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Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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  • Civil War 1861-1865
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Harcourt I (Tug)


The first Harcourt retained the name she carried at the time of her acquisition.


(Tug: tonnage 75; length. 66'; beam 16'3" ; depth of hold 7'9" ; speed 13 knots)

The first Harcourt, a single-screw steam tug purchased by the Navy at New York from a private owner on 14 June 1864, was first commanded by Acting Ensign J. A. Chadwick.

After a brief period operationg as a dispatch boat at Hampton Roads, Harcourt was ordered on 31 July 1864 to Beaufort, N.C., to serve with the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron as a pilot tug. She remained at Beaufort carrying pilots to and from ships in the harbor until returning to Norfolk for repairs in November 1864.

She later spent a brief period as a patrol boat on the James River in March 1865, and in April assisted in towing the hulk of the former CSS Albemarle, the formidable ram sunk in Albemarle Sound on 27 October 1864 by Lt. William B. Cushing, to the Norfolk Navy Yard, where she arrived on 27 April.

Harcourt performed various tug duties in Hampton Roads until placed in ordinary [a non-commissioned status] on 20 November 1865. Ultimately, she was sold at Norfolk on 16 April 1867.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

1 October 2020

Published: Thu Oct 01 18:35:06 EDT 2020