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USS Henry Brinker (1861)
Career (US) Union Navy Jack
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: steam engine
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.

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. She arrived Hampton Roads, Virginia, 15 December 1861 and was commissioned that day, Acting Master John E. Giddings commanding.

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.


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

See also

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