Today in History:

Nipsic (1863-1873)

USS Nipsic, an 836-ton Kansas class screw steam gunboat, was built at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine. Commissioned in September 1863, she served with the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the remainder of the Civil War. In later 1863 and early 1864, Nipsic participated in operations against Murrells Inlet and Georgetown, South Carolina. In June 1864, she captured a sailing blockade runner.

Following the Civil War, Nipsic operated off South America and in the West Indies area. In about 1869, she was rerigged from two masts to three and otherwise altered to improve sailing qualities. In 1870, she participated in survey operations along the Central American coast. Nipsic was decommissioned in 1873 and subsequently broken up, though officially she was "rebuilt" as a new, and rather larger, Adams class gunboat.

This page features our only view of USS Nipsic (1863-1873).

Photo #: NH 64694

USS Nipsic (1863-1873)

In Limon Bay, Panama, during the Darien Expedition, 1870.

Courtesy of The Rev. William D. Henderson, 1967.

Photo #: NH 45212

Nipsic class gunboat

At the Washington Navy Yard, District of Columbia, circa the late 1860s or early 1870s. The Yard's western shiphouse is in the background.
This ship is either Nipsic (1863-1873) in her configuration of 1869-1873, or Yantic (1864-1929) in her configuration of 1872-1897. Nipsic was rebuilt at the Washington Navy Yard in 1869.

Two other photographs have been published of USS Nipsic, both taken on board her during the Civil War. These are described below:

1: View of Nipsic's 150-pounder Parrott rifled pivot gun, trained out to port with its crew at stations. Photographed from the ship's forecastle, looking aft along the port side.

2: View looking forward along Nipsic's port side from her quarter deck, with a Dahlgren howitzer on a pivot mounting in the foreground. The ship's 150-pounder Parrott rifle is visible in the distance, as is the 30-pounder Parrot rifle on her forecastle.

Both of these photographs were printed in page 107 of "The Old Steam Navy, Volume I: Frigates, sloops and gunboats, 1815-1885", by Donald L. Canney (published by the U.S. Naval Institute, Annapolis, Maryland, 1990). They are credited to the U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.