The third Essex, a wooden-screw steamer, was built by the United States at East Boston, Massachusetts, and was commissioned on October 3, 1876 with Commander W. S. Schley as the commanding officer.
The new USS Essex reported to the North Atlantic Squadron. During the following year Essex cruised to Liberia and the west coast of Africa and in 1878-79 joined the South Atlantic Squadron. She sailed on the Pacific Station from November 1881 to December 1882, during which she recued Captain S. H. Morrison and crew members of the shipwrecked Ranier. In October 1886 Essex anchored at Ponape, Caroline Islands, to protect American missionaries during a native uprising. She then returned to New York and was placed out of commission in May 1889.
Essex was designated next as a training ship. She logged a cruise with Annapolis cadets in 1893 and tours to train naval apprentices in 1894, 1898 and 1903. Essex was lent to the Naval Militia of Ohio (1904-16) and served in the Ninth Naval District from 1917 to 1926. The Naval Reserve of Minnesota used her as a training ship from 1927 through 1930 when she was stricken from the Navy List. She was sold on 23 December 1930.
For more detailed history on the third USS Essex visit the Navy Archive page at http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/e5/essex-iii.htm.