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: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS San Jacinto (I)

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Screw Frigate:
  • Laid down in August 1847 by the New York Navy Yard
  • Launched, 16 April 1850
  • Commissioned, USS San Jacinto, circa November 1851, at New York Navy Yard, CAPT. Thomas Crabbe in command
  • San Jacinto was built as an experimental ship to test new propulsion concepts, the screw frigate was plagued by balky engines and unreliable machinery throughout her career
  • Assigned to service in European waters after a trial voyage to Norfolk for New York in January 1852
  • Decommissioned, 13 July 1853 at Philadelphia, PA. for installation of new machinery
  • Recommissioned, 5 August 1854, to resume her cruise in European waters
  • USS San Jacinto was attached to the Home Squadron in the spring of 1855
  • Decommissioned, 21 June 1855, at New York for repairs
  • Recommissioned, 4 October 1855, CAPT. Harry H. Bell in command, assigned as flagship for the East India Squadron
  • USS San Jacinto picked up Townsend Harris, Consul General to Japan, at Penang, 22 March 1856 and dropped him off at Bangkok to negotiate at treaty establishing diplomatic and commercial relations between the US and Siam
  • USS San Jacinto served in Chinese ports including combat during the Second Opium Wars
  • Decommissioning, 6 August 1858, at New York
  • Recommissioned, 6 July 1859, for service in the Africa Squadron to help suppress the slave trade
    Captured the brig Storm King, 8 August, off the Congo River
  • Under the command of CAPT Charles Wilkes, San Jacinto sailed for the United States for service in the Union Navy during the Civil War, enroute she searched for the Confederate cruiser CSS Sumter in the Caribbean
  • Learning that Confederates envoys James Mason and John Slidell were in Havana, Wilkes determined to intercept them and take them captive. Mason and Slidell intended to board the English mail packet SS Trent to complete their journey to London. About 230 miles east of Havana a boarding party from San Jacinto seized the Confederate diplomats in what became known as the "Trent Affair" on 8 November 1861. The incident strained United States relations with England almost to the breaking point.
  • Decommissioned, 30 November 1861, at Boston Navy Yard, for overhaul and preparation for service as flagship for the Gulf Blockading Squadron
  • Recommissioned, 1 March 1862, temporarily assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron in Hampton Roads to bolster Union naval forces lest CSS Virginia return to threaten General McClellan's army on the peninsula
  • When the Confederate naval threat to Union forces lessened USS San Jacinto departed Hampton Roads, 23 May 1862
  • San Jacinto assumed flagship duties for the East Gulf Blockading Squadron, 1 June 1862 at Key West, FL.
  • A yellow fever breakout aboard the ship required her to steam north for quarantine off Deer Island, near Boston
  • USS San Jacinto with her crew health restored was re-assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron
  • After failing to prevent CSS Alabama from escaping Fort Royal, Martinique San Jacinto returned to the East Gulf Blockading Squadron for duty as flagship
  • San Jacinto returned to New York Navy Yard, 16 February 1863, for repair of a broken shaft, returning to flagship duty, from 1 July to 5 September 1863
  • Reassigned to blockade duty off Mobile
    Ran aground blockade runner Alabama, 12 September
    Captured steamer SS Lizzie Davis, 16 September
    Tenders assigned to USS San Jacinto took several blockade runners during December 1863 including Confederate sloop Magnolia and British schooner Edward
    Captured schooner Roebuck, 7 January 1864
    Ran an unnamed schooner (formerly Lealtad) aground, 11 March
  • Again struck by yellow fever, USS San Jacinto was quarantined in New York harbor, 13 August 1864
  • Ordered to pursue CSS Tallahassee, departing New York, 19 August without finding the Southern commerce raider
  • After repairs at Portsmouth, N. H. San Jacinto returned to Key West, 3 December to resume flagship duty
  • USS San Jacinto sunk after striking a reef, 1 January 1865, near Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas, her guns, along with some equipment and provisions, were saved, but salvage efforts failed
  • Hulk sold at Nassau, New Providence, 17 May 1871
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
    Displacement 1,567 t.
    Length 234'
    Beam 27' 9"
    Depth 23' 3"
    Draft 16' 6"
    Speed 8 Kts
    Complement 278
    four 32-pdrs
    two 8" guns
    Propulsion steam

