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Iron Age


(ScStr: t. 424; l. 144'; b. 25'; dph. 12'6"; a. 3 30-pdr. D.r., 6 8" D.)


Iron Age was built at Kennebunk, Maine, in 1862; then purchased by the Navy at Boston 28 April 1863 and commissioned 25 June 1863, Lt. Comdr. E. E. Stone in command. That day she sailed from Boston in search of Confederate commerce raider, Tacony, which was taking a heavy toll of New England shipping. After learning that the enemy cruiser had been burned and her crew captured, Iron Age returned to Boston 7 July. She spent the rest of the summer in New England waters protecting Union commerce, fisheries, and coasts.


Iron Age was transferred to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron 3 September and sailed for Wilmington, N.C., 2 days later, arriving off New Inlet 11 September. On her fifth day of blockade duty she discovered a runner attempting to escape, drove her back, and forced her to run ashore just abreast of Fort Fisher. On 21 October she assisted Nansemond and Niphon in destroying blockade runner Venus. Christmas Eve that year was the occasion for a raid on salt works at Bear Inlet. A large stockpile of salt desperately needed by the South was destroyed. This blow was doubly effective since the raiders also prevented the manufacture of a new supply by smashing the irreplaceable equipment in the plants.


Iron Age and Daylight were ordered to Lockwood's Folly Inlet, near Wilmington, to try to float grounded blockade runner Bendigo 9 January 1864. The following morning at 0900 Iron Age ran hard aground. After untiring efforts to lighten her failed to refloat the ship, she was put to the torch at 0400 11 January 1864 and was destroyed 1 hour and 40 minutes later when her magazine exploded.