USS Potomac (1861)

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See USS Potomac for other ships of this name.

The second 'Potomac was an old whaler, purchased 1 November 1861. She was a part of the "Stone Fleet", a group of ships used to block the entrances to Confederate harbors, and was sunk for this purpose 9 January 1862. The sinking of the "Stone Fleet" is memorialized in a poem of that name by Herman Melville. By coincidence, the log book of the "Potomac", kept by William Hussey Macy of Nantucket, records Melville's desertion from the Fairhaven whaler "Achusnet" in the Marquesa Islands in the entry for July 4, 1842. Melville's experiences in the Marquesas are the source of Melville's novel "Typee."

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