USS Porpoise (1836-1854)



USS Porpoise was a 224-ton Dolphin class brigantine (later rerigged as a brig). Built at the Boston Navy Yard, she was commissioned in August 1836 and performed survey and anti-piracy duties off the U.S. coast for the next two years. In August 1838 she began an extended deployment with the United States Exploring Squadron, commanded by Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, who had the sloop of war Vincennes as his flagship. For more than four years Porpoise sailed around the world, examining previously unseen regions off Antarctica and surveying much of the south Pacific. During 1843-1844 the brig participated in anti-slavery patrols off western Africa. This was followed by wartime service off Mexico's eastern shore in 1845-1848.

Later in 1848 Porpoise returned to west African waters for a second tour of duty against the slave trade, this one lasting until December 1851. Her next assignment was as a part of an exploring squadron under the command of Cadwallader Ringgold. She left the United States in June 1853, sailed eastwards around the southern tip of Africa and arrived in China in March 1854. After visiting the Bonins, the Ladrones and the Marianas, the squadron was between Formosa and China on 21 September 1854 when Porpoise parted company. Never heard from again, she was presumably lost with all hands in a South China Sea typhoon a few days later.

This page features all the views we have related to the U.S. Brig Porpoise (1836-1854).




Click photograph for a larger image

Photo #: NH 63630

U.S. Brig Porpoise
(1836-1854)

Lithograph by J. Baillie, New York, and J. Sowle, New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Courtesy of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, April 1936.

Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 98KB; 740 x 545 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 42638

U.S. Brig Porpoise
(1836-1854)

Aquatint by W.J. Bennett, engraved for the "New Mirror", New York, 1844. It is entitled "The U.S. Brig Porpoise in a Squall".

Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 146KB; 740 x 500 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 42639

United States Exploring Expedition
,
Commanded by Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, 1838-1842

Brig Porpoise (center) and schooner Sea Gull (left) separating in heavy seas, probably off Antarctica in March 1839.
Engraving by Jordan & Halpin, after a sketch by Lt. Charles Wilkes, published in "U.S. Exploring Expedition", Volume I, page 138.

Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 143KB; 740 x 555 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 54529

U.S. Brigs Dolphin
(1836-1861) and
Porpoise (1836-1854)

Lines plan published in "The Mariner", quarterly journal of the American Marine Society and Ship Model Society of New York, Volume 8, No. 2, April 1934.

Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 153KB; 1200 x 640 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 54530

U.S. Brigs Dolphin
(1836-1861) and
Porpoise (1836-1854)

Sail plan published in "The Mariner", quarterly journal of the American Marine Society and Ship Model Society of New York, Volume 8, No. 2, April 1934.

Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 117KB; 900 x 650 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 56851-B

"Main yard there! ... Come down"


Lieutenant Alexander G. Gordon, Commanding Officer of the U.S. Brig Porpoise, hails crewmen working aloft, during her anti-slavery cruise off Africa, 1848.
Sketch by Captain's Clerk Charles F. Sands, reproduced from his journal kept on board the Porpoise during this cruise.

Courtesy of Mr. W.F. Sands, 1939.

Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 85KB; 740 x 615 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 42641

U.S. Brig Porpoise
(1836-1854)

Sparks, Captain of the Maintop.
Sketch by Captain's Clerk Charles F. Sands, reproduced from his journal kept on board Porpoise during her anti-slavery cruise off Africa, 1848.

Courtesy of Mr. W.F. Sands, 1939.

Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 159KB; 590 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 42642

U.S. Brig Porpoise
(1836-1854)

Flogging a crewman.
Sketch by Captain's Clerk Charles F. Sands, reproduced from his journal kept on board Porpoise during her anti-slavery cruise off Africa, 1848.

Courtesy of Mr. W.F. Sands, 1939.

Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 128KB; 590 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 63105

"The Steerage"


Sketch by Captain's Clerk Charles F. Sands, reproduced from his journal kept on board the U.S. Brig Porpoise during her anti-slavery cruise off West Africa, 1848.

Courtesy of Mr. W.F. Sands, 1939.

Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 115KB; 585 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 56851-C

"Watering Ship"


Crewmen loading casks of fresh water onto boats, for transport to U.S. Brig Porpoise, during her anti-slavery cruise off West Africa, 1848.
Sketch by Captain's Clerk Charles F. Sands, reproduced from his journal kept on board the Porpoise during this cruise.

Courtesy of Mr. W.F. Sands, 1939.

Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 60KB; 740 x 550 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 42640

"Port O'Praya, St. Jago Island"


Fruit boat coming off to meet the U.S. Brig Porpoise, which was cruising off the African coast on anti-slavery patrol, 1848.
Sketch by Captain's Clerk Charles F. Sands, reproduced from his journal kept on board Porpoise during this cruise.

Courtesy of Mr. W.F. Sands, 1939.

Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 65KB; 740 x 435 pixels

 


For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions





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