Naval History and Heritage Command

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Morning Light (8-gun ship)

(Ship: t. 937'; l. 172'; b. 34'3"; dr. 19'; dph. 24'; a. 8 32‑pdrs.)

A former name retained.

Morning Light, an 8‑gun ship, was built in 1853 by William Cramp at Kensington, Pa.; launched 15 August 1853; purchased by the Navy 2 September 1861 at New York; and commissioned 21 November 1861 at New York Navy Yard, Acting Volunteer Lt. Henry T. Moore in command.

After fitting out for combat, Morning Light sailed from New York to cruise the lower east coast in search of Confederate privateers and blockade runners. Morning Light returned to New York, arriving 28 February 1862.

Assigned to Flag Officer David G. Farragut's West Gulf Blockading Squadron, Morning Light departed New York in March with provisions for ships in the Mississippi Sound area. On 15 April Farragut ordered her to remain with bark Kuhn off Ship Island, Miss., as protection for the Army command of Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler which provided occupation troops for New Orleans after Farragut's fleet captured the city 25 April.

By 27 May Morning Light was off Pensacola, Fla., performing blockade duties with sloop Vincennes. On 19 June sloop Florida, temporary tender for Morning Light, intercepted sloop Ventura, loaded with foodstuff for New Orleans, off Grant's Pass, Mobile Bay, Ala.

Returning to Ship Island in August, Morning Light left in November for Velasco, Tex. On 27 and 28 November, she sent several boat expeditions ashore to destroy the Confederate salt works at Cedar Lake.

On 18 January 1863, Morning Light, Acting Master John Dillingham now in command, was ordered to blockade off Sabine Pass. Three days later two Confederate "cotton‑clad" steamers, Uncle Ben and Bell, with artillery and Texas infantry, attacked Morning Light and schooner Velocity in a successful effort to destroy the blockade at Galveston, Tex. Due to the calm weather, neither Union sailing ship could evade the Confederate fire, and both were forced to strike their colors. Morning Light, left a riddled wreck, was taken by the Confederates 21 January and burned 2 days later.

Published: Tue Aug 11 12:42:10 EDT 2015