Today in History:

Penguin (1861-1865)

USS Penguin, a 389-ton (burden) screw steam gunboat, was built at Mystic, Connecticut, in 1859 as a commercial steamship. She was purchased by the Navy in May 1861, during the early stages of the Civil War expansion of Federal forces. Placed in commission in June, she intially operated with the Potomac Flotilla and off North Carolina, where in early August she chased a blockade runner until it ran aground and was wrecked.

In October 1861, Penguin was sent south to participate in the combined Army-Navy operation that captured Port Royal, South Carolina. She captured a sailing blockade runner in late November and took part in the seizure of positions along the northern Florida and Georgia coast during March-May 1862.

In 1863 Penguin was reassigned to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, where she was active along the Texas coast. While there, she was involved in the destruction of the blockade running steamers Matagorda in July 1864 and Granite City in January 1865. USS Penguin was sold in August 1865, some months after the end of the Civil War. Soon returning to commercial service as the steamer Florida, she was converted to a sailing schooner in 1884.

This page features all the views we have related to USS Penguin (1861-1865).

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

Photo #: NH 59240

Civil War line engravings from "Frank Leslie's Illustrated", 1861

The upper engraving depicts the U.S. Potomac Flotilla in the Potomac between Freestone Point, Va., and Indian Head, Md., to prevent the passage of Confederates from Virginia to Maryland. Features seen include (from left to right): Tugboat Murray; USS Jacob Bell; Indian Head, Maryland; USS Yankee; USS Penguin; USS Satellite; USS Seminole; Confederate battery at Freestone Point; and the mouth of the Occoquan River.
The lower engraving depicts a scene in Falls Village, Virginia, which was occupied by Federal troops. It shows Taylor's Tavern and the northern extremity of the town.

Photo #: NH 59319

"Army & Navy Reconnoissance. Tuesday Morning Nov. 5" 1861

Line engraving published in "The Soldier in Our Civil War", Volume I, page 189, depicting Federal ships investigating Port Royal Sound, South Carolina, prior to their successful attack on Confederate fortifications there.
Ships and other items identified across the bottom of the print include (from left to right): USS Mercury, with Generals Sherman and Stevens & staff on board; USS Penguin, with Hilton Head Battery beyond; USS Pawnee; Broad River (in distance); CSS Huntress (distance); USS Seneca; steamer Screamer (distance); USS Ottawa with Capt. Rogers & General Wright on board; steamer Everglades (distance, beyond Ottawa; USS Pembina; CSS Lady Davis (distance); Beaufort River (distance); Bay Point Battery (distance); USS Curlew; Confederate camp (distance); USS Isaac Smith.

Photo #: NH 59256

Bombardment and Capture of Port Royal, South Carolina, 7 November 1861

Engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", July-December 1861 volume, pages 760-761.
It depicts Federal warships, under Flag Officer Samuel F. DuPont, USN, bombarding Fort Beauregard (at right) and Fort Walker (at left). The Confederate squadron commanded by Commodore Josiah Tattnall is in the left center distance.
Subjects identified below the image bottom are (from left): tug Mercury, Fort Walker, USS Wabash (DuPont's flagship), Screamer (?), USS Susquehanna, CSS Huntsville, Commo. Tattnall, USS Bienville, USS Pembina, USS Seneca, USS Ottawa, USS Unadilla, USS Pawnee, USS Mohican, USS Isaac Smith, USS Curlew, USS Vandalia, USS Penguin, USS Pocahontas, USS Seminole, Fort Beauregard, USS R.B. Forbes and "Rebel Camp".

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."