Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Figure 1: USS Annapolis (PG-10) docked at the New York Navy Yard, circa 1897. The decommissioned USS Atlanta lies in the background (left). US Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: USS Annapolis (PG-10) in wartime gray paint, 1898. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: Mare Island Navy Yard, California. An early U.S. Navy submarine (probably Grampus or Pike) underway off the yard, circa early 1905. Gunboats Petrel and Princeton are in the center background. At left are the decommissioned gunboats Annapolis and Vicksburg. Courtesy of Ted Stone, 1986. US Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: Broadside view of USS Annapolis (PG-10) at the coal sheds at Mare Island in 1905. US Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: Broadside view of USS Annapolis in the Mare Island channel in 1912. US Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: Broadside view of USS Annapolis off San Francisco in 1912. US Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: Broadside view of USS Annapolis circa 1912 in the Mare Island channel. US Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 8: View of USS Annapolis circa 1934. US Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Named after the capital of Maryland, USS Annapolis (PG-10) was a 1,153-ton barkentine-rigged gunboat that was built at Elizabethport, New Jersey, and was commissioned at New York on 20 July 1897. The ship was approximately 203 feet long and 36 feet wide, had a top speed of 13.17 knots, and had a crew of 133 officers and men. Annapolis was armed with six 4-inch guns and four 6-pounders.
After her shakedown cruise, Annapolis participated in training exercises along America’s east coast and in the Caribbean. In March 1898, she joined the North Atlantic Fleet and on 18 April she left New York and arrived at Key West, Florida, on 25 April. On that day, President William McKinley signed a joint resolution of Congress that formally declared war on Spain. Annapolis made a round-trip voyage from Key West to Tampa and back before joining the US naval blockade of Cuba on 2 May. After participating in the blockade of Havana for 19 days, Annapolis assisted the gunboat USS Mayflower in capturing the Spanish sailing ship Santiago Apostol, which was carrying a load of fish bound for Havana.
Annapolis left Cuban waters on 21 May and spent eight days in Key West and then two weeks at Tampa before returning to the Cuban blockade at Daiquiri on 22 June. On 29 June, while steaming off the coast of Guantanamo Bay, Annapolis, along with the USS Ericsson and USS Marblehead, were involved in an international incident when they captured the British steamer Adula. Adula, then under charter to a Spanish subject, was seized for attempting to run the blockade established at Guantanamo Bay and was subsequently sent to the port of Savannah for adjudication. Adula, a vessel of 372 tons, was built at Belfast in 1889 for her owner, the Atlas Steamship Company, Limited, a British corporation, and was registered in the name of its managing director, Sir William Bowers Forwood. Prior to the Spanish-American War, she was engaged in general trade between Kingston and other ports on the coast of Jamaica, and from time to time had made voyages to Cuban ports. After the war began, various persons chartered the steamer for voyages to Cuba. Adula eventually was released from American custody after the war ended.
On 13 July, Annapolis shelled an enemy shore battery at Baracoa, situated on Cuba’s northeastern coastline. On 18 July, Annapolis was ordered to assist in the capture of Bahia de Nipe, located approximately 90 miles from Baracoa. She joined USS Wasp, USS Leyden, and USS Topeka on 21 July and the ships successfully navigated their way through a known minefield to get into Bahia de Nipe Bay. The four American warships encountered some cannon fire from shore while entering the port, but they quickly silenced it with their own guns. They also sank the Spanish gunboat Jorge Juan, which was lying at anchor near shore. The American ships formally captured Bahia de Nipe and assisted in the removal of mines from the bay itself. Annapolis left Bahia de Nipe on 22 July and was ordered to sail to Puerto Rico, where she assisted the US Army in capturing the city of Ponce on 30 July. Annapolis remained on station off the coast of Puerto Rico for the rest of the war, with the exception of a brief trip to St. Thomas in the Danish West Indies before the war ended.
After cruising along the coast of New England and the West Indies for several months, Annapolis was decommissioned on 5 September 1899. The gunboat was re-commissioned 14 November 1900 and was sent to the Far East via the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean. Annapolis arrived at Cavite in the Philippines on 24 April 1901 and stayed there for the next three years. In 1903, Annapolis joined the US Navy’s Far Eastern Fleet and visited ports in China, Japan, and Formosa before returning to Cavite on 19 November. After spending several months in the Philippines and making another brief visit to China, Annapolis left for the United States on 2 June 1904.
