HMS Scorpion (1863)

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HMS Scorpion, an ironclad turret ship built at Birkenhead, England, was one of two sister ships that the Confederate States of America secretly ordered from the Laird shipyard in 1862. To conceal her true ownership, all concerned endorsed the fiction that she was being constructed as the Egyptian warship El Tousson. She was to have been named North Carolina upon delivery to the Confederates. The British government seized the pair of ironclads in October 1863, a few months after their launch and before they could be completed.

British service

In early 1864, the Admiralty purchased both for the Royal Navy and named them Scorpion and Wivern. Commissioned in July 1865, Scorpion was assigned to the Channel Fleet until 1869, with time out for a refit that reduced her sailing rig from a bark to a schooner. In late 1869, she moved to Bermuda for coast and harbor defense service. Scorpion remained there for over three decades before being removed from the effective list.


Scorpion was sunk as a target in 1901 but raised the next year and sold in February 1903. She was lost at sea while under tow to the U.S., where she was to be scrapped.

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