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USS Wateree (1863)
USS Wateree (1863)
Beached at Arica, 430 yards beyond the usual high water mark, after she was deposited there by a tsunami on 13 August 1868.
Career Naval jack of the United States (1865–1867) US flag 34 stars.svg
Name: USS Wateree
Builder: Reaney, Son & Archbold, Chester, Pennsylvania
Launched: 12 August 1863
Commissioned: 20 January 1864
Fate: Sold, 21 November 1868
General characteristics
Type: Gunboat
Displacement: 974 tons
Length: 205 ft (62 m)
Beam: 35 ft (11 m)
Depth of hold: 11 ft 6 in (3.51 m)
Speed: 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Armament: • 2 × 100-pounder Parrott rifles
• 4 × 9 in (230 mm) Dahlgren smoothbore guns
• 4 × 24-pounder howitzer
• 2 × 13-pounder guns
• 2 × 12-pounder rifles

The first USS Wateree was a sidewheel gunboat in the United States Navy during the American Civil War.

Wateree was built at Chester, Pennsylvania, by Reaney, Son & Archbold; launched on 12 August 1863; and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 20 January 1864, Comdr. F. E. Murray in command.

Service historyEdit

Assigned to the Pacific Squadron, Wateree departed Philadelphia soon after commissioning. During the next 10 months, she made the arduous voyage around Cape Horn to the Pacific Ocean. In addition to struggling against the heavy weather for which the Cape region is noted, the warship experienced difficulty acquiring fuel. That problem necessitated her making numerous stops along the way to acquire wood for her boilers; and, as a result, Wateree did not reach San Francisco, until mid-November 1864.

Upon her arrival there, the ship entered the Mare Island Navy Yard for repairs to damage she suffered during her arduous voyage and for a hull scraping. She did not leave San Francisco until late February 1865 when she put to sea to patrol the coast of Central America. During 1866, American naval forces in the Pacific were divided into a North Pacific Squadron and a South Pacific Squadron. Wateree was assigned to the latter unit, whose patrol area extended south from Panama to Cape Horn and west to Australia. For the remaining two years of her brief naval career, Wateree patrolled the coasts of Central and South America, protecting American interests in that region.

On 13 August 1868, while she was in port at Arica (then part of Peru) a devastating earthquake struck the city subjecting Wateree and the other ships in the harbor to several massive tsunamis. The last tsunami broke the side-wheeler gunboat's anchor chains and drove her ashore almost 500 yards inland from the normal high-water mark. Too badly damaged for economical repair, the ship was sold to Mr. William Parker on 21 November 1868. Her hulk was used as an emergency hospital, an inn, a hospital again, and finally a warehouse. She was eventually completely destroyed by another tsunami on 9 May 1877.


File:Chile 2006 022.jpg

Today all that remains are parts of her boilers, mounted on the shore north of the present town of Arica, and maintained as a National Monument of Chile.

See alsoEdit


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