USS Essex (1874)

For other ships with the same name, see USS Essex.

USS Essex circa 1895
Name: USS Essex
Ordered: 10 February 1873
Commissioned: 3 October 1876
Struck: 27 October 1930
Fate: Sold and burned for its metal
Status: Remains exist along the shore of Minnesota Point.
General characteristics
Type: Steamer
Displacement: 1,375 long tons (1,397 t)
Length: 185 ft (56 m)
Beam: 35 ft (11 m)
Draft: 14 ft 3 in (4.34 m)
Propulsion: Compound Steam engine, replaced in 1910 with a triple-expansion steam engine
Speed: 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
  • (1876)• 1 × 11 in (280 mm) gun
  • 4 × 9 in (230 mm) guns
  • 1 × 60-pounder gun
Notes: Later given the classification number IX-10
USS Essex Shipwreck Site
Built 1876
Architect Donald McKay
NRHP Reference # 94000342
Added to NRHP 14 April 1994

USS Essex, the third ship of that name, a wooden screw steamer, was built on contract for the United States by Donald McKay at East Boston, Massachusetts; commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard on 3 October 1876, Commander Winfield Scott Schley commanding; and reported to the North Atlantic Squadron.

Service history

During the following year Essex cruised to Liberia and along the west coast of Africa and in 1878-79 joined the South Atlantic Squadron. While at Monrovia, Liberia, on 31 October 1877, Ordinary Seaman John Millmore and First Class Fireman Henry Lakin Simpson rescued a shipmate from drowning, for which they were later awarded the Medal of Honor.[1] Essex sailed on the Pacific Station from November 1881 to December 1882 and thence on the Asiatic Station for two years during which she took on board Captain S. H. Morrison and crew members of the shipwrecked Ranier. Following repairs' she returned to the Asiatic Station under command of Commander T.F. Jewell in June 1886 and in October anchored at Ponape, Caroline Islands, to afford protection to American missionaries during a native uprising. She returned to New York via the Suez Canal and was placed out of commission in May 1889.

Regarded as one of the finest ships of the fleet, Essex was designated next as a training ship. A three-month cruise with cadets at the Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1893 was followed by two lengthy tours to train naval apprentices (January 1894-April 1898, and September 1898 to December 1903.)

Essex was lent to the Ohio Naval Militia (1904–16) and served in the Ninth Naval District from 1917 to 1926. During that period she underwent a major refit, receiving new boilers and engine. The number of masts was reduced to two, and were not used as a means of propulsion. The Naval Reserve of the State of Minnesota and the Minnesota Naval Militia used her as training and receiving ship from 1921 until 27 October 1930 when she was stricken from the Navy List. She was sold for scrap on 23 December 1930 and subsequently burned near Duluth: the National Register of Historic Places lists her remains.


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

  1. "Medal of Honor Recipients - Interim Awards, 1871–1898". Medal of Honor Citations. United States Army Center of Military History. 5 August 2010. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
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