In the 18th century and most of the 19th, a sloop-of-war in the Royal Navy was a warship with a single gun deck that carried up to eighteen guns. The rating system covered all vessels with 20 guns and above; thus, the term sloop-of-war encompassed all the unrated combat vessels, including the very small gun-brigs and cutters. In technical terms, even the more specialized bomb vessels and fireships were classed as sloops-of-war, and in practice these were employed in the sloop role when not carrying out their specialized functions.
In World War I and World War II, the Royal Navy reused the term “sloop” for specialized convoy-defense vessels, including the Flower class of World War I and the highly successful Black Swan class of World War II, with anti-aircraft and anti-submarine capability.
USS Contoocook was a screw sloop-of-war built for the United States Navy during the American Civil War. She is named for a river and village in New Hampshire. She was launched 3 December 1864 at Portsmouth Navy Yard and commissioned 14 March 1868, Captain George Balch in command.
Her first cruise, as flagship of the North Atlantic Squadron, took her to the West Indies where she patrolled extensively for the protection of American interests during 1868 and 1869. Her name was changed to Albany on 15 May 1869. After another cruise to the West Indies in the fall of that year, Albany was placed out of commission on 7 January 1870. She served as a quarantine ship at New York until sold on 12 December 1872.
Being named for a village in New Hampshire, the Antiquarian Society in Hopkinton, NH was able to secure the original flag and is on display at their facility.
The USS Albany Heritage Exhibit committee had contacted the Antiquarian Society and was able to get approval to reproduce the flag for the current USS Albany Exhibit in Albany New York. The following will show the original flag on display in NH, flag dimensions and the reproduced flag currently on the display at the USS Albany Heritage Exhibit
Original Flag on display
Replicated Contoocook Flag
American Society Location