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Boston IV (Sloop of War)

(SlpW: t. 700; lbp. 127'; b. 33'9"; dr. 16'; s. 11 k.; cpl. 125; a. 20 24-pdrs. sb.)


A city and seaport located in eastern Massachusetts on Massachusetts Bay at the mouths of the Charles and Mystic Rivers. It is the capital of Massachusetts and the seat of government for Suffolk County. One of the oldest cities in the United States, Boston was the site of historical events far too numerous to mention here.


The fourth Boston, a sloop of war constructed by the Boston Navy Yard, was launched on 15 October 1825 and was commissioned early in the following year, probably on 14 January 1826, Master Commandant Beekman V. Hoffman in command.

Between 1826 and 1829, Boston served on the Brazil Station with Macedonian and Cyane. Her primary mission during those years was to protect American shipping in the area while Brazil and Argentina waged a war over possession of the territory now known as Uruguay. The following year, she was transferred to the Mediterranean Sea where some of the Barbary States, notably Algeria, continued to practice their own peculiar brand of piracy under the guise of a holy war against Christian "infidels." That problem, however, effectively ceased to exist after the French invasion of Algeria during the summer of 1830. Though it took nearly two decades for the French to pacify most of Algeria, their control of the ports and coast robbed the Algerine pirates of their bases of operations. Boston, however, remained on station in the Mediterranean until December of 1832 when she returned to Charlestown, Mass., for extensive repairs.

Boston remained in ordinary at Charlestown until recommissioned on 29 June 1836, Master Commandant Bladen Dulany in command. For the next three years, the sloop of war cruised the West Indies protecting American interests in the region. She returned to the United States at Brooklyn, N.Y., where she was decommissioned for repairs on 13 May 1839. Repairs complete, Boston was recommissioned on 19 October 1840, Comdr. John C. Long in command. Not long after recommissioning, the warship departed Brooklyn in company with Constellation. The two ships first sailed south to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where Commodore Lawrence Kearny broke his flag in Constellation as the new commander of the East Indies Squadron. The two ships departed Rio de Janeiro in February 1841, sailing via the Cape of Good Hope and the Indian Ocean, to the Far East.

Boston and her consort reached Asiatic waters at Macao on 22 March 1842. Soon after their arrival at Macao, Commodore Kearny ordered Boston to Manila while he ascended the Canton River as far as Whampoa to test the Chinese reaction. Early in May, the sloop of war rejoined the flagship at Whampoa. There, Kearny negotiated a suitable redress to wrongs suffered by American merchants in China. At the conclusion of those negotiations, the two ships returned downriver to Macao in early June. Sickness, however, forced them to move some 40 miles east to the more healthful climate of Hong Kong. When the force of British arms brought to a successful conclusion the First Opium War, Commodore Kearny sought assurances from the Chinese that Americans would receive equivalent privileges in trading with China. Those he received, though, not through formal treaty. That would come later; and, in any event, he had no authority to negotiate treaties. He did acquire three copies of the Sino-British Treaty of Nanking and sent them back to the United States. Two copies went overland across Asia to Europe, while the third headed for America in Boston. The sloop of war arrived in Boston early in August 1843 and was out of commission there from 11 August to 27 October 1843. She was recommissioned at Boston on the latter day, Comdr. Garrett J. Pendergrast in command.

Soon thereafter, she departed Boston to join the squadron cruising Brazilian waters. Following 27 months in the South Atlantic, Boston headed back to the United States for repairs. She was placed out of commission at the New York Navy Yard on 10 February 1846. The warship completed repairs late that fall and, on 7 November 1846, set sail from New York under the command of Comdr. George Pearson to join the Home Squadron at that time blockading the eastern coast of Mexico. Eight days out of port, Boston encountered a storm in the Bahamas and ran aground on Eleuthera Island. Though the ship was wrecked beyond salvage, her entire crew survived the disaster.

Raymond A. Mann
23 December 2005 

Published: Fri Jun 26 09:13:08 EDT 2015