Cornfield Point Lightship Station History

 

A photo of light vessel 23.

YEAR BUILT: 1857

BUILT AT: Dorchester County (MD)

BUILDER: Unknown

APPROPRIATION: None

CONTRACT PRICE: $7,500 (repairs to former brig) (Used current operating funds of Lighthouse Establishment)

SISTER VESSELS: None

DESIGN: Wood- oak & yellow pine, 10 iron knees on each side; bowsprit; 2 masts, daymarks at both mastheads - (Documented as the schooner A.J.W. APPLEGARTH, acquired by the US in 1862 and converted for use as lightship)

LENGTH: 94'6" (lbp), BEAM: 24'11, DRAFT: 96",TONNAGE: 186 gross, (203 tons as built)

PROPULSION: Sail- schooner rig, fore and main carried on spencer masts

ILLUMINATING APPARATUS: 2 lanterns, each with 8 oil lamps

FOG SIGNAL: Hand operated 667 lb bell

CONSTRUCTION NOTES - MODIFICATIONS - EQUIPMENT CHANGES & IMPROVEMENTS: LV 23-

1862: Ex-schooner converted to lightship use- $7,500 for wages and materials-
1873: "Thoroughly repaired and refitted" at Norfolk VA. - $1,800-
1874: General overhaul-$5,437, prior to transfer to 3d District-
1876: Hauled and recaulked-
1880: Hauled at Greenport (NY), stern repaired, planking replaced, recaulked,
running rigging replaced-
1882: Rebuilt - $12,281.04-
1895: May 15-Jun 14, repair and refit-
1901: Jun-Aug, fitted with new masts and spars, sheathing repaired-
1918: Equipped with 10" air fog whistle and associated machinery-
1919: Equipped with radio; discontinued Aug 19, same year-
1923: Fog signal changed back to bell, illuminant changed to acetylene

STATION ASSIGNMENTS: LV 23
1862-1868: Smith Point (VA)
1868-1872: Willoughby Spit (VA)
1872-1874: Relief (VA)
1874-1876: Wreck of Scotland (NJ)
1876-1882: Relief (3d District)
1882-1892: Cornfield Point (CT)
1892-1894: Relief (CT)
1894-1925: Ram Island Reef (CT)

(Ram Island Reef station discontinued Apr 4, 1925; replaced with lighted bell buoy - light operated by acetylene; bell mechanically operated by carbon dioxide gas)
(Prior to 1867 when No. 23 was assigned, official records identify this vessel as "Smith Point")

HISTORICAL NOTES: LV 23-

1862: Mar, placed on Smith Point (VA) replacing vessel sunk by "insurgents";
"a competent military guard has been detailed for duty" aboard the lightship-
1867: Jan 19, caught in moving ice, slipped chain and drifted for 2 days; towed
to Great Wicomico (VA); returned to station Feb 23-
1868: Withdrawn when Smith Point Lighthouse completed-
1868: Placed on Willoughby Spit (VA)-
1872: Withdrawn when Thimble Shoal Lighthouse completed. Reported as "the only
lightship in the 5th District"-
1874: Sep 10, Placed on Wreck of Scotland (NJ)-
1876: "now at Staten Island (NY)"; "is used for a Relief vessel"-
1878: "now at New London (CT) as a Relief-ship"-
1882: Sep 6, placed on Cornfield Point (CT)-
1889: Appropriation requested for replacement vessel; $70,000 approved 1890-
1891: Mar 19, in collision with scow under tow; withdrawn and returned May 27-
1892: Dec 15, replaced by new LV 51; LV 23 assigned Relief duty-
1894: Dec 8, placed on Rain Island Reef (CT)-
1904: Feb 23-26, withdrawn to avoid moving ice fields-
1925: Apr 4, Ram Island Reef station discontinued and replaced with LEE

More notes:

RETIRED FROM LIGHTSHIP DUTY: 1925 AGE: 68
SUBSEQUENT DISPOSITION: Annual Report FY 1924-25 states "surveyed and condemned, to be sold". No later reference to the vessel was found.

COMMANDING OFFICERS: LV 23

1896 (2 mo.): Wainwright B Cummings, Mate

?-1913: John S Gunderson, Mate
1913: Hugh Donovan, Mate
1913-1914: N D Hooper, Mate
1914-1917: James Quirk Mate
1917-1921: John Holmes, Mate
1921-1923: Arthur Daunt, Mate
1923: Christofore Lasdine, Mate
1923-1924: Alfred M Haynes, Mate

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Revised: 10/23/06.