USS Spuyten Duyvil

   

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in Union Navy

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Ship Information (from DANFS)1,2:

Name: USS Spuyten Duyvil Type: Screw Steamer (Torpedo Boat) Tonnage: 116
Length: 75’ Beam: 19’6” Draught: Loaded: 8’, Light: 7’
Speed: Max: 8 knots Complement: 22 men Class: Not Listed.
Armament: 1 spar torpedo
Namesake: A district, formerly a village, of New York City, on the Hudson River, just north of Spuyten Duyvil Creek, the narrow channel which separates Manhattan Island from the mainland and connects the Hudson and Harlem rivers.

Images:

NH 75531 USS Spuyten Duyvil3

 

Captain(s):
First Assistant Engineer John L. Lay
Captain Image

Captain 2
Captain Image

Captain 3
Captain Image

 

First Offensive Order of Battle (June 13-18, 1864):

  • Not present at the Siege of Petersburg.

Second Offensive Order of Battle (June 19-30, 1864):

  • Not present at the Siege of Petersburg.

Third Offensive Order of Battle (July 1-31, 1864):

  • Not present at the Siege of Petersburg.

Fourth Offensive Order of Battle (August 1-31, 1864):

  • Not present at the Siege of Petersburg.

Fifth Offensive Order of Battle (September 1-October 13, 1864):

  • Not present at the Siege of Petersburg.

Sixth Offensive Order of Battle (October 14-31, 1864):

  • Not present at the Siege of Petersburg. (Source needed)

Seventh Offensive Order of Battle (November 1-December 31, 1864):

Not present at the Siege of Petersburg (November 1, 1864-December 4, 1865)4,5,6

Arrived at Norfolk, VA (December 5, 1864)7

James River, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (December 15, 1864)8

  • Captain: First Assistant Engineer John L. Lay (December 5 & 15, 1864)9,10
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Note: On December 15, 1864, this ship is noted as a “torpedo boat.”11

Eighth Offensive Order of Battle (January 1-February 28, 1865): James River, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (January 1 & 15 and February 1, 15 & 25, 1865) 12,13,14,15,16

  • Captain: First Assistant Engineer John L. Lay (January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865)17,18,19,20
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Note: On January 1 & 15 and February 1 & 15, 1865, this ship is noted as a “torpedo boat.”21,22,23,24

Ninth Offensive Order of Battle (March 1-April 2, 1865): James River, Va. | North Atlantic Blockading Squadron | Union Navy (March 18 and April 1 & 15, 1865)25,26,27

  • Captain:
    • First Assistant Engineer John L. Lay (March 18, 1865)28
    • Acting Ensign J. Brennon (April 1 & 15, 1865)29,30
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Note: On March 18 and April 1 & 15, 1865, this ship is noted as a “torpedo boat.”31,32,33

 

Siege of Petersburg Battles:

 

Siege of Petersburg Involvement:34

During the Civil War, the Union Navy suffered heavy losses from the explosion of Confederate torpedoes. This experience prompted the Union Navy to design and build vessels capable of using this new weapon. One effort along this line resulted in a screw steam torpedo boat originally called Stromboli but later called Spuyten Duyvil.

Stromboli was designed by the Chief Engineer of the United States Navy, William W. W. Wood, who supervised her construction at New Haven, Conn., by S. M. Pook. The contract for her construction was dated 1 June 1864. Records of her launching and commissioning have not been found. On 19 November 1864, the boat was renamed Spuyten Duyvil. On 25 November 1864, she successfully fired two torpedoes. Late in November 1864, Capt. Charles Stewart Boggs was placed in charge of Spuyten Duyvil, Picket Boat No. 6, and steam tug John T. Jenkins which had been chartered to tow the former vessels to Hampton Roads, Va. Upon arriving at Baltimore on 2 December [1864], Boggs turned the vessels over to Commodore T. A. Dornin who placed them under First Assistant Engineer John L. Lay for the remainder of the trip to Hampton Roads. The vessels arrived at Norfolk on 5 December [1864].

The torpedo boat was ordered up the James River a week later to help assure Union control of that vital waterway during Grant’s drive on Richmond. She arrived at Aiken’s Landing on the 15th [December 1864], and she operated on the upper James slightly below the Confederate obstructions through most of the remaining months of the campaign. A highlight of her service came on the night of 23 and 24 January 1865 when the Confederacy’s James River Squadron launched its downstream assault on the Union squadron. During the action, Spuyten Duyvil supported Onondaga, the only monitor then on the river.

After Lee evacuated Richmond, Spuyten Duyvil used her torpedoes to help clear the obstructions from the river. Her work made it possible for President Lincoln to steam up stream in Malvern and, after Admiral Porter’s flagship ran aground, to be rowed in a launch safely to the former Confederate capital.

Following the end of the war, Spuyten Duyvil continued to clear obstructions from the James. She then returned to the New York Navy Yard where she was placed in ordinary in 1866. In the years that followed, she was used for developmental work and was modified with many experimental improvements. The ship disappeared from the Navy list in 1880.

 

Bibliography:

    Siege of Petersburg Documents Which Mention This Unit:

    Sources:

    1. “DANFS.” Naval History and Heritage Command, www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs.html.
    2. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 213
    3. “USS Spuyten Duyvil.” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/our-collections/photography/numerical-list-of-images/nhhc-series/nh-series/NH-75000/NH-75531.html. Title: USS Spuyten Duyvil Description: (1864-1880) Heavily retouched photograph, circa 1864, mounted on a mat containing four sketches and the following inscriptions: (at bottom) U.S. Iron-clad Torpedo Boat ‘Spuyten Duyvil’ Designed by Chf. Engr. Wm. W.W. Wood U.S.N. Genl. Inspector &c. for the Navy; and (at top) Constructed for the Navy Department 1864.. The sketches include (at top) two kinds of explosive shells for the ship’s spar torpedoes; and (at bottom) the explosions of torpedo warheads during tests in May 1864. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation. Gift of Mrs. Wilmina deB. McGuire, 11 September 1944. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph. Catalog #: NH 75531
    4. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 3940
    5. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, p. 61
    6. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 140142
    7. “Spuyten Duyvil.” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/s/spuyten-duyvil.html.
    8. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 192194
    9. “Spuyten Duyvil.” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/s/spuyten-duyvil.html.
    10. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 192194
    11. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 192194
    12. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 398400
    13. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 597599
    14. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
    15. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 2021
    16. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 5455
    17. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 398400
    18. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 597599
    19. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
    20. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 2021
    21. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 398400
    22. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 597599
    23. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XI, pp. 722724
    24. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 2021
    25. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
    26. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
    27. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
    28. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
    29. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
    30. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
    31. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 7173
    32. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 9394
    33. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Volume XII, pp. 116118
    34. “Spuyten Duyvil.” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/s/spuyten-duyvil.html.

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