What did the CSS Sea Bird look like?

Two drawings of the Sea Bird appeared in the illustrated weeklies following her sinking during the battle of Elizabeth City. The first one (above) is the most authentic looking. It shows a side-wheeler, which the Sea Bird was. It doesn’t show a walking-beam engine, however.

The picture above shows a screw propeller steamer rather than a side-wheeler. The backgrounds for both drawings are fictional. The USS Commodore Perry, which rammed and sank the Sea Bird, was a converted NY ferryboat that had no masts for sails and no guns mounted in broadside. Her guns were mounted on her front and rear decks.


The above drawing by Kazimierz Zygadlo is a pretty good approximation of what the Sea Bird actually looked like. She would have looked similar to the USS Ceres, the Seth Low, and USS I.N. Seymour, other ships built in Keyport, NJ, by Terry Shipbuilding.