However, effective Federal diplomacy prevented the emergence of this threat. The British government seized the pair of ironclads in October 1863, a few months after their launch and before they could be completed. In early 1864, both were purchased for the Royal Navy, receiving the new names 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, the ironclad was sent to Bermuda for coast and harbor defense service. Scorpion remained there for over three decades before being removed from the effective list. She was sunk as a target in 1901 but raised the next year and sold in February 1903. The former HMS Scorpion was lost at sea while under tow to the United States, where she was to be scrapped.