hands in the South China Sea, probably, foundered in a heavy typhoon which occurred a few days after she left the squadron
Displacement 224 t.
eight 8-pdr carronades
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Porpoise - Any of several small gregarious toothed whales (genus Phocaena)
||A modern rendering of the six vessels of the U.S. Exploring Expedition assembled at Orange Bay, near Cape Horn, in February 1839. Shown from the left are the schooner Sea Gull at anchor; the flagship USS Vincennes in the foreground, hoisting out her launch; the schooner Flying Fish under way, shifting her anchoring ground; the sloop-of-war USS Peacock with her hands furling sail; the brig USS Porpoise standing in and shortening sail, preparing to anchor; and the store ship USS Relief in the distance with her upper yards sent down, preparing to distribute provisions. Artist unknown.
From "Sea of Glory: The Epic South Seas Expedition 1838-42" by Nathaniel Philbrick.
||USS Porpoise and the schooner Sea Gull in the vicinity of the South Shetland islands during the first Antarctic cruise of the United States Exploring Expedition.
From the narrative, courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution Library, contained in the "Sea of Glory: The Epic South Seas Expedition 1838-42" by Nathaniel Philbrick.
||Lithograph by J. Baillie, New York, and J. Sowle, New Bedford, MA. of USS Porpoise under full sail.
US Naval History and Heritage Command photo #: NH 63630. Courtesy of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, April 1936.
USS Porpoise (II)
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
Last Updated 4 December 2020
This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo|