Famous Piscataqua-Built Ships

Morning Light, Portsmouth Marine SocietyThe Morning Light

“When the Morning Light‘s stern hit the waters of the Piscataqua [1853] she was the largest merchant vessel yet launched on the river.” — from Clippers of the Port of Portsmouth and the Men Who Built Them, by Ray Brighton, Portsmouth Marine Society Publication Number 5.

Typhoon, Portsmouth Marine SocietyThe Typhoon

“When the Typhoon was launched on February 18, 1851, she was the largest merchant vessel yet built on the Piscataqua” — from Clippers of the Port of Portsmouth and the Men Who Built Them, by Ray Brighton, Portsmouth Marine Society Number 5.

Ranger, Portsmouth Marine SocietyThe Ranger – Piscataqua-built

“The eighteen-gun sloop of war Ranger, launched from the Langdon’s — now Badger’s Island — shipyard on May 10, 1777, was the second Continental warship built by Piscataqua shipwrights, and certainly the most famous.” — from John Paul Jones and the Ranger, edited by Joseph G. Sawtelle, Portsmouth Marine Society Number 20, 7×10 Reprinted 2002 in paperback. Hardcover out of print.

Nightingale, Portsmouth Marine SocietyThe Clipper Nightingale – Piscataqua-built

The Piscataqua-built clipper Nightingale is perhaps the most beautiful sailing ship ever launched into these local waters. Built by the Hanscoms of Eliot, Maine, the ship first slid into the Piscataqua River on June 16, 1851. — “A Race of Shipbuilders”: The Hanscoms of Eliot, Maine, by Richard E. Winslow III, Portsmouth Marine Society Number 33.


Kearsarge, Portsmouth Marine Society

Brave Old Kearsarge Oil on canvas, 29 x 40 inches

Joseph G. Sawtelle gift to the Portsmouth Athenæum

The USS Kearsarge – Piscataqua-built

“On June 19, 1864, one of the most famous sea battles in United States naval history took place off the coast of Cherbourg, France. In an engagement lasting about one and a half hours, the sloop of war USS Kearsarge sent to the bottom of the sea the renowned Confederate raider CSS Alabama, which in the previous two years had destroyed or captured sixty-five Union merchantmen. The battle made a hero of the Kearsarge captain, John A. Winslow, and the Kearsarge one of the most famous ships of the Civil War.

“Named for an eponymous mountain in New Hampshire (there are two of that name; which one was referenced has never been resolved), the USS Kearsarge was built at the Portsmouth Navy Yard. The three-masted vessel, whose speed was bolstered by two steam engines, was commissioned in 1862.”

from Maritime Portsmouth: The Sawtelle Collection edited by Richard M. Candee, with appreciation and chapter introductions by J. Dennis Robinson


Albacore, Portsmouth Marine Society

Albacore at sea off the coast of New Hampshire-Maine

U.S.S. Albacore – Piscataqua-built

Built at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard 1951-52, The Albacore was the first truly streamlined submarine, pioneer of many technological advances incorporated in the US nuclear submarine fleet, historian Gary Weir has called her “the most significant submarine ever built.”

As a ship memorial in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Albacore Park is worth a visit.


Albacore today at the Port of Portsmouth Maritime Museum. © Peter Randall 2011

U.S.S. Albacore: Forerunner of the Future, by Robert Largess & James Mandelblatt, Portsmouth Marine Society Number 25, 7×10 Reprinted 2002, 2011 in paperback. Hardcover out of print.


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