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USS Bear in July 1884
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Class:        BEAR (1884-1885)
Design        Sealer, 1874
Displacement (tons):        689 gross, 1,675 displ.
Dimensions (feet):        198.5' oa, 175.5' pp x 29.75' x 17.5'
Original Armament:        none
Later armaments:        --
Complement:        --
Speed (kts.):        9
Propulsion (HP):        500
Machinery:        Compound, 1 screw

AG Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
-- BEAR 28 Jan 84 Alex Stephen & Sons -- 19 Jan 74 17 Mar 84

AG Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
-- BEAR 26 Nov 84 -- 3 Mar 85 Trf. --

Class Notes:
BEAR was built by Alex Stephen & Son of Dundee, Scotland, for the sealing trade. She was a sail barkentine with an auxiliary steam engine. Her unusually heavily built wooden hull suited her for operations in the ice. She was purchased by the Navy on 28 Jan 84 at St. John's, Newfoundland from Walter Grieve of Greenock, Scotland, for $100,000 to search for the survivors of Lieutenant Adolphus W. Greeley's Arctic Expedition to Lady Franklin Bay. She arrived at New York on 15 Feb 84, sailed from New York on 24 Apr 84, followed by the flagship of the expedition, THETIS, under the command of Cdr. Winfield S. Schley, on 1 May 84. After a hard-fought passage through the ice THETIS and BEAR discovered the survivors of the expedition near Cape Sable on 22 Jun 84. The ships landed the survivors at Portsmouth, N.H. on 1 Aug 84. Besides THETIS and BEAR the Greely Relief Expedition included the steamer ALERT, which had been loaned by the British, and the collier LOCH GARRY.

Following the expedition BEAR was transferred from the Navy to the Treasury Department on 3 Mar 1885. After a long career in the Revenue Cutter Service and then as an Antarctic exploration ship, she was reacquired as USS BEAR (AG-29, q.v.). This final, much later chapter in her career is covered on a separate page on this site.

Ship Notes:
AG Name Notes
-- BEAR Ex merc. BEAR. Revenue cutter BEAR 1885, exploration ship BEAR OF OAKLAND 1933, USS BEAR (AG-29, q.v.) 1939, merc. ARCTIC SEALER 1948, sank under tow 19 Mar 63.

Page Notes:
AG        1884
Compiled:        01 Jan 2013
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2013