On October 27, 1864 LT. William B. Cushing, U.S.N. successfully sank the Confederate ironclad, CSS Albermarle, using a steam powered launch with a spar torpedo. The sinking of an armored warship using a single small craft opened the door to potential of armed small craft in inflicting major damage to larger combatants. Almost immediately after the American Civil War, the U.S. Navy began experimenting with a variety of powered small craft in delivering an explosive warhead to an enemy vessel. The USS Alarm was built in 1873 as part of this test program. As the hazards of spar torpedoes were evident from their use in the Civil War, development of "automotive" torpedoes was begun to allow the crew of the delivering craft to have a greater stand-off from their target when the warhead detonated.
One of the earliest "automotive" torpedoes without a guide wire was the Howell torpedo. It used the energy of a 330 lb. flywheel contained within to drive its twin propellers. A power take-off from the torpedo boat's steam engine would spin the flywheel up then a burst of steam would propel it overboard. The Stiletto, built by famous boat builder Herreshoff Manufacturing, was bought by the U.S. Navy in 1887, fired the Howell torpedo. Later torpedo boats primarily used the Whitehead torpedo which operated using stored compressed air to drive its engine. The first purpose-built torpedo boat and first of its class was the TB-1, the USS Cushing, named for the heroic LT Cushing of Civil War fame and who inspired further use of armed small craft. A total of 35 torpedo boats in varying sizes and capabilities were built between 1890 and 1902. Several saw action in the Spanish-American War in 1898.
Alarm – Experimental Torpedo Boat
Displ: 800; Length: 158'6"; beam: 28'0"; draft: 10'6"; speed: 10 kts.; armament: 1 gun)
Alarm—an experimental torpedo boat constructed at the New York Navy Yard—was launched on 13 November 1873 and commissioned in 1874.
Designed and constructed specifically for the experimental work of the Bureau of Ordnance, Alarm served that purpose at Washington, D.C., until 1877 when she moved north to Newport, R.I., to conduct experiments at the torpedo station. She returned to Washington the following year and resumed special service. In 1880, she began a tour of experimental work at New York which she carried out until she was laid up at Norfolk, Va., in 1883. However, she resumed her research duties at New York in 1884 and served there until she was placed out of commission in 1885 and berthed at New York.
The records are unclear, but Alarm probably remained out of commission from that time forward. In 1890 and 1891, she was undergoing conversion to a gunnery training ship. From 1892 to 1894, she remained at the New York Navy Yard. In 1895, she was listed as "in ordinary;" and, in 1897, her name was struck from the Navy list. She was sold on 23 February 1898.
Displ. 31 ; 1ength: 94'; beam. 11'6"; draft: 5'; speed: 18.2 kts.; crew: 6
Stiletto, a wooden torpedo boat, was launched in 1885 at the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co., Bristol, R.I., as a private speculation; purchased for the United States Navy under an Act of Congress dated 3 March 1887; and entered service in July 1887, attached to the Torpedo Station, Newport, R.I.
Stiletto was the Navy's first torpedo boat capable of launching self-propelled torpedoes. Purchased for experimental evaluation, Stiletto was based throughout her career at Newport, R.I. During 1897, she was modified to burn fuel oil, but results of trials held subsequently were disappointing, and the experiment was not repeated. Stiletto was struck from the Navy list on 27 January 1911 and sold on 18 July 1911 at Newport, R.I., to James F. Nolan of East Boston, Mass., for scrapping.
TB-1 USS Cushing
Displ. 116; length:140'; beam: 15'1"; draft: 4'10"; speed: 23 kts.; crew: 22; armament: 3 6-pdr., 3 torpedo tubes.
The first Cushing (TB-1) was launched 23 January 1890 by Herreshoff Manufacturing Co., Bristol, R.I.; sponsored by Miss K. B. Herreshoff; and commissioned 22 April 1890, Lieutenant C. M. Winslow in command.
The first torpedo boat built for the Navy, Cushing was attached to the Squadron of Evolution and equipped for experimental work to complete the development of torpedo outfits and to gather data for the service. On 8 September 1891 she reported to Newport for duty at the Naval Torpedo Station, and except for a brief period out of commission, 11 November 1891-11 January 1892, Cushing continued her torpedo experiments in this area until 1893.
Cushing arrived at Hampton Roads 31 March 1893 for temporary duty with the Naval Review Fleet, and in April she escorted HMS Blake and HMS Caravels to New York. Cushing returned to duty at Newport 6 May, working with the Whitehead torpedo. Based on Key West from 31 December 1897, Cushing reported to the North Atlantic Fleet's Blockading Force for picket patrol in the Florida Straits and courier duty for the Force. On 11 February 1898 while making a passage to Havana, Cushing lost Ensign J. C. Breckinridge overboard in heavy seas. For their heroic efforts to save him, Gunner's Mate Third Class J. Everetts and Ship's Cook First Class D. Atkins were awarded the Medal of Honor.
Upon the declaration of war between the United States and Spain, Cushing was assigned to patrol the Cays, and on 7 August captured four small vessels and towed them to her anchorage at Piedras Cay. Four days later armed boats from Cushing and Gwin captured and burned a 20-ton schooner. Returning north in August, 1898, Cushing resumed her operations at the Newport Torpedo Station 14 September until decommissioned 8 November 1898. From 1901 to 1911 she was attached to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Norfolk, and was sunk 24 September 1920 after use as a target.
