The Staten Island Ferry

Ferries used on the Staten Island Ferry route prior to NYC taking control in 1905

Sold to U.S. Government 1861. Went to war as U.S.S. Hunchback. Re-documented 1866 and sold to Boston interests. Abandoned 1880.
Commision Date 1852
Gross Tonnage 517
Passengers / Cars
Builder Jeremiah & Simonson
Engines 1 Cylinder Vertical Beam
Propulsion Steam Paddle Wheel
Horsepower
Length / Width 179' / 29'
Sold to U.S. Government 1861. Lost in combat April 19 1864.
USS Southfield, a 750-ton side-wheel steam gunboat, was built in 1857 at Brooklyn, New York, as a civilian ferryboat. Purchased by the Navy and converted to a gunboat, she was commissioned in December 1861. Early in 1862, Southfield was sent to the North Carolina Sounds, where her relatively light draft and double-ended ferryboat configuration made her a valuable asset. She participated in the captures of Roanoke Island in February, New Bern in March and Beaufort in April. After spending most of the rest of 1862 operating on Virginia's James and York Rivers and under repair, Southfield returned to North Carolina's internal waters in December. On the 10th of that month, she was badly damaged by Confederate forces attacking Plymouth, N.C. During March and April 1863, she helped sustain besieged Federal troops at Washington, N.C. The Confederates again took the offensive in early 1864, involving Southfield in further combat actions. She was off Plymouth on 19 April, in company with USS Miami, when the new Confederate ironclad ram Albemarle attacked. During that action, Southfield was rammed and sunk.
Commision Date 1857
Gross Tonnage 751
Passengers / Cars
Builder John Englis. Brooklyn, NY
Engines 1 Cylinder Vertical Beam
Propulsion Steam Paddle Wheel
Horsepower 700
Length / Width 179' / 29'
Sold to U.S. Government 1862. Lost in combat March 21 1864.
Westfield, a side-wheel steam ferryboat, was purchased by the Navy from Cornelius Vanderbilt on 22 November 1861; outfitted at New York by J. A. Westervelt; and commissioned in January 1862, Comdr. William B. Renshaw in command. Westfield departed New York on 22 February 1862, bound for Key West, Fla., to join Comdr. David D. Porter's Mortar Flotilla. That unit, however, departed Key West on 3 March before Westfield's arrival. She, therefore, did not join the flotilla until her arrival at the Passes of the Mississippi on 18 March. For the next three weeks, she assisted Mississippi and Pensacola in their efforts to cross the bar at Pass a Outr and enter the Mississippi River. That mission succeeded finally on 8 April, and Westfield began duty covering a coastal survey party developing more precise maps of the lower Mississippi for the assault on Forts Jackson and St. Philip. On 13 April, she received orders to proceed upriver and engage two Confederate gunboats. After two shots from her Parrott rifle, the two Southern ships retired to the protection of the guns of Fort Jackson where they joined six other Confederate gunboats. Undaunted, Westfield closed range and opened fire once more. That brief cannonade broke the shaft of CSS Defiance and damaged her so severely that her crew later had to abandon and sink her. Between 14 and 24 April, she supported Porter's Mortar Flotilla during the bombardment of the two Confederate forts in preparation for Flag Officer David Glasgow Farragut's run between them to New Orleans. That event occurred on the 24th, but Westfield did not participate directly. Rather, she remained with the mortar boats and continued to support them and supply ammunition. Early in the summer of 1862, Westfield moved upriver with the Mortar Flotilla to a point just below Vicksburg, Miss. There she resumed her duties in support of the mortars during the first campaign against the Confederate stronghold. Late in July and early in August, the ship made her way back down the Mississippi via Baton Rouge and New Orleans to the Gulf of Mexico. She then took up duty blockading the coast of Texas as a unit of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron. On 4 October, Westfield led a unit composed of Harriet Lane, Owasco, Clifton, and Harry James in a successful assault on the city of Galveston, Tex., which capitulated formally on the 9th. She remained at Galveston until 1 January 1863 when, during the successful Confederate recapture of the city, she was attacked by two Southern warships. She was blown up to forestall her almost certain capture.
