Back to Navy Records

Harry Gibbs served on the Princess Royal.


Princess Royal

The British-built blockade runner Princess Royal, an iron-hulled screw steamer laden with rifled guns, small arms, ammunition, and two powerful steam engines intended for ironclads, was captured off Charleston, S.C., 29 January 1863, by the screw gunboat Unadilla, assisted by screw sloop Housatonic, side-wheel steamer Augusta, and schooners America and Blunt. Purchased by the Navy Department from the Philadelphia Prize Court 18 March 1863; Princess Royal, retaining her original name, was fitted out as a cruiser; and was commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 29 May 1863, Comdr. M. B. Woolsey in command.

Assigned to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, Princess Royal participated in the engagement with Confederate forces at Donaldsonville, La., 28 June 1863. Then ordered to the Texas coast, she captured the British schooner Flying Scud near Matamoros 12 August, and assisted in seizing the schooner Wave 22 August. Continuing her patrols into 1864 she took Neptune off Brazoa de Santiago, 19 November 1864; ran down the schooner Flash six days later; seized the schooner Alabama, 7 December; and captured Cora off Galveston, 19 December.

On 7 February 1865, Princess Royal captured her last prize, the cotton-laden schooner Anna Sophia, in Galveston Bay, and on 10 February a boat expedition from that ship and screw steamer Antona destroyed the wreck of the grounded blockade runner Will-o 'the-wisp. Five months later Princess Royal was ordered north, arriving at Philadelphia 21 July.

Sold at public auction 17 August 1865 and subsequently renamed General Sherman, she ultimately sank off Cape Fear, North Carolina, on 10 January 1874.

From:  Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Online at: