Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Gemsbok I (bark)

(Bark: t. C22; l. 141'7"; b. 31'; dr. 17'; a. 4 8"; 2 32-pdrs.)

\A large, handsome species of straight-horned African antelope.

The first Gemsbok was purchased 7 September 1861 at Boston, Mass., and commissioned 30 August 1861 at the Boston Navy Yard, Acting Volunteer Lt. Lewis Drake Voorhees in command.

Assigned to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Gemsbok sailed from Boston 6 September 1861 for her duty Station off Wilmington, N.C. On 19 September she captured schooner Harmony off Hatteras and 3 days later took schooner Mary E. Pindar off Federal Point, N.C. Schooner Beverly fell to Gemsbok just outside Frying Pan Shoals 3 October while on 18 October English brig Ariel, loaded with salt, was captured off Wilmington.

In November Gemsbok reported for blockade duty at Beaufort, N.C. On 16 January 1862 her crew, with that of Albatross boarded and burned York, grounded near Bogue Inlet, N.C., white unloading supplies from Dublin. On 25 April Gemsbok in company with other warships bombarded Fort Macon, N.C. In the last engagement she had much of her rigging shot away. During the capture of Fort Macon two English ships, Alliance and Gondar, were taken as prizes; Gemsbok convoyed them to the Chesapeake capes, from where they sailed to New York while she put in at Hampton Roads 10 May.

Subsequently, she was ordered to Boston 27 August 1862 to fill up her complement and then to report for duty with Rear Admiral Samuel F. DuPont at Port Royal, S.C. From that port she sailed to Turtle Harbor, Fla., for the protection of colliers supplying the West Indies squadron. On 10 December Army transport Memnonium Sanford grounded on a reef 1% miles south of Key West, and Gemsbok sent a launch and crew to kedge her off, taking on board many officers and men later debarked at Key West.

In February 1863 Gemsbok was attached to the West Indies Squadron to be employed as a coal and store ship. Returning to New York 19 July 1863, she decommissioned there. On 19 July 1864 she was ordered to Port Royal and, after recommissioning at New York 23 December 1864, reached that port 8 January 1965. She served on blockade duty in waters off Georgia and South Carolina and as a guard and store ship before returning to the New York Navy Yard 17 June 1865. Decommissioned there 11 July 1865, Gemsbok was sold at auction to Smith & Co. at New York.

Published: Fri Jul 10 08:36:24 EDT 2015