Skip to main content
Related Content
Document Type
  • Ship History
Wars & Conflicts
File Formats
Location of Archival Materials

Narcissus I (Screw Tug)


A daffodil whose blossoms have a short corona and are borne separately; a beautiful youth in Greek legend who, after pining away for love of his own image, was transformed into the flower which bears his name. 

(Screw Tug: displacement 101; length 81'6"; beam 18'9"; draft 6'; speed 14 knots; complement 19; armament 1 20-pounder Parrott rifle, 1 heavy 12-pounder) 

Screw steamer Mary Cook was launched in July 1863 at East Albany, N.Y.; purchased by the Navy from James D. Stevenson at New York City on 23 September 1863; and commissioned at New York Navy Yard on 2 February 1864, Acting Ens. William G. Jones in command. 

The new tug soon got underway south, and touched for fuel at Port Royal, S.C., on 14 February 1864, before pushing on to the Gulf of Mexico. She joined the West Gulf Blockading Squadron at New Orleans, La., late in the month, and patrolled and blockaded the area of Mississippi Sound. On the morning of 24 August, she captured sloop Oregon in Biloxi Bay, Mississippi Sound, and took the prize to New Orleans for adjudication. 

Following the Battle of Mobile Bay, Ala., on 5 August 1864, the tug supported clean-up operations in those waters. Narcissus struck a Confederate torpedo off Mobile in a heavy storm on 7 December and sank within 15 minutes, though all of her crewmen survived. 

Raised in the closing days of 1864, Narcissus completed repairs at Pensacola, Fla., early in 1865, and served in the Gulf of Mexico as a dispatch boat through the end of the American Civil War. She sailed from Pensacola on New Year’s Day 1866, but was wrecked and sank with the loss of all on board near Egmont Key, Fla, on 4 January 1866. 

Rewritten and expanded by Mark L. Evans
20 March 2017

Published: Mon Mar 20 09:37:17 EDT 2017