Warships, by their nature, define naval history. But myriad other ships help constitute the world’s navies, and they, too, have their own stories. Consider a supply ship with an uninspired name: the USS Supply.
Boston merchant William Goddard built the ship-rigged sailing vessel in 1846 at Medford, Massachusetts. Named the Crusader, the commercial ship was purchased by the Navy for $60,000 later that year for service in the Mexican War as a stores ship. She was delivered on 8 December and renamed and commissioned on the 19th. After her war service, in late November 1847, the Supply set out for the Levant with Lieutenant William F. Lynch’s expedition to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea on board.
In late 1849, she assisted with the migration to California in the wake of the gold rush. Her next assignment was to the East India Squadron in support of Commodore Matthew C. Perry’s Japan expedition. The Supply entered Edo (Tokyo) Bay on 13 February 1854 during the commodore’s second visit to Japan.