1820-1872

Location & historical notes: Virginia, in the lower Chesapeake Bay, 2.9 miles and 090 degrees from the Old Point Comfort Lighthouse.  Moored at the east end of Willoughby Bank, an extensive shoal area lying north of Willoughby Spit.  The station marked the south side of the channel for entering Hampton Roads.  The station was no longer considered necessary after the Thimble Shoals Lighthouse was activated 0.9 miles and 022 degrees from the former lightship station.

Lightships assigned:

1820 - ?: "C "

Funds appropriated: 1819; contract awarded Sept 2, 1819
Built: 1819 by James Poole, Hampton VA
Tonnage: 70; wood hull, copper fastened and sheathed
Stations: 1820: Willoughby's Spit (VA)
1821-1859: Craney Island (VA)
Notes: The first U.S. lightship. Placed at the northern extremity of Willoughby Bank, a shoal making out from Willoughby's Spit, however the vessel was unable to endure sea conditions at this location and was shortly moved to a position off Craney Island in the Elizabeth River off the port of Norfolk.

1821-1847: "Q "

Built: 1821
Tonnage: 120; wood hull
Station: 1821-1847: Willoughby's Spit (VA)
Note: Replaced "C" after it was moved to Craney Island station

1867-1868: LV-21

YEAR BUILT: 1863

BUILT AT: New Bedford (MA)

BUILDER: Stephen Andrews

APPROPRIATION: None
Treasury Dept authorized vessels for Upper & Lower Cedar Point (141)) & Cross Rip

CONTRACT PRICE: $47,500 (for 3 vessels)

SISTER VESSELS: None

DESIGN: Wood - white oak; copper & iron fastened; bowsprit; 2 masts

LENGTH: 78' (lbp), BEAM: 21'6", DRAFT: 10', TONNAGE: 150 gross

PROPULSION: Sail- schooner rig


ILLUMINATING APPARATUS: 2 lanterns each with 8 lard oil lamps

FOG SIGNAL: Hand operated bell and horn

CONSTRUCTION NOTES - MODIFICATIONS - EQUIPMENT CHANGES & IMPROVEMENTS: LV 21-

1867: Hauled at Norfolk (VA); sheathing repaired; painted red-
1868: Nov-Jan 1869, found leaking and rotten, recaulked, deck planking replaced-
1875: Examined and "hull is quite rotten"


STATION ASSIGNMENTS: LV 21
1864-1867: Upper Cedar Point (MD)
1867-1868: Willoughby Spit (VA)
1869-1871: Relief (VA)
1871-1872: Wreck of Weehawken (SC)
1872-1880: Tybee Island Knoll (GA)


(1869-1871: While in Relief status, performed temporary duty marking Wolf Trap, Jan 8-Feb 24 1869; Windmill Point Shoal, Mar 8-Sepi 1869 during lighthouse construction; York Spit, Sep 1869)
(1880 Tybee Island Knoll station discontinued)
(Prior to 1867 when No. 21 was assigned, official records identify this vessel as "Upper Cedar Point Light Vessel")

HISTORICAL NOTES: LV 21-

1864: Sep, placed on Upper Cedar Point (MD)-
1867: Jul 20, withdrawn; station discontinued on activation of Upper Cedar Point
Lighthouse-
1867: Aug 17, placed on Willoughby Spit (VA)-
1867: Dec 6, in collision with steamer, bowsprit broken off-
1868: Jan 21, parted chain due to defective shackle, returned to station Jan 24-
1868: Nov 4, withdrawn and replaced by LV 23; LV 21 assigned Relief duty-
1869: Jan 8„Feb 24, "temporarily" occupied Wolf Trap (VA)-
1869: Mar 8-Sep 1, "temporarily" occupied Windmill Point (VA) during lighthouse
construction-
1869: Sep, temporarily occupied York Spit (VA)-
1871: Jun, transferred to 6th District, placed on Wreck of Weehawken (SC)-
1872: Jul 15, withdrawn upon completion of range beacons for Charleston Harbor-
1872: Sep 16, placed on Tybee Island Knoll (GA)-
1879: Vessel is "old, unseaworthy, and not worth repairing"-
1880 : Jan, withdrawn, station discontinued, "other aids being substituted in
her stead''


More notes:


RETIRED FROM LIGHTSHIP DUTY: 1880 AGE: 17

SUBSEQUENT DISPOSITION: 1880 Jan 7, sold at public auction $200; net $173.70

 

1868-1872: 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, 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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