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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Stars and Stripes

 

(ScStr.: t. 407; l. 124'3"; b. 34'6"; dph. 16'4"; s. 10.5 k.; cpl. 94; a. 4 8" 55 cwt, 1 20-pdr. P.r.)

 

Stars and Stripes-a screw steamer built at Mystic, Conn., by Charles Mallory as a speculation for C. S. Bushnell-was purchased by the Navy at New York City from C. S. Bushnell on 27 July 1861; was fitted out for naval service at the New York Navy Yard and was commissioned there on 19 September 1861, Lt. Reed Werden in command.

 

Assigned to the Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Stars and Stripes reached Hampton Roads on 26 September and, two days later, was ordered to tow schooners of the Stone Fleet to Hatteras Inlet, N.C. She arrived off Hatteras Inlet on 1 October and operated in that vicinity for the next few months. On 15 December, she captured schooner Charity and sent her to New York for adjudication.

 

On 7 February 1862, the screw gunboat was in the squadron which attacked Roanoke Island and the next day captured that base which controlled communication between Pamlico and Albermale Sounds. She operated in the inland waters of North Carolina and helped capture New Bern, N.C., in mid-March.

 

Stars and Stripes returned to Norfolk on 4 June for repairs and sailed on the evening of the 10th for blockading duty off Wilmington. Shortly before dawn on the 27th, she helped Cambridge destroy blockade-running steamer Modem Greece which that Union blockader had run aground. On 24 August, Stars and Stripes captured British ship Mary Elizabeth attempting to slip into Wilmington with a cargo of salt and fruit.

 

The wear and tear of hard duty forced Stars and Stripes to sail, via Norfolk, to Philadelphia for repairs. She was decommissioned at the Norfolk Navy Yard on 14 September.

 

Quickly restored to a serviceable condition, the ship was recommissioned on 29 September and was assigned to the East Gulf Blockading Squadron. The steamer reached Key West and spent the remainder of the Civil War operating off the gulf coast of Florida. Highlights of her service in 1863 included capturing sloop Florida at St. Marks Bay, Fla., laden with cotton and tar on 3 June; the expedition of boat crews from the steamer and Somerset to Marsh Island, Fla., to destroy salt and salt works on 15 July; and the destruction under heavy fire of blockade-running schooner Caroline Gertrude aground on the bar at the mouth of the Ochlockonee River on 29 December. In 1864, she captured blockade-running steamer Laura off the Ochlockonee on 18 January; she destroyed an extensive Confederate fishery at Marsh Island on 19 and 20 October and captured the troops stationed there as guards; and she joined three other gunboats in an expedition on 3 December which destroyed extensive salt works at Rocky Point in Tampa Bay.

 

After the end of the Civil War, Stars and Stripes sailed north and was decommissioned at Philadelphia on 30 June 1865. She was sold at public auction there on 10 August 1865 to Thomas Watson and Sons of New York—and was redocumented on 18 September 1865 as Metropolis. The ship operated in merchant service until, while steaming from Philadelphia to Para, Brazil, she was wrecked on the outer bar of Currituck Beach, N.C., on the evening of 31 January 1878. Both the ship and her cargo were a total loss.