Annapolis arrived at the Mare Island, California, Navy Yard later that summer and was decommissioned. She underwent a major overhaul but was not placed back in commission until 25 March 1907. The gunboat left San Francisco on 5 April and sailed to American Samoa, arriving there on 22 May. She became the station ship there and stayed until 9 September 1911, when she was ordered back to the United States. Annapolis arrived at San Francisco on 9 October and entered the Mare Island Navy Yard that same day. She was decommissioned yet again on 16 December 1911.
Annapolis was re-commissioned at Mare Island on 1 May 1912 and on 21 May was ordered to steam along the coast of Nicaragua, which was in the midst of serious political turmoil at that time. The gunboat remained in Central American waters for several months, patrolling off the coasts of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. But most of her time was spent at Corinto, Nicaragua, where landing parties were sent ashore to restore order and to protect American lives and property. Annapolis left Nicaragua on 9 December and returned to San Francisco, arriving there on 30 December 1912. As usual, she entered the Mare Island Navy Yard for repairs.
After completing her repairs, Annapolis left Mare Island on 20 January 1913 and returned to Central America on 7 February. She spent some time at Amapala, Honduras, on 17 February and returned to Nicaragua on 10 March. After making another brief visit to Amapala, Annapolis sailed to Mexico. At this time, Mexico was in the midst of a major civil war and, for the next six years, Annapolis patrolled the Mexican coastline to protect American lives and property and to assist any US citizens that needed to be evacuated from that troubled country. During this six-year period, Annapolis returned occasionally to California for overhauls, supplies, and training exercises.
In June 1918, Annapolis transited the Panama Canal and steamed to her new base at New Orleans, Louisiana. She patrolled the Gulf of Mexico until 25 April 1919 and returned to the west coast in May. On 1 July 1919, Annapolis was decommissioned at Mare Island and in 1920 was towed to Philadelphia where she was given to the Pennsylvania State Nautical School on 1 April. The old gunboat served as a school ship for the next 20 years. Finally, on 30 June 1940, USS Annapolis was struck from the Navy list and was transferred to the Maritime Commission for disposal and eventual scrapping. It was the end of an impressive career for a ship that served this nation for an amazing 43 years.
Posted by Remo at 9:21 AM
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Figure 1: USS Quiros (PG-40) photographed circa 1900-1923. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: USS Quiros (PG-40) at Ichang, China, 8 December 1922. Donation of C. Kauffman, 1977. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Quiros was a 350-ton schooner-rigged gunboat that was laid down for the Spanish Navy at the Whampoa Dock Company, Hong Kong, China, in June 1894 and was launched in early 1895. The ship was captured by the US Army at Manila in 1898 during the Spanish-American War and was acquired by the US Navy on 21 February 1900. The gunboat was commissioned as the USS Quiros at the Cavite Navy Yard on 14 March 1900. Quiros was approximately 145 feet long and 22 feet wide, had a top speed of 11 knots, and had a crew of 57 officers and men. The ship was armed with two 6-pounder guns and two 3-pounders.
Quiros’ primary mission was to support the US Army in defeating the rebellion in the Philippines. The gunboat steamed along the east coast of Luzon transporting troops, providing gunfire support, blockading rebel villages, and making hydrographic surveys. Quiros then supported the army off the coast of Samar until 6 October 1901. After an overhaul at the Cavite Navy Yard that lasted from 25 February to 7 May 1902, Quiros was ordered to patrol the waters off Zamboanga for several months, acting primarily as a troops transport for the Army and the Marines. She eventually returned to Cavite and was decommissioned on 29 January 1904.
Quiros was re-commissioned on 2 September 1904 and, after a brief assignment with the Philippine Squadron, was sent to China and arrived at Shanghai on 3 August 1905. She steamed along the Chinese coast as far as Chefoo and then went up the Yangtze River, making several trips to Hankow and even going as far as Ichang, which was approximately 900 miles inland. On 27 February 1908, Quiros was ordered back to Cavite, arriving there on 8 March and then was decommissioned three days later.
The useful gunboat was again re-commissioned on 11 October 1910 and patrolled the coastline of the Philippines for more than a year. On 11 November 1911, Quiros steamed first to Amoy and then went to Shanghai where she joined the Yangtze Patrol. Quiros remained with the Yangtze Patrol for the rest of her career, carrying supplies, providing security for merchant ships that steamed on the Yangtze River, and protecting American lives and property along the river. The gunboat was interned at Shanghai on 5 May 1917 after America entered World War I, but an international agreement on the protection of nationals in China allowed Quiros to resume operations in August. USS Quiros was decommissioned for the last time at Shanghai on 10 August 1923 and was sunk as a target ship off the coast of China on 16 October 1923.
