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This Month in Naval History


(t. 402; 1. 117'6"; b. 27'6"; cpl. 36; a. none)

Valparaiso-a brig built at Baltimore, Md., in 1836 —was one of a class of vessels popularly called "Baltimore clippers" because of their reputation for speed and outstanding performance. Valparaiso was purchased by the Navy at New Bedford, Mass., on 22 November 1861.

The sailing vessel was originally intended to be sunk on 20 January 1862 at the entrance to Charleston harbor, S.C., as part of the second "Stone Fleet." These stone fleets-the first of which was sunk at Charleston on 20 December 1861 consisted of older vessels, mostly derelicts, filled with large boulders. They were intended to aid Northern efforts to blockade the Southern coastline in the early days of the Civil War when the Union Navy was still relatively small.

However, instead of deploying with her sisters at the bottom of Charleston harbor as originally planned, Valparaiso joined the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron of Flag Officer Samuel F. Du Pont and served as a storeship at Port Royal, S.C. She remained at Port Royal for the duration of the war.

After the collapse of the Confederacy, the old brig was sold at public auction at Bay Point, S.C., on 2 September 1865.


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