Florida, a 1261-ton wooden side-wheel steamship, was
built at New York City in 1850. After more than a decade of commercial
employment, the outbreak of the American Civil War caused her
to enter Naval service. She was purchased by the U.S. Navy in
August 1861, converted to a cruiser and commissioned as USS Florida
in early October of that year. For the next three years, she enforced
the blockade of the Atlantic coast of the Confederacy. Florida
participated in the expeditions that seized Port Royal, South
Carolina, in November 1861 and positions in northern Florida and
Georgia in March 1862. She also took part in the capture or destruction
of several blockade runners.
In March 1865, Florida was used to carry supplies down
the Atlantic coast and into the Gulf of Mexico. After transporting
Confederate prisoners from New Orleans to New York, she served
in the Gulf until late 1865 and in the West Indies in 1866-67.
Decommissioned in April 1867, USS Florida was sold in December
1868. Later operated as the merchant steamer Delphine and
the Haitian warship Republique, she was disposed of in
This page features all the views we have related to USS
Florida (1861-1868) and the civilian steamship Florida.
Photo #: NH 63849
SS Florida (American Steamship, 1850)
Watercolor by Erik Heyl, 1948, painted for use in his book "Early
American Steamers", Volume I.
This steamer served as USS Florida during 1861-1868. After
returning to civilian ownership, she was renamed Delphine.
Courtesy of Erik Heyl.
Photo #: NH 59366
"Merchant Steamers Converted into Gun-boats."
Engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", July-December
It depicts thirteen merchant steamships acquired by the U.S.
Navy between April and August 1861 and subsequently converted
into warships, plus the steamer Nashville (far left),
which became a Confederate cruiser.
U.S. Navy ships, as identified below the image bottom, are (from
left to right: Alabama, Quaker City, Santiago
de Cuba (listed as "St. Jago de Cuba", Mount
Vernon, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Florida,
De Soto, Augusta, James Adger, Monticello,
Bienville and R.R. Cuyler.
Online Image: 182KB; 1200 x 470
Photo #: NH 59316
"Portion of the Naval Expedition, as it appeared on the
night of October 16, sailing to Hampton Roads. -- Sketched by
an Officer on Board." 1861
Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", July-December
1861 volume, pages 712. It depicts Flag Officer DuPont's squadron
en route to capture Port Royal, South Carolina.
Ships, all U.S. Navy, as identified below the image bottom, are
(from left): Wabash, Florida, Augusta, Alabama,
Ottawa, Seneca and Pembina.