Displacement: 627 tons.
Dimensions: 240ft x 23ft 2in x 8ft 5in.
Machinery: Direct-acting, single-beam engines with an 11-ft stroke.
Armament: In 1864 had four 20-pdr Dahlgren rifles and eight heavy 12-pdr smoothbores.
Malvern was built in 1860 by Harlan & Hollingsworth Co. of Wilmington, Delaware, for Charles Morgan's Southern Steamship Co. She entered service in January 1861 as the William G. Hewes, traveling between New York and New Orleans.
Seized by the governor of Louisiana at the end of April 1862, she was pressed into service as a blockade runner. Her high speed and great cargo capacity - up to 1440 bales of cotton made her extremely valuable in this role, and she made her first run to Havana, Cuba, in April 1862. After the fall of New Orleans, she transferred to Charleston, was renamed Ella and Annie, and was operated by the Importing and Exporting Co. of South Carolina, running to Bermuda.
She was damaged in a storm in September and needed repairs at Bermuda. On her way again, with Frank Bonneau, one of the leading blockade-running captains in command, she was delayed by another storm and fell in with USS Niphon off New Inlet, North Carolina. Bonneau rammed the Union vessel but was forced to surrender when Ella and Annie was damaged by gunfire.
She was taken into the navy after hasty repairs at the Boston Navy Yard in early 1864, renamed Malvern and became part of the North Atlantic Blockading Fleet. Here, she served briefly as Admiral Porter's flagship during the attacks on Fort Fisher, North Carolina, in December 1864 and January 1865. Later that month she captured two blockade runners.
Malvern was sold in October 1865 to S.G. Bogart for $113,000. He then sold the vessel to her original owners, who rebuilt her in early 1866 at Wilmington, Delaware, and operated her between New Orleans and the Texas ports. She served for many years in the West Indies' fruit trade until wrecked in a storm on Colorado Reef off the Cuban coast in February 1895.
Source: "Warships and Naval Battles of the Civil War" By Tony Gibbons
This Page last updated 11/16/04