USS Trefoil (1865)

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Career (US) Union Navy Jack
Laid down: date unknown
Launched: 1864
Acquired: 4 February 1865
Commissioned: 1 March 1865
at Boston, Massachusetts
Decommissioned: 30 August 1865
at the Boston Navy Yard
Struck: 1867 (est.)
Fate: sold, 28 May 1867
General characteristics
Displacement: 370 tons
Length: 145' 7"
Beam: 23' 9"
Draught: 11' 2"
Propulsion: steam engine
Speed: not known
Complement: 44
Armament: one 12-pounder howitzer
one 30-pounder Parrott rifle

USS Trefoil (1865) was a 370-ton steamer purchased by the Union Navy at the last year of the American Civil War.

Trefoil, with a crew of 44 and a powerful Parrott rifle, was a respectable gunboat; but, the American Civil War was coming to a close, and she was relegated to the role of dispatch boat.

Commissioned in Boston in 1865[edit]

Trefoil -- a wooden-hulled screw steamer built in 1864 by clipper ship designer Donald McKay -- was purchased by the Union Navy on 4 February 1865 and commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard, Boston, Massachusetts, on 1 March 1865, Acting Master Charles C. Wells in command.

Civil War service[edit]

Trefoil proceeded south to the Gulf of Mexico and arrived at Mobile Bay on 24 March. She served in the West Gulf Blockading Squadron under Rear Admiral Henry Knox Thatcher through the end of the Civil War, operating mainly as a dispatch boat between Pensacola, Florida, and Mobile, Alabama.

Post-war decommissioning[edit]

In July 1865, she returned north to the Boston Navy Yard where she was decommissioned on 30 August 1865. Placed in ordinary in 1866, the steamer was sold at auction on 28 May 1867 to a Mr. L. Litchfield.

See also[edit]


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