USS Henry Brinker (1861)

Last updated

History
Naval jack of the United States (1865-1867).svg United States
Laid down: date unknown
Launched: 1861
Acquired: 29 October 1861
Commissioned: 15 December 1861
Decommissioned: 29 June 1865
Struck: 1865 (est.)
Fate: sold, 20 July 1865
General characteristics
Displacement: 108 tons
Length: 82'
Beam: 26' 7"
Draught: depth of hold 6' 2"
Propulsion:
Speed: 7 knots
Complement: not known
Armament: one 30-pounder cannon

USS Henry Brinker (1861) was a small steamship acquired by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was placed into service as a gunboat and assigned to the blockade of ports of the Confederate States of America.

Contents

Constructed in Brooklyn, New York, in 1861

Henry Brinker was built in 1861 in Brooklyn, New York, and was purchased at New York City by the Navy 29 October 1861 from her owner, Henry Brinker. Henry Brinker was typical of many of the hundreds of ship owners who sold their small vessels to the Navy in the early days of the war. They were small-time business people who had something the government desperately needed. With Germany in the throes of social and political turmoil Brinker emigrated from Hanover and began selling fruits and vegetables on the streets of New York. In the 1850s he started buying up properties that were needed as rights-of-way by the expanding railway network in the state. These properties were resold to various railroad interests at significant profit. Brinker used the proceeds from the sales to invest in several of the new railroads serving New York and to acquire his ship. His wooden steamer, named after him, was built in Brooklyn in 1861. The vessel was purchased for the Navy at New York City by George D. Morgan on 29 October 1861 for $13,000. (This amount is equal to about $371,000 today) It was hastily converted into a warship at Baltimore by initially adding a 30-pound Parrott gun. For his part in the war effort, in 1855 Mr. Brinker joined the New York State Militia’s Third Regiment, First Brigade, First Division. He was popular with the men of this cavalry regiment and was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant in 1857. He was appointed captain during the year of his marriage to Annie Bruns in 1863. He made colonel in 1871 and ultimately rose to the rank of major general in the New York State National Guard. After the war he became the city of Rochester’s public health officer and in 1886 he went into a partnership in the Miller Brewing Company. This firm was the first lager brewer in Rochester to make ale. To serve the thriving family trade the Miller brewery was also one of the first to establish its own bottling facility. Brinker died in 1901. USS Brinker arrived Hampton Roads, Virginia, 15 December 1861 and was commissioned that day, Acting Master John E. Giddings commanding. No photographs of the Henry Brinker are known to survive. To remedy this, in 2020 a team of naval historials consulted with maritime artist Patrick O’Brien to create an image of USS Henry Brinker, as it would have appeared as part of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron based upon all available historical documentation.

Assigned to the North Atlantic Blockade

After sailing to Baltimore, Maryland, 24 December, Henry Brinker arrived Hatteras Inlet 10 January 1862 to begin her duties as a unit of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Participating in the attack on Roanoke Island

Her first major action was the joint attack on Roanoke Island, the gateway to Albemarle Sound. Henry Brinker engaged Confederate shore batteries 7 February and helped to clear the obstructions next morning which paved the way for the capture of the Southern positions. Thus Norfolk, Virginia, was cut off from its lines of supply and the Union gained an important advantage.

The Confederate squadron under Flag Officer Lynch which had been at Roanoke Island withdrew up the Pasquotank River, with Union ships in hot pursuit. Henry Brinker and the other ships of Commander Rowan's flotilla engaged the squadron and batteries at Elizabeth City, North Carolina, capturing or sinking all the Southern vessels and occupying the town.

Attack and capture of New Bern, North Carolina

Continuing their series of spectacular successes in North Carolina, Commander Rowan and General Ambrose Burnside next captured New Bern, North Carolina. The flotilla, composed of thirteen warships including Henry Brinker and a group of troop transports, got underway 12 March from Hatteras Inlet and arrived New Bern the next day. The Confederate forts were engaged by gunboats, the obstructions surmounted, and troops landed under cover of Navy guns. New Bern and a great quantity of important supplies were soon in Union hands.

Henry Brinker was assigned to Albemarle Sound following the victory at New Bern, patrolling to suppress trade and contain the Confederate guerrilla activity. On this duty she participated in a reconnaissance up the Chowan River 3–23 August 1862.

For the next months Henry Brinker patrolled from her base at Hatteras Inlet, stopping frequently at Plymouth, North Carolina, and New Bern, North Carolina. During this period she performed occasional guard duty at Hatteras Inlet as well.

Expedition up the Bay River

The ship participated 22 June 1863 in another expedition, this time up the Bay River, and in company with USS Shawsheen captured Confederate schooner Henry Clay and another small schooner carrying turpentine.

