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USS Rodgers at the Mare Island Navy Yard in 1881
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Class:        RODGERS
Design:        Steam whaler, 1879
Displacement (tons):        420
Dimensions (feet):        138.0' x 30.25' x 16.7' depth
Original Armament:        None
Later armaments:        --
Complement:        35
Speed (kts.):        7
Propulsion (HP):        --
Machinery:        Auxiliary steam propulsion, 1 screw

AG Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
-- RODGERS ca Mar 81 Goss, Sawyer, & Packard -- 17 Jul 79 30 May 81

AG Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
-- RODGERS -- -- 30 Nov 81 Lost --

Class Notes:
On 3 Mar 81 Congress appropriated funds "to enable the Secretary of the Navy immediately to charter or purchase, equip and supply a vessel for the prosecution of a search for the steamer JEANNETTE … provided that the vessel be wholly manned by volunteers from the Navy." The Navy Department purchased the Bering Sea steam whaling bark MARY AND HELEN, specifically built for New Bedford owners in Bath, Maine for Arctic navigation and the first steam whaler built as such for American registry. She was renamed RODGERS and placed under the command of Lt. R. M. Berry, USN. RODGERS sailed from San Francisco on 16 Jun 81 with a volunteer crew of 9 officers and 26 men. She went into the polar sea to a point beyond where JEANNETTE had originally been caught in the ice, but that ship by then had been carried far away and destroyed. RODGERS went into winter quarters in St. Lawrence Bay, in Siberia just south of the Bering Strait, but on 30 Nov 81 she caught fire and could not be saved. The crew was sheltered for the winter in native villages in the area. On 8 Feb 82 Lt. Berry set out with Ensign H. J. Hunt and a Kamchatka boy as interpreter to continue the search for JEANNETTE on foot, and after walking nearly 2,000 miles caught up with Chief Engineer Melville of the JEANNETTE and the expedition's few other survivors north of Yakutsk. The rest of RODGERS' crew was rescued in May 1882 by another New Bedford steam whaling bark, the NORTH STAR.

Ship Notes:
AG Name Notes
-- RODGERS Ex steam whaler MARY AND HELEN. Burned at St. Lawrence Bay, Siberia, 30 Nov 81.

Page Notes:
AG        1881
Compiled:        19 Jun 2013
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2013