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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Larkspur

 

Any of a genus of plants of the crowfoot family cultivated for their multicolored flowers with spurred calyxes.

 

I

 

(ScStr: t. 121; l. 90'9"; b. 19'2"; dph. 7'3"; s. 9 k.; cpl. 26; a. 1 12-pdr. how., 1 12-pdr. r.)

 

The first Larkspur was built in 1863 at Wilmington, Del. as Pontiac; purchased by the Navy at Wilmington from W. A. James & Co. 6 October 1863; delivered on the 12th; and commissioned at Philadelphia Navy Yard 16 October 1863, acting Ens. Francis B. Davis in command.

 

The new tug was assigned to the South Atlantic Blocking Squadron and had arrived Port Royal, S.C., by I November. She served there during most of the remainder of the Civil War towing and repairing the ships of the blockade, steaming along the Confederate coast gathering information about activity ashore, carrying messages between ships of the squadron, and providing countless other services which helped the Union Navy to strangle the South.

 

On 8 December she was ordered to St. Simonís Sound, Ga., to seek word of General Shermanís army which was expected to emerge from the Georgia hinterland ending his famous march to the sea. Four days later she was sent to Savannah to assist the Union Army after it reached the sea.

 

During the remainder of the war the tug operated at Charleston and Port Royal. She departed the latter port 27 June 1865 for Philadelphia, where she decommissioned 8 July. Larkspur was sold at public auction Philadelphia 10 August and redocumented as Larkspur 5 September 1865. She was renamed M. Vandercook 13 September 1883 and again renamed Somerville 27 April 1898. The tug was finally abandoned in 1905.