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Calypso I (Gunboat)


In Greek mythology, Calypso, daughter of Atlas, detained the ship-wrecked Ulysses on the isle of Ogygia.


(Gunboat. tonnage 630 (gross register); length 175'2"; beam 26'6"; draft 12'0"; speed 12.0 knots; complement 70; armament 2 30-pounder rifles, 4 24-pounder rifles)

The first Calypso, an armed streamer, was captured on 11 June 1863 off Wilmington, N.C., by Florida; purchased from the prize court on 12 October 1863; and commissioned on 24 September 1863, Acting Master Frederick D. Stuart in command.

Calypso joined the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron off Wilmington, N.C., and on 24 October 1863, took her first prize off Frying Pan Shoals, the schooner Herald. Returning to Norfolk, Va., in November for repairs, the gunboat was back on duty off Wilmington on 31 March 1864.

In June 1864 she joined with the sidewheel gunboat Nansemond in sailing to New River Inlet to support the Army in an expedition to cut the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad. The troops were successfully landed from Nansemond in boats from both ships on 21 June, and through the next days, Calypso’s boats patrolled up the river and carried supplies to the Army. When Confederate opposition prevented the linkup of the landing party with a force moving overland, Calypso swiftly evacuated the soldiers.

Through the summer of 1864, Calypso patrolled the track of ships attempting to run the blockade from Nassau, and on 28 October 1864, after a long chase and last-minute aid from the sidewheel gunboats Eolus and Fort Jackson, took the steamer Lady Sterling. Sent north with her prize on 6 November, Calypso received repairs at New York, then returned late in the spring of 1865 to cruise from Chesapeake Bay to the coast of Florida.

Decommissioned at the Washington [D.C.] Navy Yard on 15 August 1865, Calypso was sold at New York on 30 November 1865.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

31 August 2022

Published: Wed Aug 31 10:17:08 EDT 2022