SS Sappho prior to her United States Navy service.
|Career (United States)|
|Namesake:||Sappho, a 5th-century BC Greek poetess (previous name retained)|
|Builder:||New England Shipbuilding Company, Bath, Maine|
|Acquired:||6 August 1918|
|Commissioned:||20 August 1918|
|Decommissioned:||18 February 1919|
|Fate:||Returned to owner 18 February 1919|
|Notes:||In commercial service as ferry steamer SS Sappho 1886-1918 anf from 1919|
|Tonnage:||275 gross tons|
|Length:||149 ft 9.5 in (45.657 m)|
|Beam:||28 ft 9.5 in (8.776 m)|
|Draft:||10 ft (3.0 m)|
|Speed:||15 knots (maximum)|
Sappho was built in 1886 as a the wooden-hulled commercial ferry steamer SS Sappho at Bath, Maine, by New England Shipbuilding Company. The U.S. Navy acquired her from her owner, William C. Sproul of Chester, Pennsylvania, for World War I service on 6 August 1918 and commissioned her on 20 August 1918 as USS Sappho with Boatswain D. Sullivan, USNRF, in command.
Sappho was assigned to the 4th Naval District for local transport duty, providing transportation between the Philadelphia Navy Yard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and nearby ports in New York and New Jersey.
Five days after Sappho was commissioned, SS Delaware accidentally rammed her on 25 August 1918. Repairs were complete by 20 October 1918, allowing Sappho to resume transport service.