Southampton I (Supply Ship)
A county in the state of Virginia.
(Supply Ship: tonnage 567; length 156'0"; beam 27'10"; depth of hold 17'0"; draft 13'6"; armament 2 42-pounder carronades)
The first Southampton was laid down at Norfolk, Virginia. as a side wheel steamer in October 1841, but her machinery proved to be unsatisfactory and was removed. Apparently purchased by the United States Government in 1845, the ship was commissioned on 27 May 1845, Lt. Henry W. Morris in command.
The ship departed Norfolk on 27 June 1845 and sailed for the coast of Africa where she served as a store ship for the cruisers of the Africa Squadron. Southampton rescued distress seamen during her deployment, picking up the crew of the British merchantman Almira on 29 November 1846 that had capzied one week earlier. The storeship returned to Hampton Roads on 16 December 1846 and was repaired at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia
Reconimissioned on 9 February 1847, Southampton sailed south on 22 February, rounded Cape Horn, and proceeded up the Pacific coast of the Americas to the California coast. For the next two years, she supplied the ships which protected the newly won territory of the United States on the west coast. She returned to New York on 2 September 1850 and was decommissioned on the 15th.
Recommissioned on the last day of 1850, Southampton departed New York on 2 February 1851 for another tour of duty on the Pacific Station, and returned to New York on 5 August 1852. She was decommissioned five days later to be fitted out for duty in the Far East.
The ship was recommissioned on 4 November 1852 and she sailed on 8 December for the Pacific. The following September, she joined Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry's squadron and was part of his expedition to Japan.
Southampton returned to New York on 31 March 1855, was decommissioned on 6 April. She was sold later that year, and subsequently entered merchant service.
Updated, Robert J. Cressman
13 January 2022