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Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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DANFS - USS Pilgrim
(Screw Tug: tonnage 170; draft 6'; speed 12 knots)


One who journeys in foreign lands, especially to visit a shrine or holy place. The English colonists who founded the first permanent settlement in New England at Plymouth in 1620 were called pilgrims.


(Canal Boat: tonnage 126)

Pilgrim, a canal boat, was purchased by the Navy at Philadelphia, 18 July 1864, laden with stone, and sent via Baltimore to the James River to be sunk on the bar at Trent's Reach, Va. to protect General Grant's troops from Confederate attack by water.


Pilgrim, an ironed hulled, screw tug built by Pusey, Jones & Co., Wilmington, Del., was launched 1 November 1864; and, after a successful trial run, was delivered to the Navy at the Philadelphia Navy Yard 2 March 1865.

Acquired by the Navy too late for service in the Civil War, Pilgrim has left little record of her service other than logs covering slightly more than a year in 1870 and 1871. She commissioned at Key West, Fla., 4 May 1870 and operated primarily in the Florida Keys until steaming to New Orleans in the spring of 1871. In July she proceeded to Philadelphia where she decommissioned 29 July.

However, the tug may have served at other times in a non-commissioned status. Dropped from the Naval Register 1 January 1889, Pilgrim was sold 25 March 1891.


(Motor Patrol Boat SP-1204: tonnage 98; length 120'; beam 23'; draft 8'6"; speed 6.9 knots; complement 27; armaments 2 1-pounders)

The third Pilgrim, a motorized fishing boat built at Wilmington, Del. In 1893 for the Beaufort Fish Scrap and Oil Co., New Bern, N.C., was formally acquired by the Navy on free lease 30 July 1918, after she had been fitted out for patrol duty, and commissioned 18 July 1917.

Assigned to 5th Naval District, Pilgrim operated in Pamlico Sound and Onslow Bay as far south as the New River until she decommissioned 7 January 1919 and was returned to her owner.

5 February 2002