USS Rebecca Sims
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Rebecca Sims

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Rebecca Sims

(whaler: t. 400)

Rebecca Sims was built as a general trading ship in 1801 by Samuel Bowers of Philadelphia for Joseph Sims. Refitted during the winter of 1806-07, she set a record of 14 days on an eastbound run from Cape Henlopen, Del. to the mouth of the Mersey (Liverpool, England) in May 180t. She was eventually taken out of general trading service, refitted as a whaler, and by 1850, was sailing from New Bedford on extended voyages to the South Atlantic and to the pacific. Still operating at the outbreak of the Civil War, Rebecca Sims was acquired by the Navy at Fairhaven, Mass., on 21 October 1861 for use in the "Stone Fleet," the ships which were to be sunk as obstacles in the shipping channels of the South's major ports.

The whaler was stripped of all unnecessary equipment filled with stone; and, under the command of her previous master, James M. Willis, sent south in late November. In early December, she arrived off Savannah, whence, at midmonth, she proceeded to Port Royal. On 19-20 December, she and 16 other ships were sunk in the main channel of Charleston Harbor.