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(Fr.: t. 886; l. 116'4" (keel); b. 37'10- "; dph. 16'4"; cpl. 317; a. 20 18-pdrs., 20 9-pdrs., 10 6-pdrs.)

In Egyptian mythology, a god who possessed the virtues of both Osiris and Apis; a god of healing.


On 23 September 1779, Bonhomme Richard, commanded by Capt. John Paul Jones, engaged HMS Serapis off Plamborough Head, England. That British frigate and sloop, Countess of Scarborough, were escorting a fleet of merchantmen from the Baltic to England.

During a fierce fight, Bonhomme Richard gained superiority aloft and, after some four hours of fighting, Serapis struck her colors. Bonhomme Richard was badly damaged and two days later, despite an almost feverish effort to save her, she rolled over and sank.

However, before this occurred, the crew of the American ship had been transferred to Serapis which carried them to Holland where they arrived on 3 October. Serapis was later stripped of her armament and sold at L'Orient, France, to a French citizen who in turn sold her to the French Navy in whose service she was destroyed by fire in July 1781.


(ScSlp: dp. 2,400; 1. 250'6"; b. 38'; dr. 16'6"; s. 11.5 k.; a. 1 11", 10 9", 1 60-pdr., 2 20-pdrs.; cl. Algoma)

Serapis, a steam sloop, was authorized in 1864 as one of eight "fast steamers of small class" for which machinery was to be built in idle machine shops in the Boston and Brooklyn Navy Yards. Serapis was named when construction of her machinery was approved on 2 October 1864, but her hull was never ordered, first due to lack of building ways and then to retrenchment following the Civil War. Her engines were completed and used either in one of four Serapi's-class screw sloops ordered in 1867 or in one of the four ordered "repaired" in 1871 and 72.

(IX-213: t. 7,641; l. 450'; b. 59'; s. 9.5 k.; cpl. 71; a. 1 4", 1 3", 8 20mm.)

District of Columbia, a single-screw tanker built in 1921 for the United States Shipping Board by the Baltimore Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co., Baltimore, Md., was allocated to the Navy by the Maritime Commission in February 1945; renamed Serapis and designated IX-213 on 9 March 1945; partially converted at San Francisco; and delivered to the Navy at Pearl Harbor and commissioned on 3 August 1945, Lt. (jg.) Eugene F. Dunne, USNR, in temporary command.

Acquired for temporary wartime use as a mobile floating storage unit for gasoline and diesel oil at Pearl Harbor and in the Trust Territories, Serapis was declared surplus after the cessation of hostilities in the Pacific. She remained at Pearl Harbor until 16 September when she was taken in tow by ATA-198 for her return to California. On 2 October, she arrived at San Francisco where she was decommissioned and returned to the Maritime Commission on 19 October. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 November 1945, and she was sold in May 1947 to the American Iron and Metal Co. for scrapping.

Published: Wed Sep 09 07:39:39 EDT 2015