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Class:        RELEASE
Design:        Sail (bark)
Displacement (tons):        327 (tonnage)
Dimensions (feet):        113.0' x 27.2' x 11.75' depth
Original Armament:        Unknown (1855)
Later armaments:        2-32pdr (1861); 2-32pdr, 1-12pdr rifle (1862);
1-30pdr Dahlgren rifle, 2-32pdr, 1-12pdr rifle (1863);
4-32pdr, 1-12pdr rifle (1863)
Complement:        26
Speed (kts.):        --
Propulsion (HP):        N/A
Machinery:        Sail, bark rig

AF Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
-- RELEASE 3 Apr 55 Brown & Lovell, Boston -- 1853 3 Apr 55

AF Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
-- RELEASE 6 Oct 65 -- 25 Oct 65 Sold --

Class Notes:
On 3 February 1855 Congress authorized the Secretary of the Navy to provide and dispatch a suitable naval or other steamer and, if necessary, a tender to the Arctic seas to rescue or provide relief to Passed Assistant Surgeon Elisha Kent Kane, U.S.N. and his companions. Kane's expedition in the brig ADVANCE had been part of the Second Grinnell Expedition to find Sir John Franklin, and it penetrated further north than any explorer had up to that time. The steamer was converted from the incomplete hull of a sailing light vessel and named ARCTIC (q.v.), and the sailing bark ERINGOL, which had been built in 1853, was purchased at Boston, Mass., from George W. Wales on 3 April 1855 for $17,000 and renamed RELEASE to accompany the steamer as tender, collier, and storeship. The ships sailed from New York on 4 June 1855 and in early October found Kane and his men at Discoe Is. in Davis Strait off the Greenland coast preparing to depart for Europe in a Danish ship after making an 84-day trek across the ice on foot and by boat. The rescued men embarked in RELEASE and the expedition returned to the United States in the fall of 1855.

RELEASE sailed in November 1856 to Demerara, British Guiana, and to Venezuela to pick up sugar cane cuttings for the Department of the Interior, returning with 300 tons. In 1857 she carried supplies for the Pacific Squadron to Aspinwall, Colombia (now Colon, Panama), and in 1858 she carried stores to the Mediterranean Squadron. In late 1858-1859 she served as a storeship for a punitive expedition to Paraguay, and in October 1860 she sailed from Boston for the Mediterranean with stores for the squadron and contributions for victims of the Syrian Massacres. In 1861 she served as supply ship first for the Gulf Blockading Squadron and then for the Atlantic Blockading Squadron. In early 1862 she delivered supplies to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron and performed blockade duty at Wassaw Sound, Georgia. In September 1862 she was sent to Gibraltar to meet KEARSARGE and was then directed to Algeciras, Morocco, to watch the Confederate raider SUMTER. From August 1863 to the end of the Civil War she served as an ordnance storeship based at Beaufort, N. C., and as a guardship at New Inlet and in the Cape Fear River. RELEASE was decommissioned on 6 October 1865 at Port Royal, S.C., and sold at public auction at New York on 25 October 1865 for $14,600.

Ship Notes:
AF Name Notes
-- RELEASE Ex merc. ERINGOL. Sold 25 Oct 65.

Page Notes:
AF        1855
Compiled:        06 Jul 2013
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2013