(Gbt: t. 485; l. 157'; b. 57'; dr. 9'4" ; sp. 12 k.; cpl. 58; a. 15", 13", 4 3-pdr. Hotchkiss gun)
William Eustis Russell was elected governor of Massachusetts three times, in 1890, 1891, and 1892, although he was a Democrat in what was then a normally Republican state; he died in 1896.
Governor Russell, a wooden bridge ferry converted to auxiliary gunboat, was built by William McKie, East Boston, and launched in 1898; purchased 11 May. she commissioned 24 June 1898, Lt. Charles H. Grant commanding.
Sailing to New York 16 July, Governor Russell departed for Port Royal, S.C., 23 July; however she ran into a heavy storm 26-27 July and had to put into port at Beaufort, N.C. From there she went to Moorehead City, N.C., and then sailed for Port Royal, arriving 7 August. After extensive repairs in drydock, Governor Russell sailed for New York 7 September with a cargo of ammunition; however, a second severe storm forced her to put in at Hampton Roads. Damaged by weather for which she was not built, Governor Russell was declared unfit for service and decommissioned 28 September 1898. Her name was struck from the Navy List 3 July 1899.