A model that’s from the heart of the American Civil War, the builder’s half-model of the Gunboat NIPSIC is of a historic vessel built for a strict naval purpose, suppression of an enemy’s fleet. Launched in 1863 out of the Portsmouth Navy Yard under the command of George Bacon, NISPIC immediately was put into blockade duty off Charleston, S.C. She served in this capacity until the end of the war, capturing the Blockade Runner Schooner JULIA on June 27, 1864.
Sharply carved with slotted levels showing the armor plating of the screw-steamer, the 592-ton NIPSIC measured 179'6" in length with 30' beam and a 11'6" depth of hull. Among her cannons was counted a massive 150-pounder, plus two 9-inch swivels, a 30-pounder, two 24-pounders and two 12-pounders. Her crew would have numbered about 48, well armed personally as well. The screw-steamer’s long thin profile with the plum bow is built primarily for speed, as a blockading gunboat, she would be capable of 11 knots. Other ships, including the YANIC would be built of her class.
The gunboat would go on to serve in the South Atlantic Squadron off Brazil and in the West Indies, and out of service in 1873. Recommissioned in 1879, she patrolled the West Indies, the Mediterranean, Africa and South America until 1886. Substantially overhauled in Washington, she sailed around Cape Horn in 1888 and was assigned to Apia Harbor, Samoa. On March 15, 1889, alongside VANDALIA, TRENTON, H.M.S. CALLIOPE and three German naval vessels and six merchant ships she faced a hurricane in which the CALLIOPE made the open sea, and the NIPSIC’s Captain D.W. Mullins was able to beach his ship; the other 11 ships sank. Nearly destroyed, she made Honolulu by August, was repaired and modernized, cruised the Hawaiian Islands in service in 1890 before heading to San Francisco, and then onto the Puget Sound Navy Yard as a receiving and prison ship until 1913. NIPSIC owns a long career that began in immediate service to the U.S. Navy.
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