The ship was decommissioned and recommissioned several times before being recommissioned in 1857. In the Civil War, it did duty by California and searched for the CSS Shenandoah at the end of the war.
After the war, it operated off the California coast.
It was wrecked at 8:40 a.m. on June 18, 1875, on the submerged Ripple Rock in the Seymour Narrows of the Discovery Passage. This rock is just nine feet below the water at low tide (the Saranac drew 17 feet). Since the Saranac's wreck, at least 20 large ships and 100 smaller ones have fallen victim to it from 1875 to 1958.
This is on the Campbell River. The Saranac had been collecting natural curiosities for the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition when it ran into the rock. The bow of the ship was then run into Vancouver Island's shore and a hawser tied to a tree on it, but within an hour, the ship had sunk completely from sight.
Lt. Cmdr Sanders, the pilot and 13 men made their way on foot to Victoria.