Ships 2

Admiral DuPont

Ships 3

Admiral DuPont

Civil War Era Steamer Admiral DuPont

By James Donahue

Named for Samuel Francis DuPont, a distinguished Union naval officer whose skills in commanding a fleet of ironclad warships during the American Civil War earned him the rank of rear admiral, the little iron hulled passenger and cargo ship Admiral DuPont not only participated in the war, but became one of its casualties.

Strangely, however, the 190-foot-long paddle wheeler was designed for passenger and cargo service and given the name Anglia when launched in West Ham, England, in 1847. Its first owner was the Chester and Holyhead Railway and later the vessel was used the London and North Western Railway.

In 1861 the Anglia was bought by the Confederate States of America for use as a blockade runner during America’s Civil War. The following year the ship made a successful round-trip voyage between Charleston, South Carolina, and Nassau, Bahamas. On her second trip she was captured by the Union blockade in Bulls Bay, South Carolina.

The ship was given the name Admiral DuPont as soon as it fell into the hands of northern forces. She was used to carry troops and government supplies for the next three years.

The gallant little side-wheeler almost made it to the end of the war. But on June 8, 1865, while carrying troops from New York City to Fort Monroe, Virginia, the Admiral DuPont collided with the British sailing ship Stundaconda off Cape May and sank. Captain Simon Peppers and all but 20 men survived the crash.

The accident happened at night. The Stundaconda was sailing from Philadelphia north to St. John, New Brunswick when it struck the Admiral DuPont broadside. The iron steamship sank in about ten minutes. The wreck lies in about 150 feet of water about 32 miles off the New Jersey coast.