Commision Date 1861
Gross Tonnage 891
Passengers / Cars
Builder Jeremiah & Simonson
Engines 1 Cylinder vertical Beam
Propulsion Steam Paddle Wheel
Horsepower 700
Length / Width 213' / 34'
Sold to U.S. Government 1861. Lost in combat March 21, 1864.
The first Clifton , a side wheel steam ferryboat, was built in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1861 and purchased 2 December 1861 by the Navy Department. She was outfitted by J. A. Westervelt of New York, and placed in commission late in 1861 or early 1862, Acting Lieutenant C. H. Baldwin in command. Clifton sailed from New York 22 February 1862 and arrived at Ship Island, La., 18 March for duty with the Mortar Flotilla of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron. She was commended by Commander D. D. Porter for assisting in towing the 21 vessels of the flotilla across the bar into the Mississippi River. She joined in the bombardment and capture of Forts Jackson and St. Philip below New Orleans between 18 and 24 April 1862; the attack on the Confederate batteries at Vicksburg, Miss., during which on 28 June 1862 she took a shot through her boiler which killed seven men; and the capture of Galveston, Tex., from 4 to 9 October 1862. After capturing the bark H. McGuin in Bay St. Louis on 18 July 1863, she fired with telling effect on Sibley's Brigade on 28 July 1863 during a reconnaissance up the Atchafalaya and Teche Rivers. Captured by the Confederates at Sabine Pass, Tex., 8 September 1863, she ran aground there 21 March 1864 when an attempt to run the blockade failed. The Confederates burned her to prevent re-capture.
Commision Date 1861
Gross Tonnage 892
Passengers / Cars
Builder Bishop & Simonson
Engines 1 Cylinder Vertical Beam
Propulsion Steam Paddle Wheel
Horsepower 700
Length / Width 210' / 30'
Sold to U.S. Government 1863.
Went to war as U.S.S. Smokokon. Re-documented 1865. Lost March 31, 1868.
Commision Date 1862
Gross Tonnage 700
Passengers / Cars
Builder Green Point Long Island
Engines 1 Cylinder vertical Beam
Propulsion Steam Paddle Wheel
Horsepower 700
Length / Width
Sold to City of New York 1906. Out of documentation in 1912.
Commision Date 1862
Gross Tonnage 609
Passengers / Cars
Builder Jeremiah & Simonson
Engines 1 Cylinder Vertical Beam
Propulsion Steam Paddle Wheel
Horsepower 700
Length / Width 213' / 34'
Damaged in collision 1901.Broken up in 1902.
June 14th, 1901 the ferryboat Northfield was leaving Whitehall when it was struck by a Jersey Central Ferry the Mauch Chaunk and sank immediately. Fortunately there were two full deck crews aboard the Northfield and their swift actions saved many. Out of 995 passengers aboard the Northfield only 5 ended up missing. This accident was one of the major reasons that private operations of the ferries were ended and the City of New York took control.
Commision Date 1863
Gross Tonnage 600
Passengers / Cars
Builder Jeremiah & Simonson
Engines 1 Cylinder Vertical Beam
Propulsion Steam Paddle Wheel
Horsepower 700
Length / Width 202' / 34'
Withdrawn in 1905.
Commision Date 1864
Gross Tonnage 641
Passengers / Cars
Builder Jeremiah & Simonson
Engines 1 Cylinder vertical Beam
Propulsion Steam Paddle Wheel
Horsepower 700
Length / Width 201' / 33'
Withdrawn in 1905. Documents surrendered and ship declared unfit for further use. Sank in 1923.
Commision Date 1882
Gross Tonnage 892
Passengers / Cars
Builder Lawler Marine. Clifton, SI
Engines 1 Cylinder Vertical Beam
Propulsion Steam Paddle Wheel
Horsepower 800
Length / Width 210' / 36'
Withdrawn in 1905. Burned at Norfolk March 2, 1918.
A prominent Staten Island businessman. The Ferry was later renamed the Castleton.
Commision Date 1888
Gross Tonnage 1587
Passengers / Cars
Builder Columbian Iron Works, MD
Engines Compound Steam Engine
Propulsion Paddle Wheel
Horsepower 1,200
Length / Width 225' / 61'
Commision Date 1888
Gross Tonnage 1587
Passengers / Cars
Builder Columbian Iron Works, MD
Engines Compound Steam Engine
Propulsion Paddle Wheel
Horsepower 1,200
Length / Width 225' / 61'