Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

U.S.S. Algonquin by A. R. Waud

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on January 18, 2013

Algonquin
U.S.S. Algonquin, by A. R. Waud. LoC image.

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Via the Naval Historical Center:

USS Algonquin, a 1173-ton Sassacus class “double-ender” steam gunboat, was built at Brooklyn, New York. Fitted with an engine designed by Edward N. Dickerson and built under his supervision, her completion was delayed by the slow construction of this machinery. Algonquin ran a series of dock trials in the fall of 1865. In February 1866 she took part in a closed-course “race” off New York against USS Winooski. The latter, with the same hull design as Algonquin, had a Navy-designed powerplant, and the contest was intended to demonstrate the value of Dickerson’s machinery concepts. After twenty-nine hours of steaming, the race was called off with Algonquin‘s engine having shown its decisive inferiority on all counts. The ship was subsequently declared “unfit for naval service” and was not commissioned. Algonquin was sold in October 1869 and subsequently had a long career as a civilian vessel.

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2 Responses

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  1. macwhatley said, on January 19, 2013 at 11:20 am

    I love this drawing for the stray haystack boiler on the dock! But that’s a subject for more research.
    I was distracted from that by this note on the Library of Congress photo record

    “Summary: View across a river (Potomac?); steamer at dock in foreground.”

    The Potomac might fit into Waud’s travels with the army, but the drawing looks more like a New York landscape.
    I first thought it might be the Brooklyn Navy Yard- the yard has many piers and drydocks that look north west across Wallabout Bay toward lower Manhattan.
    There is a great photo of a Connecticutt-class Dreadnaught in drydock #4 circa-1910 at

    The landscape across the East River could easily match the Waud drawing from 50 years earlier.

    But my eye was caught by the prominent “59” sign in the left center foreground.

    Pier 59 on the Hudson River near the foot of 18th Street in Manhattan is right across the Hudson from Hoboken, New Jersey. Pier 59was the White Star Line pier where the Titanic was supposed to dock on April 15, 1912. It became part of the Chelsea Piers transatlantic ocean liner terminal that opened in 1910, a complex of docks and piers that ran from Pier 54 on the South to Pier 61 on the North. The Carpathia dropped the Titantic’s lifeboats off at Pier 59 before docking and disembarking the rescued passengers at the Cunard Line’s Pier 54. (BTW Pier 54, now demolished, was also Doc Oc’s laboratory in the 2nd Spiderman movie.)
    When the transatlantic passenger liners moved to longer piers in the ’30s, Chelsea Piers went into a steep decline. Pier 59 ultimately became a repair yard for the city garbage trucks. Piers 59, 60 and 61 have now been rehabbed into a sports complex, with Pier 59 housing a driving range.

    I think this drawing shows the Algonquin docked at Pier 59 on the Hudson, looking towards Hoboken, and so dates to the fall 1865/ Spring 1866 dock trials part of the Algonquin story.


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