Even though originally built for the Spanish Navy, USS Quiros provided the US Navy with more than 23 years of useful service. Evidently, well-built warships will always last a long time, regardless of what navy they are in.
Posted by Remo at 8:31 AM
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Figure 1: USS Hopewell (DD-181) at anchor, 15 November 1919. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: USS Hopewell (DD-181) photographed circa 1919-1920. Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1973. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: USS Hopewell (DD-181) anchored in a harbor, circa 1919-1920, with other destroyers. USS Bagley (DD-185) is at left. Courtesy of Leonard R. Efrein, 1972. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: The destroyer HMS Bath (ex-USS Hopewell, DD-181) early in her Royal Navy career while operating with the 1st Minelaying Squadron, based at HMS Trelawney, the Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland, circa 1940. Courtesy Robert Hurst. Click on photograph for larger image.
Named after Midshipman Pollard Hopewell who was killed on board the USS Chesapeake during the war of 1812, USS Hopewell (DD-181) was a 1,090-ton Wickes class destroyer that was built at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Virginia, and was commissioned on 22 March 1919. The ship was approximately 314 feet long and 31 feet wide, had a top speed of 35 knots, and had a crew of 101 officers and men. Hopewell was armed initially with four 4-inch guns, two 3-inch guns, and four 21-inch torpedo tubes, although this armament changed slightly later on in her career.
On 19 April 1919, Hopewell joined the Third Destroyer Squadron (which was based in New England) and in May was assigned to an observation station off the Azores during the historic trans-Atlantic flight by US Navy seaplanes. Hopewell returned to New York on 8 June to complete her fitting out and then rejoined her destroyer squadron in August. During the winter of 1920, Hopewell was assigned to training and naval exercises in the Caribbean.
Hopewell returned to New England in May and remained there until September, primarily training reservists and participating in division naval maneuvers. She then was sent to Charleston, South Carolina, in September and carried out similar duties there until returning to New York in May 1921 for reserve training. Generally inactive after October 1921, Hopewell was decommissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 17 July 1922 and stayed there for almost 18 years.
As a response to the start of World War II in Europe on 1 September 1939, Hopewell was re-commissioned on 17 June 1940. During the summer of 1940, she was assigned to Neutrality Patrols off the coast of New England. On 18 September, Hopewell arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she was decommissioned on 23 September 1940 and transferred to Great Britain as part of the “Destroyers for Bases” agreement. Renamed HMS Bath, she initially was assigned to the 1st Minelaying Squadron based in Scotland. Bath served with the Royal Navy until April 1941, when she was given to the Royal Norwegian Navy and named HNoMS Bath.
HNoMS Bath was assigned to the “Liverpool Escort Force” in early June 1941 and on 18 August she was escorting convoy OG-71, which had left Liverpool and was bound for Gibraltar. Bath, under the command of Lieutenant Commander C.F.T. Melsom, RNoN, was detached from the convoy and was sent behind the convoy to look for stragglers. Bath was steaming approximately 400 miles southwest of Ireland when the German submarine U-204 spotted her. Shortly after 2:00 AM on 19 August, U-204 fired a torpedo at the destroyer and hit it directly amidships. The ship sank in only six minutes, capsizing to port. As the ship went down, her depth charges exploded and killed the captain and many other survivors who were swimming in the water. Of the enlarged wartime crew of 124 officers and men, only 41 survived and were picked up by two Royal Navy warships. The survivors were taken to Gibraltar, but two of them died of their wounds along the way.
With the USS Hopewell in “mothballs” for almost 18 years, the nearly obsolete destroyer’s brief wartime career showed how desperate the Allies were for ocean-going escorts and her tragic end showed just how dangerous the modern U-boat war could be.
