USS Swatara (1873)

Last updated

Uss swatara 1872.jpg
USS Swatara rigged for mourning in 1885 at the funeral of President Ulysses S. Grant.
History
US flag 44 stars.svgUnited States
Name: USS Swatara
Namesake: Swatara Creek in Pennsylvania
Operator: United States Navy
Launched: 18 September 1873
Commissioned: 11 May 1874
Decommissioned: 7 February 1891
Fate: Sold for scrap, 2 November 1896
Notes: Complete re-build of USS Swatara (1865)
General characteristics
Type: Screw sloop
Tonnage: 1,900 long tons (1,930 t)
Length: 216 ft (66 m)
Beam: 37 ft (11 m)
Draught: 16 ft 6 in (5.03 m)
Speed: 10.2 knots (18.9 km/h; 11.7 mph)
Complement: 230 officers and crew
Armament:
  • 6 × 9 in (230 mm) smoothbore guns
  • 1 × 8 in (200 mm) rifle
  • 1 × 30-pounder gun

As part of the Secretary of the Navy George M. Robeson's plans to overhaul and modernize ships of the Navy, the first USS Swatara was taken to the New York Navy Yard in 1872, ostensibly for "repairs". In fact, the "repairs" constituted construction of a new ship, for Swatara was given a new hull and unused machinery which had been in storage since 1865. Embodying only certain fittings and equipment from the first ship, the second Swatara was launched on 17 September 1873 at the New York Navy Yard and commissioned on 11 May 1874, Capt. Ralph Chandler in command.

Contents

Service history

1874–1878

Departing New York on 8 June, Swatara transported five scientific parties to the South Pacific to observe the transit of Venus. Swatara debarked the first team at Kerguelen Island in September 1874, then at Hobart, Tasmania, on 1 October 1874 before touching at Queenstown, Tasmania; New Zealand; and Chatham Island. She returned all but one of the parties (the Kerguelen party being picked up by USS Monongahela), to Melbourne early in 1875 and eventually arrived at New York on 31 May 1875 via the Cape of Good Hope. Assigned to the North Atlantic Squadron, Swatara cruised in Atlantic and Caribbean waters into 1878. While anchored in a harbor of Pará, Brazil, on 1 December 1875, Captain of the Top Michael Deneef jumped overboard and rescued a shipmate from drowning, for which he was later awarded the Medal of Honor. [1]

In 1877, the ship was ordered to Baltimore, Maryland along with the Powhatan, on a peacekeeping mission following the city's riots, which occurred as part of the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. [2]

Entering the Boston Navy Yard on 1 August 1878, Swatara was decommissioned on 5 November and placed in reserve.

1879–1886

Swatara was recommissioned on 24 December 1879 at Boston Navy Yard and departed on 21 January 1880 for the Far East. She visited numerous Mediterranean ports and transited the Suez Canal, eventually arriving at Hong Kong on 17 April 1880. May 19, 1882 1882 - Commodore Robert W. Shufeldt, on board USS Swatara, arrives in Korea to negotiate the first commerce treaty between Korea and a Western power. The treaty is signed on May 22, opening Korea to United States trade. Swatara called at many east Asian ports during her Asiatic Squadron duty, including long stays at Shanghai, Chefoo, and Yokohama. Departing from Yokohama on 7 July 1882, Swatara headed for home waters, via the Cape of Good Hope, and arrived at Hampton Roads on 4 December 1882 for overhaul.

Subsequently ordered to join the North Atlantic Squadron, Swatara cruised in the West Indies from January to April 1883, and arrived at Aspinwall, Colombia (now Colón, Panama), on 1 May. She sailed for Florida and reached Key West on 24 May. Ordered to the New York Navy Yard for repairs, Swatara arrived on 7 June and was ready for sea again on 23 August. After cruising off the Massachusetts coast, she was ordered southward to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She remained in the Caribbean until April 1884, returning to Key West on 28 April. She cruised off the east coast of the United States into September, and then took part in squadron maneuvers in Narragansett Bay.

During September 1885, escorted by USS Yantic, she transported a cargo of gold bullion from New Orleans to Washington, D.C. In early 1886, she was assigned hydrographic duties fixing locations on the Puerto Rican coast. After subsequently cruising as far north as Halifax, Nova Scotia, Swatara arrived at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H., where she was decommissioned on 27 October 1886.

1888–1896

Recommissioned there on 1 March 1888, Swatara was assigned to the South Atlantic Squadron. She visited Argentine and Uruguayan ports before putting into Port Stanley, Falkland Islands, on 8 January 1889. Reassigned to the Asiatic Squadron, Swatara departed from Port Stanley on 11 March 1889 for Cape Horn and the Pacific. Arriving at Hong Kong, Swatara departed on 23 November to visit Chinese and Japanese ports. Remaining on the Asiatic station into the following year, Swatara was flagship for Rear Admiral George Belknap, Commander-in-Chief, Asiatic Fleet, from 4 October 1890 until the ship was ordered home later in the month. Swatara stood out from Yokohama harbor on 29 October and arrived at San Francisco on 30 November. Subsequently transferred to the Mare Island Navy Yard on 6 December, Swatara was decommissioned there on 7 February 1891.

