Today in History:

Spirea (1865-1866)

Spirea, a 406-ton (burden) screw steamship, was built in 1864 at Fairhaven, Connecticut. She was purchased by the Navy in late December 1864 and commissioned as USS Spirea in January 1865. Assigned to the East Gulf Blockading Squadron, she operated along the coast and in the rivers of northwestern Florida. In February 1865 she took part in an expedition to attack Tallahassee, during which she ran aground but was refloated. A few months after the Civil War's end Spirea was sent to New York, where she decommissioned in August 1865 and was sold at auction in October 1866. Renamed Sappho for commercial service, she was abandoned off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, on 14 December 1867.

This page provides information on an artwork of USS Spirea that should be available from another institution.

The Naval Historical Center's collections include no pictures of USS Spirea. However, the Mariners Museum, at Newport News, Virginia, holds the following artwork depicting her:

  • Mariners Museum image # LP-3536: Lithograph entitled "United States Twin Screw Gun Boat Spirea ...", published by Endicott & Co., 59 Beekman St., N.Y., circa 1864. This print provides a starboard broadside view of Spirea underway at sea, with sails set and smoke streaming from her smokestack. Inscriptions below the image provide information on her construction and data on her hull size and steam engines.
    Note: The ship image in this lithograph is identical to that of USS Hibiscus (1864-1866) shown in Naval Historical Center Photo # NH 61571 (which does not include an inscription below the ship image). Hibicus was of identical design to Spirea and had the same builder.
    At the time of the Civil War Endicott & Co. published many lithographs that used the same image to represent different U.S. Navy warships of the same class, with differing inscriptions at the bottom of the prints to suit the individual ship represented.

    For additional information on the lithograph described above, the availability of reproductions and usage rights, contact Mariners Museum, whose WEB Site can be readily found through using Internet search engines.
  • If you want higher resolution reproductions than the Online Library's digital images, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."