USC&GS Arago (1854)

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Name: Arago
Namesake: Dominique François Jean Arago
Builder: Fardy and Brothers, Baltimore, Maryland
Completed: 1854
In service: 1854-1861 and 1866-1881
Fate: Sold 1881
Notes: Served as United States Navy armed survey ship USS Arago 1861-1863
General characteristics
Type: Survey ship
Length: 81 ft (25 m)
Beam: 23 ft (7.0 m)
Draft: 4 ft 5 in (1.35 m)
Propulsion: sails
Sail plan: Schooner-rigged

USC&GS Arago was a survey ship that served in the United States Coast Survey from 1854 to 1861 and from 1866 to 1878 and in the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey from 1878 to 1881. She was the first ship of the Coast Survey or Coast and Geodetic Survey to bear the name.

Construction and early service

Arago was built by Fardy and Brothers at Baltimore, Maryland in 1854. She did survey work for the Coast Survey along the Atlantic coast of the United States until 1861.

United States Navy service 1861-1863

In 1861, Arago was ordered into United States Navy service for the American Civil War. Few records of her naval service survive, but it is known that she was armed and tasked with survey work along the Confederate coast. She participated in the expedition to seize Port Royal, South Carolina, and also served in the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron until at least February 1863. She appears to have left active naval service in 1863.

Later career

Arago returned to service with the Coast Survey in 1866. For the remainder of her career, she served along the U.S. Atlantic coast. She suffered a major mishap in 1867 when she struck a leftover Confederate stake in the Neuse River in North Carolina and sank, but she was raised and repaired.

Beginning in 1871, and for the remainder of her career, she was one of two Coast Survey (later Coast and Geodetic Survey) ships named Arago, the other being Arago of 1871.

When the Coast Survey was reorganized in 1878 to form the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, Arago became part of the new service.

Arago was sold in 1881.