1821-1897

Location & historical notes: Virginia, on the west side of the Chesapeake Bay, off to the south side of the Potomac River entrance.  The lightship was moored about three miles offshore guarding the shoal area off Smith Point and served as a reference mark for the southern approach to the Potomac River, and as a waypoint for north-south traffic using the main Chesapeake Channel.  The station was no longer needed after the establishment of the Smith Point Lighthouse.

Lightships assigned:

1821-1861: "B "

Note: In 1838, Lt William Porter USN, upon arrival at the Smith Point (VA) light-vessel for inspection found the Captain and entire crew absent for a week with the vessel left in charge of a 14 year old boy.  The vessel was found in poor condition, and the boy was incapable of hoisting the lantern up to its night position.

Funds appropriated: 1820
Tonnage: 120; wood hull
Station: 1821-1861: Smith Point (VA)
Note: Sunk by Confederate forces, 1861

1861-1862: station vacant

1862-1868: LV-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, day

marks 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 re caulked-
1880: Hauled at Greenport (NY), stern repaired, planking replaced, re caulked,
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

1868-1895: station remained vacant

1895-1897: LV-46

YEAR BUILT: 1887

BUILT AT: Linwood (PA)

BUILDER: Houston & Woodbridge

APPROPRIATION: $60,000
(Approp. Aug 4, 1886 "for Cape Charles lt-ship station")

CONTRACT PRICE: $60,000

SISTER VESSELS: LV 45

DESIGN: Composite- steel frame, iron hull sheathed w/yellow pine; fastened with iron rivets and screw bolts; 2 masts, day marks on both; stack ahead of mainmast; 2 aux. steam boilers steam pump

LENGTH: 124'6" (loa); BEAM: 27'0; DRAFT: 116"; TONNAGE: 401 displ

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

ILLUMINATING APPARATUS: 2 lanterns, each having 8 oil lamps with reflectors

FOG SIGNAL: 12" steam whistle; hand operated 1010 lb bell


CONSTRUCTION NOTES - MODIFICATIONS - EQUIPMENT CHANGES & IMPROVEMENTS: LV 46
-1899: Jun 4-24, Boiler repairs at Portsmouth (VA)
-1891: Jun 25-Jul 16, brought in for general repair"
-1893: Dec 10-Mar 16 1894, boilers repaired
-1895: Both boilers replaced prior to transfer to Smith Point
-1896: Jun 19-Jul 16, major overhaul at Baltimore (MD)
-1898: Overhauled and refitted at 4th District
-1901: Mar 1, repairs for collision damage (relieved by LV 69)
-1903: Apr 10-Jun 3, brought in for repairs (station marked by lighted bell buoy)
-1904: Oct 23-Mar 22 1905, repaired and refitted
-1910: Equipped with submarine bell signal
-1910: Equipped with radio


STATION ASSIGNMENTS: LV 46

1888-1891: Cape Charles (VA) - (station locally called Smiths Island Shoal)
1891-1893: Bush Bluff (VA)
1893-1895: Wolf Trap (VA)
1895-1897: Smith Point (VA)
1897-1898: (laid up at Portsmouth, VA)
1891-1901: Overfalls (DE)
1901-1922: Tail of Horseshoe (VA)
1923: Relief (laid up)


HISTORICAL NOTES: LV 46
-1888: Feb 17 placed on Cape Charles (VA)
-Parted chain and off station 1888 Mar 16-28; again in 1889 Oct 23-Nov 5
-1891: Jul 16, placed on Bush Bluff (VA)
-1893: Jun 7-Jul 5, "relieved" Cape Charles LV 49; (C&GS schooner Drift marked
Bush Bluff during this period)
-1893: Jul 31, "moored off Wolf Trap" (VA) during lighthouse reconstruction
-1893: Aug 28, boiler explosion killed engineer and seaman; fog signal disabled
-1893: Dec 10-Mar 16 1894, withdrawn for repair; relieved by schooner Drift
-1895: Feb 14, placed at Smith Point (VA), marking Lighthouse carried away by ice
-1897: Sep 17, in collision with barges under tow
-1897: Oct 15-Sep 15 1898, laid up in charge of watchman at Portsmouth (VA)
-1898: Sep 15, transferred and towed to 4th District, then overhauled
-1898: Dec 2, placed on Overfalls (DE)
-1899: Feb 11-Mar 14, carried off station by ice
-1901: Transferred to 5th District; Jun placed on Tail of Horseshoe (VA)
-1904: Oct 23-Mar 22 1905, withdrawn for repairs; relieved by LV 7
-1918: Jan 4, carried off station by ice moving out entrance to Chesapeake Bay
into shoal water off Cape Henry; picked up and towed in by ORCHID Jan 6

More notes: LV 46
-1922: Withdrawn from Tail of Horseshoe; station discontinued
-1923: Designated Relief and laid up


RETIRED FROM LIGHTSHIP DUTY: 1923 AGE: 36

SUBSEQUENT DISPOSITION: Not listed after 1923, probably sold that year

COMMANDING OFFICERS: LV 46

1899-1901: Samuel S Baxter, Master
1906-1913: Walter S Barnett, Mate
1913: William Mullen, Mate
1913-1915: Anelius Anderson, Mate
1915-1922: Anelius Anderson, Master
1915: George B Reynolds, Mate
1915-1917: Benjamin L Harris, Mate
1917-1918: Ernst Brownley, Mate
1918-1919: Robert A Dixon, Mate
1919: Luther Muse, Mate
1919-1920: George K Rollinson, Mate
1920-1922: James Lufton, Mate

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Revised: 10/23/06.