(Screw Steamer: tonnage 96; length 84’; beam 18’2”; depth of hold 7’3”; armament 1 20-pounder Parrott rifle)
The wooden screw steamer Ai Fitch was purchased by the Navy on 12 December 1863 from Laurence Fitch, New York; fitted out for service as a tug; and commissioned on 8 February 1864, Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Pennington in command.
Ordered to New Orleans to join the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, she departed New York soon after commissioning and proceeded to Hampton Roads where she was detained to support General McClellan's army during the Peninsular Campaign. On 5 May she got underway to tow the monitor Tecumseh up the James River to support Army forces converging on Petersburg. Remaining on the river well into June, she performed towing duties, tender services, and carried ammunition and powder up from City Point. On the 24th she returned to Hampton Roads and prepared to resume her cruise to the Gulf of Mexico.
Rose departed Hampton Roads on 26 July and arrived in Mississippi Sound on 5 August. After receiving a second gun, a heavy 12-pounder, she proceeded to Mobile Bay where she remained into September. She then shifted back to Mississippi Sound where she added patrol duty to her other duties. In December she captured a small vessel laden with turpentine.
In late February 1865, Rose steamed to New Orleans; repaired; and in mid-April returned to Mobile to assist in clearing channels in the bay. She remained in the Mobile area performing tug service into the fall, then shifted to Pensacola where, being retained for service after the Civil War, she was assigned to the navy yard.
Rose was struck from the Navy list on 3 March 1883 and sold on 20 September 1883.
21 October 2005