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NavSource Online:
Section Patrol Craft Photo Archive

Knickerbocker (SP 479)


  • Built in 1873 by Neafie and Levy, Philadelphia, PA
  • Rebuilt in 1914
  • Purchased by the Navy 13 September 1917
  • Commissioned 22 September 1917
  • Struck from the Navy list 14 March 1918
  • Reinstated on the Navy list in April 1918
  • Again struck from the Navy list 15 February 1919
  • Decommissioned 18 February 1919 and sold the same day
  • Fate unknown.


  • Displacement 123 t.
  • Length 110'
  • Beam 23' 11"
  • Draft 11'
  • Speed 9 kts.
  • Complement 16
  • Armament: Two 1-pounders
  • Propulsion: One single-ended boiler, one 481ihp vertical single-expansion steam engine, one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Knickerbocker 108k In port, prior to her World War I Navy service
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 99504
    Robert Hurst
    Knickerbocker 79k Photographed about the time she was taken over by the Navy.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 101992
    Naval Historical Center

    Commanding Officers
    01Boatswain Melvin J. Lounsberry, USNRF22 September 1917
    02Boatswain (ENS in 1919) Augustus A. Buhman, USNRF1918 - 1919
    Courtesy Joe Radigan

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships: Knickerbocker (SP-479), a steam tug, was built by Neafie & Levy, Philadelphia, Pa., in 1873 and rebuilt in 1904. She was leased by her owner, Cornell Steamboat Co., New York City, 2 May 1917 and enrolled in the Navy Coast Defense Reserve. Purchased 13 September, Knickerbocker commissioned 22 September at New York, Boatswain Melvin J. Lounsberry, USNRF, in command.

    Assigned to the 3d Naval District, Knickerbocker operated on the Hudson River and New York Harbor as a minesweeper, tug, and dispatch ship. Though ordered struck from the Navy List 14 March 1918, the scarcity of tugs resulted in her retention for harbor duty. On 30 December she was assigned to the training and guard ship Amphitrite and served as a dispatch ship. Knickerbocker decommissioned 18 February 1919 and was sold the same day to Francis J. McDonald of Ardmore, Pa.

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