(Thetis, Greek sea-nymph of mythology)

Thetis 6 Greely

Greely Relief Expedition

Type and Characteristics: Barque/Bark-rigged steam cutter (above, Library of Congress), built by Alexander Stephen & Son, Dundee, Scotland as sealer and whaler, hull reinforced for light ice operations, launched 1881, 1,250 tons displacement, 188ft 6in long x 29ft beam x 17ft 10in draft, compound-expansion steam engine, one propeller. Commissioned in Revenue Cutter Service 3 March 1899, armed with 3-3pdr rapid fire guns, complement not known.

Log Period and Areas of Service: 1884 (imaging - 1887-1897), Greely Arctic rescue mission.

Summary of Service

1884 - Purchased by US Navy for Greely Arctic rescue mission. The 1881-83 Expedition commanded by First Lieutenant Adolphus Greely, US Army was one of two setting up observation stations in the Arctic. Greely's was left stranded in the Arctic over the winter of 1883-84. US Navy organized a fleet consisting of USS Bear, USS Thetis and the loaned HMS Alert, who together rescued the survivors of the expedition.

November 1884 - Decommissioned.

January 1887 - Recommissioned. Sailed for San Francisco.

November 1887 - First Alaskan waters cruise.

July 1890 - Sailed for Central America to protect American property and lives during war between Guatamala and San Salvador after revolution in the latter country.

October 1890 - Return to San Francisco, and Alaskan waters.

January 1893 - Survey work along coast of Baja California.

July 1897 - Placed "in ordinary" at Mare Island.

Fate: Transferred in 1899 to Revenue Cutter Service. Sold out of service in 1916.

Follow the link to logs while in US Revenue Cutter Service as USRC Thetis.

Links: DANFS, USCG Historian's site


A general note on the sources.