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Aster

 

A large genus of thistles.

 

(ScTug: t. 285; b. 23'; dph. 10'; dr. 10'; cpl. 30; a. 1 30-pdr. P.r., 2 heavy 12-pdr. sb.)

 

On 25 July 1864 at Philadelphia, the Union Navy purchased the wooden steamer Alice from Bishop, Son, and Company. Renamed Aster, this screw tug was placed in commission on 12 August 1864, Acting Master Samuel Hall in command.

 

On 25 August 1864, Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles ordered Aster to proceed to waters off Wilmington, N.C., for duty in the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Since the ship's logs do not seem to have survived, the details of her voyage south are unknown. She apparently joined the squadron sometime during the first fortnight of September, but, on the 16th of that month, was at Norfolk undergoing repairs.

 

She arrived off New Inlet on 7 October and began her blockading duties. About an hour before midnight, she sighted a vessel steaming toward New Inlet and gave chase. Just as she was about to cut off the blockade runner—which later proved to be the Halifax steamer AnnieAster grounded on Carolina Shoals.

 

Hall and his crew made every effort to refloat Aster, but failed. He then transferred his crew to Berberry and then, aided by his officers, put the torch to the ship which then blew up.