CIVIL WAR ERA BOXED SHIP’S COMPASS ID’D TO USS NORWICH

$1,850.00 SOLD
Originally $2,250.00

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 853-70

Wooden box meas. approx. 8.00 x 8.00 x 5.00 inches with a brass mounted compass inside. Box is nailed together and has no lid. Box has no markings and shows only minor wear.

Inside the box is a circular nautical compass on a brass gimbal type support that allows the compass to move around within the box. The compass meas. approx. 6.00 inches across the glass face. The dial is housed in a half sphere painted white on the inside. Around the glass on the face is a thick brass bezel ring that is marked in several places. The markings read “E. S. RITCHIE & SONS / 1861” “66036” “BOSTON / MASS.” and “U. S. NAVY / USS NORWICH.”

The overall condition of the item is very good. Compass dial moves freely and all the demarcations on the face of the dial are clear and readable. The central hub of the dial has some bubbled paint and two areas of paint loss. Glass face needs cleaning. Brass has nice overall untouched patina. All is original to the piece.

The USS Norwich was a wooden-screw steamer built in 1861 at Norwich, Connecticut and was purchased from J. M. Huntington & Co. by the Navy for $43, 137.00. She displaced 450 tons, was 132 feet long x 24 feet wide x 10 feet high and made a speed of 9.5 knots. In 1862 she had one 30 pounder Parrott rifle and four 8 inch howitzers.

During the early part of the war she blockaded Savannah and in March 1863 with the USS UNCAS she escorted transports up the St. Johns River shelling Confederate positions as she moved.

The Norwich also saw action near Jacksonville, Florida shelling shore positions. Some of her crew along with crew from the USS Hale formed a boat party that went ashore to destroy a Confederate signal station near Jacksonville. Still in the Jacksonville area she did escort duty and trapped the merchant ship St. Mary’s in McGrit’s Creek causing the St. Mary’s Captain to scuttle his ship with a cargo of cotton.

Later in the war when the Union forces were pushed back to Jacksonville the Norwich provided cover fire and landed their howitzers with some seamen to help defend the town.

Norwich spent the rest of the war quietly on blockade duty in Georgia and Florida. When the war ended she was decommissioned in Philadelphia at the end of June 1865 and was sold at public auction in August for $12, 300. She was eventual lost at sea as a merchant ship on 17 February 1873.

With the item is a copied modern write up on the ship's history with a drawing of the vessel.

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