RARE DEADLIGHT RELIC FROM 1st USS KEARSARGE’S
AFTER 1864 BATTLE REPAIRS
REMOVED SHORTLY AFTER HER VICTORY OVER THE
CONFEDERATE STATES SHIP (CSS) ALABAMA
FROM A COLLECTION OF RELICS FROM THE FIRST USS KEARSARGE’S
DIMENSIONS: 11″ Dia. x 1 1/4″ T
WEIGHT 2 lbs. 13 oz.
on June 14, 1864, between the Sloop of War, USS Kearsarge and the CSS Alabama off the coast of Cherbourg, France with
Kearsarge becoming victorious after an hour long battle is well known. After transiting back to the United States by way of
the West Indies, Kearsarge arrived in Boston in November, 1864 and was decommissioned on the 26th to undergo repairs.
This thick, heavy deadlight was removed from the ship at that time. An old hand written card under the glass reads, “This glass is 1 1/2 inches thick and
weighs 15 ounces”.
This great old
Navy relic is from an archive of items held in custody by the KEARSARGE ASSOCIATION OF NAVAL VETERANS (A.N.V.) until recently.
The deadlight has
been mounted on an eleven inch wide overall blond oak plaque with a circular two inch wide bezel that is painted dark
brown. Hand painted in yellow on the bezel are these inscriptions above and below the deadlight are:
of a “Dead-Light” from
USS Kearsarge, Nov. 1864
metal plate engraved KEARSARGE ASSOCIATION beneath deadlight
to Kearsarge Association of Naval Veterans
By Capt. Jass Coullahan, Post 26, G.A.R.
January 24, 1889.
Close-up of the deadlight
fragment and the written card beneath
CONDITION: There is some aging of the wood and darkening
of the finish and colors of the paint. The 3″ x 3 1/2″ deadlight is a shattered remnant and stands proud from
the mount by 7/8 inch. The blond oak center contrasts nicely with the brown bezel and yellow paint. The back of th display
has a worn and dirty dust cardboard cover. There are five small eye-bolts along the bottom rim. An old wire is strung
between two eye-bolts on the back for hanging.
unique and rare US Navy relic will make a great gift to someone interested in Naval History
KEARSARGE HISTORY: USS KEARSARGE,
a 1550-ton Mohican class steam sloop of war, was built at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine, under the 1861
Civil War emergency shipbuilding program. She was commissioned in January 1862 and almost immediately deployed to European
waters, where she spent nearly three years searching for Confederate raiders. In June 1864, while under the command of Captain John
Winslow, Kearsarge found CSS Alabama at Cherbourg, France, where she had gone for repairs after a devastating
cruise at the expense of the United States’ merchant marine. On 19 June, the two ships, nearly equals in size and power,
fought a battle off Cherbourg that became one of the Civil War’s most memorable naval actions. In about an hour, Kearsarge‘s
superior gunnery completely defeated her opponent, which soon sank.
After searching off Europe for the Confederate
cruiser Florida, Kearsarge went to the Caribbean, then to Boston, where she received repairs before returning to Europe
in April 1865 to try to intercept the ironclad CSS Stonewall. With the end of the Civil War, she remained in the area
until mid-1866, when she was placed out of commission.
Painting of the battle
with Kearsarge in the foreground. Artist unknown
The Kearsarge returned to active service
in January 1868 and was sent to the the Pacific coast of South America. During 1869, she cruised across the ocean as far as
Australia, then returned to Peru. The next year, Kearsarge sailed north to Hawaii, then moved on to Mare Island, California,
where she decommissioned in October 1870. In 1873-78, she was back in commission, cruising in Asiatic waters until September
1877, then transiting the Suez Canal to return to the U.S. East coast, where she decommissioned in early 1878.
Two more tours of duty awaited Kearsarge
during the next decade and a half. She operated in the North Atlantic and Caribbean areas in 1879-83, then went back to Europe
and Africa until late 1886. From 1888 on-wards, she was stationed in the West Indies and Central American areas. While en
route from Haiti to Nicaragua on 2 February, she was wrecked on Roncador Reef. An effort to salvage her proved fruitless,
and USS Kearsarge was stricken from the Navy List later in the year. Credit
US Navy History
Bottom edge of the Kearsarge