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    Brandywine 190k USS San Jacinto was an early screw-propeller steam frigate built at the navy yards in Brooklyn, New York, between 1847 and 1850 to experiment with new propulsion concepts. She was named after the Battle of San Jacinto in the Texas Revolution. Problems with her propellers and other mechanical failures plagued the ship throughout her service. She saw service during the Civil War and in 1861 was embroiled in what became known as the “Trent Affair”, the seizure of two representatives from the Confederacy from off of a British ship. CAPT. Charles Wilkes proceeded in San Jacinto to a narrow part of the Old Bahama Channel, some 230 miles east of Havana, and waited there to waylay the Trent. On 8 November, two shots across the mail packet's bow persuaded her master to heave to. A boarding party from San Jacinto seized the Confederate diplomats and their secretaries and then permitted the packet to resume her voyage. This is a drawing of the ship shortly after its construction at the New York Naval Shipyard.
    (Gleason's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, October 25, 1851). Drawing courtesy of the New-York Historical Society Museum & Library
    Bill Gonyo
    Portsmouth 153k Attack on the Barrier Forts (Second Opium War) near Canton, China, by the American squadron, 21 November 1856 - consisting of the U.S. sloops-of-war USS Portsmouth and USS Levant with the officers and crew of the steam frigate USS San Jacinto.
    Painting by A. Poinsett; Maker John Henry Bufford (1810–1870). Courtesy National Maritime Museum, London, England.
    Robert Hurst
    San Jacinot 328k Photograph of the screw-propeller steam frigate USS San Jacinto created from a print by the Detroit Publishing Co. sometime between 1890 and 1901. Courtesy of the Library of Congress Bill Gonyo
    San Jacinot
    256k Halftone reproduction of a wash drawing of USS San Jacinto by R. G. Skerrett, 1903.
    Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 44955
    Robert Hurst
    San Jacinot
    269k USS San Jacinto (right) stops the British packet steamer RMS Trent. When the San Jacinto removed two Confederate diplomats from Trent, it touched off the Trent Affair, the closest that Great Britain came to joining the American Civil War.
    The image is from p. 67 of the 1887 book 'The Youth's History of the United States, etc', by Edward Sylvester Ellis, published by Cassell & Co. Uploaded from the Mechanical Curator collection, a set of over 1 million images scanned from out-of-copyright books and released to Flickr Commons by the British Library.
    Robert Hurst
    San Jacinto 412k USS San Jacinto stopping the British mail packet RMS Trent in the Caribbean, 8 November 1861, to take Confederate commissioners to England and France, James Mason and John Slidell, prisoner.
    "The Illustrated London News"
    Tommy Trampp
    San Jacinto 113k USS San Jacinto stopping the British mail packet RMS Trent in the Caribbean, 8 November 1861, to take Confederate commissioners to England and France, James Mason and John Slidell, prisoner.
    University of Kentucky Library
    Tommy Trampp
    San Jacinto 622k USS San Jacinto in Key West during the Civil War. The photo was purchased by Frank Adams in January 1865 with a note on the back that this ship had been wrecked in the Bahamas.
    Scott De Wolfe Collection. Image from Flickr courtesy of Florida Keys Public Libraries photo # MM00042287x.
    Robert Hurst
    San Jacinot
    169k CAPT. Charles Wilkes, USN. This is a "Carte de viste" photograph taken circa 1855-1862. Wilkes commanded USS San Jacinto in 1861.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 92562
    Robert Hurst
    San Jacinot
    148k LCDR. Donald Mc. Fairfax, USN. At one time assigned to USS San Jacinto.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 92677, An original photograph. Courtesy of Miss Mary E. Mason.
    Robert Hurst
    San Jacinot
    163k LT. James A. Greer, USN. This is a "Carte de viste" photograph taken circa 1855-1862. Greer served in USS San Jacinto during the "Trent" incident, November 1861.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 92564
    Robert Hurst
    San Jacinot
    171k Kidder R. Breese, USN. This is a "Carte de viste" photograph taken circa 1861-1862. Breeze served in USS San Jacinto during the "Trent" incident, November 1861.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 92565. Collection of Captain A.L. Clifton, USN (Medical Corps), 1939
    Robert Hurst

    USS San Jacinto
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Back To The Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To The Old Navy" Steam and Sail Index
    Comments, Suggestions, E-mail Webmaster.
    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 27 August 2021