From: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships


Britannia is the Latin name for the island of Great Britain.

(SwStr: T. 495; l. 189'; b. 26'; dph. 11'; s. 12.5 k.; a. 1 30-pdr. R., 2 12-pdr. R., 2 24-pdr. How.)

Britannia a side-wheel steamer, was built in 1862 at Leith, Scotland; captured as a blockade runner by Santiago de Cuba in the Bahama Islands 25 June 1863; sent to Boston for adjudication; purchased by the Navy Department in September 1863; and commissioned 16 September 1863, Acting Master H. H. Savage in command.

After repairs at Boston Navy Yard, she was ordered to join the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron off Wilmington, N. C. Enroute she developed boiler trouble and had to be towed to Beaufort, S. C., for temporary repairs. She then proceeded to Hampton Roads, Va., for permanent repairs. Britannia left Hampton Roads at the end of November and joined the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Between 24 and 26 March 1864 she was a unit of an expedition to Swansboro and Bear Creek, N. C., during which one Confederate schooner was destroyed.

On 8 April 1864 she rescued the prize sloop Swallow which was in distress. During 6-7 May 1864 she engaged CSS Raleigh off New Inlet, N. C. and in August she was slightly damaged when shrapnel exploded close aboard during an engagement with CSS Tallahassee who escaped, after a running fight, into Wilmington, N. C. Britannia next operated in the attacks on Fort Fisher, N. C. (24-25 December 1864 and 13-15 January 1865). Her gunfire forced the surrender of a battery and the capture of about 70 prisoners.

In January 1865 she was ordered to join the East Gulf Blockading Squadron, where she remained until the close of the war. Between 23 February and 27 March 1865 she took part in joint operations in the vicinity of St. Marks, Fla., which resulted in the closing of St. Marks River to Confederate forces and considerable damage to the saltworks in the vicinity.

Britannia was sold in Philadelphia 10 August 1865.