Designated "in ordinary" at Mare Island, Swatara's battery was landed, and she remained inactive into 1896. Ordered sold by an act dated 10 June 1896, Swatara was struck from the Navy list on 29 July and sold at public auction on 2 November to the Johnson Wrecking Co. of San Francisco, Calif., for scrapping.

Related Research Articles

USS <i>Buffalo</i> (1893)

The second USS Buffalo was an auxiliary cruiser of the United States Navy, and later a destroyer tender.

The first USS Shenandoah was a wooden screw sloop of the United States Navy.

USS <i>Minneapolis</i> (C-13)

The first USS Minneapolis (C-13/CA-17) was a United States Navy Columbia-class protected cruiser. She was named for the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

USS <i>Ticonderoga</i> (1862)

The second USS Ticonderoga was a 2526-ton Lackawanna-class screw sloop-of-war laid down by the New York Navy Yard in 1861; launched on 16 October 1862; sponsored by Miss Katherine Heaton Offley; and commissioned at New York on 12 May 1863, Commodore J. L. Lardner in command.

USS <i>Philip</i> (DD-76)

The first USS Philip (DD–76) was a Wickes-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War I, later transferred to the Royal Navy as HMS Lancaster. She was named for John Woodward Philip.

USS <i>Marion</i> (1839)

USS Marion was a sloop-of-war of the third rate in the Union Navy during the American Civil War launched at the Boston Navy Yard on 24 April 1839. On 10 November 1839, she departed Boston on her first cruise, to Brazil. Sunk when heaved down in the harbor at Rio de Janeiro early in 1842, she was raised and sailed back to Boston, arriving in May. She then set sail for the Caribbean, returning in May 1843. For the next few years, she remained in ordinary at Boston and then cruised off the West Coast of Africa and in the Mediterranean until 1848. She captured the Casket, a slaver, near Cabinda on 2 August 1846. After a tour in the East Indies from 1850–52, she resumed operations with the African Squadron from 1853–55 and 1858-60, capturing three more slaving ships: Brothers off Mayumba on 8 September 1858 and Orion and Ardennes in late April 1859 off the coast of Kongo. 1856-57 was spent in ordinary at Norfolk.

USS <i>Pensacola</i> (1859)

The first USS Pensacola was a screw steamer that served in the United States Navy during the U.S. Civil War.

USS <i>St. Lawrence</i> (1848)

USS St. Lawrence was a frigate in the United States Navy that saw service during the mid-19th century, including the American Civil War. She was based on the same plans as USS Brandywine.

USS <i>Passaic</i> (1862)

The first Passaic was a single turreted, coastal monitor purchased by the United States Navy for service during the American Civil War.

USS <i>Lancaster</i> (1858)

The first USS Lancaster was a screw sloop-of-war in the United States Navy during the American Civil War through the Spanish–American War.

USS Germantown was a United States Navy sloop-of-war in commission for various periods between 1847 and 1860. She saw service in the Mexican–American War in 1847–1848 and during peacetime operated in the Caribbean, in the Atlantic Ocean off Africa and South America, and in East Asia. Scuttled at the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, she was captured and refloated by the Confederate States of America and placed in service with the Confederate States Navy as the floating battery CSS Germantown before again being scuttled in 1862.

USS <i>Richmond</i> (1860)

USS Richmond was a wooden steam sloop in the United States Navy during the American Civil War.

USS <i>Alert</i> (AS-4) Iron-hulled screw steamer gunboat in the United States Navy

The third USS Alert was an iron-hulled screw steamer gunboat in the United States Navy. The lead ship in her class, Alert was destined for a long naval career, serving from 1875 to 1922, a period of 47 years, including service as a submarine tender in World War I. Toward the end of her career she received the designation AS-4.

The first USS Mohican was a steam sloop-of-war in the United States Navy during the American Civil War. She was named for the Mohican tribe.

USS <i>Tuscarora</i> (1861)

The first USS Tuscarora was a sloop of war in the United States Navy during the American Civil War.

USS <i>Juniata</i> (1862)

The first USS Juniata was a sloop of war in the United States Navy during the American Civil War.

USS <i>Jamestown</i> (1844)

The first USS Jamestown was a sloop-of-war in the United States Navy during the Mexican–American War and the American Civil War.

The first USS Swatara was a wooden, screw sloop in the United States Navy. She was named for Swatara Creek in Pennsylvania.

<i>Miantonomoh</i>-class monitor

The Miantonomoh class consisted of four monitors built for the Union Navy during the U.S. Civil War, but only one ship was completed early enough to participate in the war. They were broken up in 1874–1875.

USS <i>Alaska</i> (1868)

The first USS Alaska was a wooden-hulled screw sloop of war, built at the Boston Navy Yard and named for the then-newly acquired territory. The ship was launched on 31 October 1868 and sponsored by Miss Grace Hull, the daughter of Mayor Liverus Hull of Charlestown, Boston. Alaska was commissioned on 8 December 1869, with Commander Homer C. Blake in command.

References

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships .The entry can be found here.

  1. "Medal of Honor Recipients – Interim Awards, 1871–1898". Medal of Honor Citations. United States Army Center of Military History. 5 August 2010. Retrieved 6 August 2010.
  2. Fifth Regiment Infantry, Md. Nat. Guard, U. S. Volunteer. A History of the Regiment from Its First Organization to the Present Time (PDF). Geo A. Meekins. 1889. p. 105.