Warship Wednesday, June 20

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take out every Wednesday for a look at the old steampunk navies of the 1866-1938 time period and will profile a different ship each week.

– Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday,  June 20

Here we have the Here we see  the Annapolis-class gunboat USS Vicksburg. The U. S. Navy gunboats Annapolis, Vicksburg, Newport, and Princeton were authorized in 1895. Their functions were to show the flag and keep order in foreign ports, in keeping with the “gunboat diplomacy” policy of the period. They were attractive ships, with fine lines, composite construction (wood planks on steel frames), vertical triple-expansion engines, and three-masted barkentine rigs for economical operation over great distances

Specs (1900)
Displacement:     1,010 long tons (1,030 t)
Length:     204 ft 5 in (62.31 m)
Beam:     36 ft (11 m)
Draft:     12 ft 9 in (3.89 m)
Installed power:     1,118 ihp (834 kW)
Propulsion:     1 × triple expansion steam engine
1 × screw
Speed:     Under Steam: 13 kn (15 mph; 24 km/h)
Under Sail: 6.5 kn (7.5 mph; 12.0 km/h)
Complement:     143
Armament:     6 × 4 in (100 mm) guns
4 × 6-pounder (57 mm (2.24 in)) rapid-fire guns
2 × 1-pounder (37 mm (1.46 in)) rapid fire guns
1 × Colt machine gun

In her time with the Navy, from the date of her acquisition on 27 June 1897 until she was transferred to the US Coast Guard 18 August 1922, a span of just slightly over 25 years, she was decommissioned and recommissioned a total of four times. She spent  a total of just 11 of those 25 years on active service. However the service she did see, was very active indeed.

In the Spanish American War she blockaded the Cuban coast and captured the blockade runners Oriente, Ampala, and Fernandito in addition to exchanging shots with Havana’s shore batteries. She assisted the US Army in the occupation and pacifcation of the Philippines including capturing the Philippine president, Emilio Aguinaldo, at Palanan, Isabela in March 1901. She watched the Russian cruiser Varyag (see Warship Weds June 13) destroyed at Inchon during the Russo-Japanese War. She patrolled the coast of central America and Mexico during the Mexican revolutions and intervened in Nicaragua where she landed marines. During World War One she captured the German schooner and alleged surface raider Alexander Agassiz in the Pacific in 1917.

Plan of the Hamilton 1922. Note the 4-inch and 6-pdrs still aboard. USCG Historians Office plan

She then found herself transferred to the USCG in 1922 for use as a sail training ship at the US Coast Guard Academy (a task that the USCGC Eagle performs to this day.) She carried the name USCGC Alexander Hamilton from 1922 until 1936. After that she was simply reassigned as a station ship with a number and no name. She finished her career as a unmanned and unarmed training platform in Curtis Bay where she trained World War Two coasties how to fix things until December 1944.

The Hamilton at sea, 1978 painting at USCG Museum

She was given back  to the US Navy 12 March 1945 at just over 47-years young who held on to her for a year. On 28 March 1946, the old gunboat was turned over to the War Shipping Administration and her ultimate fate is unknown.

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