Civil War Veteran USS Quaker City
By James Donahue
Built for commerce at Philadelphia in 1854, the sidewheel steamship Quaker City was active on the high seas
when the American Civil War broke out in 19861. Thus she was one of a fleet of vessels chartered by the Navy for military
This wooden-hulled vessel, at 244-feet, carried only nine guns, and it was obvious that she was never expected
to be part of a major fleet of Naval fighting ships. Under the command of Captain James M. Frailey, the Quaker City was active
as part of a fleet of ships assigned to set up blockades of various southern ports.
During her service in the war, the Quaker City participated in capturing or participating in the capture of
at least 10 ships flying the Confederate flag. She was engaged in one serious scrap on Jan. 31, 1863, when she was involved
in a battle with the Southern ironclads Chicora And Palmetto State just off Charleston, South Carolina.
While she took some damage in the fight, Quaker City survived the battle and went on to participate in the
capture of Fort Fisher, at Wilmington, North Carolina in 1864, and assisted in the chase of the CSS Webb in what was remembered
as a dramatic run down the Mississippi in 1865.
The Quaker City was decommissioned in May, 1865 and sold back to commercial interests. During a trip to Europe in 1867, she was chosen by Mark Twain as the scene of the book Innocents Abroad."
The vessel was sold and renamed Columbia in 1869. Later that year she was commissioned in the Haitian Navy
and given the name Mont Organise. Sold again in February 1871, the ship was given her final name, Republique.
The Republique was lost at sea off Bermuda later that same month.