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USS Tulip (1862)
Career (US) Naval jack of the United States (1865–1867) US flag 34 stars.svg
Ordered: as Chih Kiang
Laid down: 1862
Launched: 1863
Acquired: 22 June 1863
Commissioned: 1863
Out of service: 11 November 1864
Struck: 1864 (est.)
Homeport: Washington Navy Yard
Fate: lost in explosion
General characteristics
Displacement: 183 tons
Length: 97 ft 3 in (29.64 m)
Beam: 21 ft 9 in (6.63 m)
Draft: 8 ft (2.4 m)
Depth of hold: 9 ft 6 in (2.90 m)
Propulsion: steam engine
Speed: not known
Complement: 57
Armament: two 24-pounder guns
one 20-poundr Parrott rifle

USS Tulip (1862) was a 183-ton steamer acquired by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. Tulip was outfitted with heavy guns and was used by the Navy as a gunboat to patrol navigable waterways of the Confederacy in order to prevent the South from trading with other countries.

Built in New York City in 1862Edit

Tulip—a wooden-hulled, steam lighthouse tender built at New York City in 1862 and 1863 as Chih Kiang by Jowett & Company for the Chinese Navy—was purchased by the Navy on 22 June 1863 at New York.

Civil War operationsEdit

Assigned to the Potomac River FlotillaEdit

Renamed Tulip and refitted for service as a tugboat and gunboat, the screw steamer joined the Potomac River Flotilla in August 1863. That force patrolled the river protecting Union waterborne communications between the nation's capital and the port cities of the divided nation during the Civil War. She initially performed towing duties at the Washington Navy Yard, and then served with the flotilla in operations against Confederate forces in the Rappahannock River. In the latter duties, the ship carried Federal troops and supported naval landing parties which from time to time went ashore for operations against Confederate traffic across the river.

Boiler explodes and ship is lostEdit

USS Tulip Memorial Jul 09

USS Tulip Memorial, St. Inigoes, Maryland, July 2009

As she continued this wartime riverine service into 1864, Tulip developed a defective starboard boiler. Comdr. Foxhall A. Parker, commanding the Potomac Flotilla, ordered the ship home to the Washington Navy Yard so that repairs could be made to correct her defective propulsion plant. Tulip got underway on 11 November with orders restricting her steaming on the port boiler only. Not long after departing from St. Inigoes Creek, St. Mary's County, Maryland, her engineers, against all orders, began supplying steam to the starboard boiler. When abreast Ragged Point, the boiler exploded and tore the fragile ship apart—killing 47 men instantly—of the 57-man complement. Of the 10 survivors, two died later as a result of the injuries received in the violent explosion which claimed the ship.

See alsoEdit


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

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