USS G. W. Blunt (1861)
USS G. W. Blunt (1861) was a schooner acquired by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was used by the Union Navy as a gunboat as well as a dispatch boat in support of the Union Navy blockade of Confederate waterways.
Towards the war’s end, she was reconfigured as a rescue and salvage ship. Her new task was to remove many of the shipwrecks, hulks, and other in-water debris of war.
G. W. Blunt, a two-masted schooner, commissioned in 1861
G. W. Blunt, formerly Blunt, was a wooden two-masted schooner acquired by the Navy in New York City 23 November 1861. She commissioned 4 December 1861, Acting Master Henry Sherwood in command.
Assigned to the South Atlantic Blockade
Arriving at Port Royal, South Carolina, 11 December 1861, G. W. Blunt served as a mail and dispatch boat for the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron between such points as Charleston, South Carolina, Wassaw Sound, Georgia, and Fernandina, Florida. En route to Georgetown, South Carolina, 19 April 1862, she captured blockade-running schooner Wave with a cargo of cotton.
Repaired in Philadelphia and returned to blockade duty
For the following year G. W. Blunt was on a blockade duty off Charleston and assisted in capturing several more vessels. She departed Port Royal, South Carolina, for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 7 May 1863 and decommissioned for repairs 13 May.
Recommissioned 2 June 1863, G. W. Blunt rejoined the blockading squadron off Charleston, patrolling the many small inlets and bays near the main harbor.
Conversion of the ship to salvage duty
Cruising on Charleston station until midsummer 1864, G. W. Blunt was sent to Port Royal 7 August, and on 25 August was fitted with diving equipment for salvage duty.
She worked on many wrecks, including Constance on 13 November and USS Housatonic, (sunk 17 February 1864 by Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley) from 15 to 19 November. She was sent to Savannah, Georgia, 1 March 1865 to clear obstructions from the harbor, and returned to Charleston 1 April 1865.
Post-war decommissioning and sale
G. W. Blunt decommissioned 16 August 1865 at Port Royal and was sold there 20 October 1865.