George C. Read was born 9 January 1788 in Glastonburg, Conn., and entered the Navy in 1804 as a midshipman. He served in Constitution and United States during the War of 1812 and commanded the brig Chippewa during the Algerian War of 1815. He commanded the African Squadron during 1846-47 and the Mediterranean Squadron 1847-49. Rear Admiral Read died 22 August 1862.
(SwStr: t. 650; l. 179'; b. 33'6"; dr. 6'3"; cpl. 84; a. 2 100-pdr. r., 4 24-pdr. sb.)
Commodore Read, formerly the ferryboat Atlantic, was built in 1857 and purchased by the Navy at New York, 19 August 1863; fitted out at New York Navy Yard; and commissioned 8 September 1863, Acting Master E. S. Turner in command.
Assigned to duty with the Potomac Flotilla, she put to sea on 12 September 1863, arriving at Washington Navy Yard 3 days later. The ship was constantly employed in the rivers and creeks of Virginia, on picket and patrol duty; transporting troops and prisoners of war; towing vessels; capturing and destroying enemy boats and other property; and engaging in frequent action with Confederate cavalry, shore batteries, and ships.
Typical of her service was an expedition to Fredericksburg, Va., from 6 to 8 March 1865, when she joined Yankee, Delaware, and Heliotrope to cooperate with the Army in the destruction of Hamilton's Crossing. The expedition, commanded by Colonel Roberts on board Commodore Read, destroyed the railroad depot and bridge, 28 loaded railway cars, an army wagon train, miles of railroad track, and telegraph equipment, as well as capturing 30 prisoners, tobacco, bales of cotton, 28 mules, and mail.
Arriving at the Washington Navy Yard 30 May 1865, Commodore Read was sold there 20 July 1865.