Acton Memorial Library
Sumner Rogers served on the Vermont.
The first Vermont was one of nine, 74-gun warships authorized by Congress on 29 April 1816. She was laid down at the Boston Navy Yard in September 1818; finished about 1825; and kept on the stocks until finally launched at Boston on 15 September 1848 in the interest of both space and fire safety considerations. However, Vermont was not commissioned at this time. Instead, the already aged ship of the line remained in ordinary at Boston until the outbreak of the Civil War in April 1861. At this time, the cavernous hull of the vessel was badly needed as a store and receiving ship at Port Royal, S.C., and she was commissioned at Boston on 30 January 1862, Comdr. Augustus S. Baldwin in command. She received orders to sail for Port Royal for duty with Rear Admiral Samuel F. Du Font's South Atlantic Blockading Squadron on 17 February and left Boston on 24 February under tow by the steamer Kensington.
That evening, a violent northwest gale accompanied by snow struck the vessels while off Cape Cod Light, Mass. Kensington let go the tow lines, but Vermont refused to obey her helm, broached, and had all her sails and most of her boats blown and torn away. The gale raged for 50 hours; and, by the morning of the 26th, Vermont was drifting eastward with no rudder, her berth deck flooded, and much of the interior of the vessel destroyed. Later, on the 26th, Vermont sighted the schooner Flying Mist, hailed her, put a man on board and persuaded her captain to return to the east coast and report the helpless condition of the ship to naval authorities. Rescue vessels began to reach the stricken warship on 7 March and enabled Vermont to sail into Port Royal under her own power on 12 April.
Vermont remained anchored at Port Royal, where she served the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron as an ordnance, hospital, receiving, and store ship and drew praise from Rear Admiral Du Pont. Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles ordered the vessel to return to New York for "public service" on 25 July 1864. She left Port Royal on 2 August and was replaced there by her sister ship-of-the-line New Hampshire. Vermont remained at New York for the next 37 years, serving both as a store and receiving ship. She was condemned and struck from the Navy list on 19 December 1901 and was sold at New York on 17 April 1902.
From: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Washington: Navy Dept., Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Naval History Division, 1959-1981, vol. 7, p. 486. Online at: www.history.navy.mil/danfs