Posted by Remo at 8:25 AM
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Figure 1: USS Topeka (1898-1930) off the New York Navy Yard, 1898. The receiving ship USS Vermont is visible at right, beyond Topeka's bow. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: USS Topeka (1898-1930) off the New York Navy Yard, 1898. Courtesy of Howard I. Chapelle, Smithsonian Institution. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: USS Topeka (1898-1930) at anchor in 1898. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: USS Topeka (1898-1930) halftone of a photograph taken in 1898, at the time of the Spanish-American War. Copied from "The New Navy of the United States," by N.L. Stebbins, (New York, 1912). Donation of David Shadell, 1987. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: USS Topeka (1898-1930) at the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, 30 June 1898. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: USS Topeka (1898-1930) at Algiers, Algeria, circa late 1900. Photographed by J. Geiser, Algiers. The original photograph is printed on silk. Collection of Rear Admiral William C. Braisted, USN(MC). Courtesy of Dr. William R. Braisted. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: USS Topeka (1898-1930) photograph copyrighted by Enrique Muller, 1904, showing the ship anchored in Long Island Sound, New York. USS Prairie is in the left background. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 8: USS Topeka (1898-1930) color-tinted postcard of a photograph copyrighted by Enrique Muller, 1905. It shows Topeka at anchor in Long Island Sound, New York, circa 1904. Ships present in the background include USS Prairie (left) and a torpedo-boat destroyer (right). U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 9: View of the Boston Navy Yard waterfront, Charlestown, Massachusetts, circa 1900. Ships present include, from left to right: USS Olympia, USS Topeka, and USS Constitution. Note the boats in the foreground. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Named after the capital of Kansas, USS Topeka was a 2,755-ton gunboat that originally was built in 1881 for Peru as the steamer Diogenes by George Howaldt at Kiel, Germany. The ship never entered service and eventually was acquired by the Thames Iron Works, London, England. On 2 April 1898, after almost 20 years of inactivity, the ship was purchased by the US Navy just prior to America’s entry into the Spanish-American War. The ship was named USS Topeka and was placed in commission that same day. The unarmed steamer left Falmouth, England, on 19 April and arrived at Tompkinsville, NY, on 1 May. The next day she was sent to the New York Navy Yard to be converted into a gunboat. After a complete overhaul lasting almost two months, the gunboat was ready for action. Topeka was approximately 259 feet long and 35 feet wide, had a top speed of 16 knots, and had a crew of 167 officers and men. She was armed with six 4-inch guns, six 3-pounders, two 1-pounders, and one Colt machine gun.
Topeka left New York on 30 June 1898 and, after stopping for five days at Key West, Florida, she continued her journey south to join the American naval blockade of Cuba. On 11 July, Topeka joined the blockade of Havana and then was sent to patrol the coast of Bahia de Nipe, in northeastern Cuba. On 17 July, Topeka and USS Maple captured the Spanish sloop Domingo Aurelio off Bahia de Nipe and four days later Topeka, along with USS Annapolis, USS Wasp, and USS Leyden, were ordered to attack Bahia de Nipe. The four American warships encountered some cannon fire from shore while entering the port, but they quickly silenced it with their own guns. They also sank the Spanish gunboat Jorge Juan, which was lying at anchor near shore. Once the port was captured, Topeka was sent to Key West with dispatches, but she returned to Cuba on 28 July and remained there until 5 August, when she was sent back to Key West. The gunboat made one more trip to Cuba on 14 August before being ordered back to the United States.
In late 1898 and early 1899, Topeka patrolled the Caribbean and then was placed in reserve at the Boston Navy Yard. In August 1900, the gunboat was re-commissioned as a training ship and was equipped with a sailing rig to give new sailors experience in both sail and steam power. She was assigned to the Mediterranean from November 1900 to early January 1901 and then steamed to the Azores and the West Indies. Topeka was assigned to the Caribbean region for the next five years, protecting American lives and property in such trouble spots as Haiti, Venezuela, Santo Domingo, Hispaniola, and the Dominican Republic. In January and February 1904, Topeka steamed along the coast of Panama just after the revolution there separated that new country from Colombia, paving the way for the construction of the Panama Canal.
Topeka was decommissioned at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in September 1905 and remained there as a station ship and as a prison ship for more than 10 years. For a brief time in mid-1916, Topeka acted as a receiving ship at the New York Navy Yard and then returned to Portsmouth, where she was used as a training ship during World War I. After being re-commissioned in March 1919, Topeka spent most of that year patrolling the coast of Mexico. The gunboat underwent a major overhaul at Charleston, South Carolina, in November 1919, and then received the new hull number of PG-35 in July 1920. A year later, Topeka was again re-designated IX-35 and on 1 July 1922, she was put up for sale. But, since no satisfactory bids were made for the ship, Topeka was withdrawn from the market on 29 September. The old gunboat then served as a Naval Reserve training ship at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from July 1923 to 2 December 1929, when she was decommissioned for the last time. Now almost 50 years old, the US Navy struck USS Topeka from the Navy List on 2 January 1930 and she was sold for scrap in May of that same year.
This was an amazing career for a ship that was not originally built to be a gunboat and also languished in a foreign port for almost 20 years before being purchased by the US Navy. Topeka then went on to serve in the US Navy for more than 30 years, a remarkable record considering she almost was obsolete when the Navy purchased her in 1898.
Posted by Remo at 8:35 AM