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USS Cambridge (1860)

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Name  USS Cambridge
Acquired  30 July 1861
Length  61 m
Laid down  date unknown
Commissioned  29 August 1861
USS Cambridge (1860) httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Launched  1860 at Medford, Massachusetts
Decommissioned  circa June 1865 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

USS Cambridge (1861) was a heavy (868 long tons (882 t)) steamship purchased by the Union Navy at the start of the American Civil War.


She was outfitted as a gunboat, with two powerful 8 in (200 mm) rifled guns, and assigned to the blockade of ports and waterways of the Confederate States of America.

Built in Massachusetts in 1861

Cambridge — an armed steamer — was built in 1860 by Paul Curtis, Medford, Massachusetts; purchased at Boston, Massachusetts on 30 July 1861; and commissioned on 29 August 1861, Commander W. A. Parker in command.

Assigned to the North Atlantic blockade

Assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron from 9 September 1861-5 October 1864, and to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron from 9 February 1865 until the close of the war, Cambridge helped tighten the stranglehold on the Confederacy as she cruised off the coasts of Virginia and North Carolina and South Carolina.

Determined vigilance and alert action won her 11 prizes, some of them taken under the guns of Confederate shore batteries. In a brief five days, she and two other ships in company took four blockade runners, and chased a fifth ashore.

Shore party captured

In one of her most daring exploits, Cambridge's guns drove a schooner ashore near Masonboro Inlet, North Carolina on 17 November 1862. Boat parties from Cambridge rowed through boiling surf, which swamped one of the boats, to burn the schooner, only to be made prisoner themselves by a party of armed Confederate men who sprang out of the brush.


Cambridge was decommissioned at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and sold there on 20 June 1865.

Historical Relevance

Cambridge is notable for having picked up escaped slave William B. Gould I off Cape Fear, North Carolina.


USS Cambridge (1860) Wikipedia