A model of the sloop-of-war USS Kearsarge

Built by Fred Katsch (date unknown)
Wood, string, copper and paint
Collection of the Trustees of the Sailors’ Snug Harbor in the City of New York

Built at the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine and launched in 1851, the USS Kearsarge hunted Confederate raiders in European waters during the American Civil War.  She is best known for her defeat of the Confederate commerce raider CSS Alabama at the Battle of Cherbourg on June 19, 1864.  The Kearsarge was re-commissioned on November 2, 1888 and spent her remaining years protecting American interests in the West Indies, off Venezuela, and along the Central Americas, until she wrecked on a reef off of Roncador Cay on February 2, 1894.

A sloop of war is a small cruising ship. Originally built for the Royal Navy, sloop-rigged warships were snow, ketch, and brigantine rigged and carried up to 12 six-pounder cannons.  The Kearsarge represents a sloop of war built after 1760, when 16-gun three-masted sloops were introduced.

Photographs by Michael Falco