Final operations of the war

Henry Brinker continued her operations in the Sound until ordered back to Hampton Roads in November 1863 for repairs. Stopping at Hampton Roads, she continued to Baltimore, Maryland, where she repaired until 9 April 1864, when she was assigned as a ship's tender to USS Minnesota at Newport News, Virginia. Remaining inactive at Newport News until June, Henry Brinker was sent up the Pamunkey River to White House, Virginia, 23 June to support the Army in local operations. After briefly rendering fire support, the ship returned to Yorktown, Virginia.

Post-war decommissioning and sale

Henry Brinker returned to Hampton Roads to repair 1 July 1864, and remained there until decommissioned 29 June 1865. She was sold 20 July 1865.

Related Research Articles

USS <i>Minnesota</i> (1855)

USS Minnesota was a wooden steam frigate in the United States Navy. Launched in 1855 and commissioned eighteen months later, the ship served in east Asia for two years before being decommissioned. She was recommissioned at the outbreak of the American Civil War and returned to service as the flagship of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

USS <i>Southfield</i> (1857)

USS Southfield was a double-ended, sidewheel steam gunboat of the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was sunk in action against the Confederate ironclad ram CSS Albemarle during the Battle of Plymouth (1864).

USS <i>Susquehanna</i> (1850) Sidewheel steam frigate

USS Susquehanna, a sidewheel steam frigate, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the Susquehanna River, which rises in Lake Otsego in central New York and flows across Pennsylvania and the northeast corner of Maryland emptying into the Chesapeake Bay.

USS <i>Stars and Stripes</i> (1861)

USS Stars and Stripes (1861) was a 407-ton steamer acquired by the U.S. Navy and put to use by the Union during the American Civil War.

USS <i>Monticello</i> (1859)

The first USS Monticello was a wooden screw-steamer in the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was named for the home of Thomas Jefferson. She was briefly named Star in May 1861.

USS <i>Whitehead</i> American Civil War, 136-ton screw steam gunboat

USSWhitehead, a screw steamer built in 1861 at New Brunswick, New Jersey, served as a gunboat in the United States Navy during the American Civil War.

USS <i>Delaware</i> (1861) steamer acquired by the Union Navy for use during the American Civil War

USS Delaware (1861) was a steamer acquired by the Union Navy for use during the American Civil War. She had a very active naval career as a gunboat for over three years, and after the war served as a revenue cutter for over 37 years. The steamer was sold to the private sector in 1909, and disappeared from shipping registers in 1919.

USS <i>Valley City</i> (1859) 190-ton steamer used by the Union Navy during the American Civil War

USS Valley City (1859) was a 190-ton steamer acquired by the Union Navy for service in the American Civil War.

USS Young America (1855) was a Confederate steamer captured by the Union Navy’s blockade vessels, and subsequently placed in-service in the Union Navy during the American Civil War.

USS Whitehall was a steamer acquired by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was assigned blockade duty; however, her condition was not always considered seaworthy, and she was plagued with condition problems.

USS John L. Lockwood (1854) was a steamer acquired by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was needed by the Navy to be part of the fleet of ships to prevent blockade runners from entering ports in the Confederacy.

USS <i>General Putnam</i> (1857)

USS General Putnam (1857) – also known as the USS William G. Putnam – was acquired by the Union Navy during the first year of the American Civil War and outfitted as a gunboat and assigned to the Union blockade of the Confederate States of America. She also served as a tugboat and as a ship's tender when so required.

USS Underwriter (1852) was a 341-ton sidewheel steamer that was purchased for military use by the Union Navy during the American Civil War.

USS Shawsheen was a steam operated tugboat acquired by the Union Navy during the American Civil War.

USS <i>Morse</i>

USS Morse was a ferryboat acquired by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. Ferryboats were of great value, since, because of their flat bottom and shallow draft, they could navigate streams and shallow waters that other ships could not.

USS <i>Hetzel</i> (1861)

USS Hetzel (1861) was a steamer acquired by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was used by the Navy to patrol navigable waterways of the Confederacy to prevent the South from trading with other countries.

USS Isaac N. Seymour, also referred to variously as Seymour, I. N. Seymour and J. N. Seymour, was a steamer acquired by the Union Navy for use as a gunboat during the American Civil War. She was used by the Navy as a littoral ship in fire support, supply and blockading roles.

USS <i>Bazely</i> (1863)

USS Bazely (1863) was a steamer acquired by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was used by the Union Navy in a tugboat/patrol boat role in support of the Union Navy blockade of Confederate waterways.

USS Shamrock (1863) was a large seaworthy steamer with powerful guns, acquired by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was used by the Union Navy as a gunboat in support of the Union Navy blockade of Confederate waterways.

The third USS Union was a heavy (1,114-ton) steamer with a powerful 12-inch rifled gun purchased by the United States Navy during the American Civil War.

References

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

    See also