TB-2 USS Ericsson
Displ: 120; length: 149'7"; beam: 15'6"; draft: 4'9"; speed: 24 kts.; crew: 22; armament: 4 1-pdr., 3 18" torpedo tubes; class: Ericsson.
The first Ericsson, Torpedo Boat No. 2, was launched 12 May 1894 by Iowa Iron Works, Dubuque, Iowa; sponsored by Miss Carrie Kiene; and commissioned 18 February 1897, Lieutenant N. R. Usher in command.
On 18 May 1897, Ericsson arrived at Newport, R.I., her home port. Through the summer months, she cruised New England waters for trials and training, instructing regular and reserve officers in torpedo tactics. She left Newport 18 September 1897 for a cruise to Annapolis, Norfolk, Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah, and several ports in Florida, arriving at Key West on the last day of the year. This was to be her base for operations in the Caribbean during the next 7 months.
As war with Spain approached, Ericsson patrolled the Florida Keys, intensified her training operations, and carried messages for the increasing number of the fleet present in the area. She continued this duty after the opening of the war, then on 22 April 1898 began a blockade patrol between Havana and Key West. She joined the fleet at Santiago 20 June, and during the Battle of Santiago, 3 July 1898, was in the thick of the fight, firing on the Spanish fleet. As the defeated Spanish ships blazed and threatened to explode, Ericsson played a leading part in the rescue efforts through which men of the U.S. Navy that day showed their courage, skill, and determination as clearly as they had in the fighting. She laid herself alongside Vizcaya, ignoring the fact that the Spanish ship's ammunition was already exploding, and that flames were firing; the loaded guns. Over a hundred Spanish officers and men were thus saved, and more were taken off the flagship Maria Teresa and Oquendo, as Ericsson towed small craft from her squadron's larger ships to the burning hulks.
Ericsson patrolled off Cuba through mid-August 1898, and on 23 August arrived at New York, where she was decommissioned 21 September 1898 and laid up. In December 1900, she was returned to commission, still in reserve, then sailed for Norfolk, where on 6 March 1901 she was assigned to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla. In October 1908, she moved to Charleston Navy Yard, where she was decommissioned 5 April 1912. She was sunk in ordnance tests.
TB-3 USS Foote
Displ: 142; length: 160'; beam: 16'1"; draft: 5'; crew: 20; speed: 25 kts.; armament: 2 torpedo tubes; class: Foote.
Foote (Torpedo Boat No. 3) was launched 1 October 1896 by Columbian Iron Works and Dry Dock Co., Baltimore, Md.; sponsored by Miss Laura Price; and commissioned 7 August 1897, Lieutenant W. L. Rodgers in command.
After training out of Charleston, S.C., Foote joined the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron at Key West, Fla., 19 March 1898. She served as picket, patrolled, and carried orders from the flagship to ships of the squadron, and from 23 April, patrolled the Cuban coast closely, primarily off the Cardenas entrance to Havana Harbor. On that day, she penetrated the harbor to scout shipping, and was fired upon. Six days later, she herself bombarded Morro Island. Several times during the summer, she returned to Key West to load mail, stores, and despatches for the squadron off Havana, and on 14 August she returned to Charleston, S.C. Foote was out of commission at New York from 28 October 1898 to 9 November 1900, then operated in the Newport-Boston area until placed in reserve at Norfolk 6 March 1901. In 1908 she moved to Charleston.
Detached from the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla 8 June 1910, Foote based on Charleston for the next year, putting to sea only for a 3-week cruise early in 1911. From 27 June 1911 to 15 November 1916, she was assigned to the North Carolina Naval Militia, based at New Bern, then lay at Charleston until returned to full commission 7 April 1917. Through World War I, Foote patrolled the coast of the 6th Naval District; renamed Coast Torpedo Boat No. 1 1 August 1918. She was decommissioned at Philadelphia 28 March 1919, and sold 19 July 1920.
TB-4 USS Rodgers
Displ: 142 (normal); length 160’; beam 16’1”; draft 5’ (mean); speed 25 knots; crew: 20; armament 3 1-pounders, 3 torpedo tubes; class: Foote.
The second Rodgers (TB-4) was laid down by the Columbian Iron Works & Dry Dock Co., Baltimore, Md., 6 May 1896; launched 10 November 1896; and commissioned 2 April 1898, Lt. J. L. Jayne in command.
Fitted out at Norfolk, Rodgers began training in Chesapeake Bay in mid-April. On the 24th Congress declared war on Spain and 5 days later the torpedo boat got underway for the Caribbean. Arriving at Key West 9 May, she joined the blockading vessels off Havana on the 21st; remained with them through the 23d; then sailed to join the fleet cruising off the north coast of Cuba to prevent the Spanish fleet from reaching the blockaded city from the east. Employed primarily as a dispatch boat, she returned to Key West in early June, only to depart again on the 15th to carry mail to the fleet convoying Major General Shafter's army to Santiago. Making rendezvous on the 16th, she remained with the force until the 21st when she moved along the coast to Guantanamo Bay to deliver dispatches. On the 22d she returned to Santiago for picket duty at the harbor entrance, but returned to Guantanamo Bay for repairs 23 June-22 July. A short dispatch run preceded another repair period, 24 July-14 August, by which time Rodgers had received orders back to the United States. At Hampton Roads by the 26th, she continued on to New York, arriving on the 31st for a yard overhaul.
The torpedo boat remained in port for much of the next 8 years, occasionally commissioning for short periods of active duty with the 3d Torpedo Flotilla and the East Coast Squadron. In the spring of 1906 she was transferred to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla and on 1 November she decommissioned at Norfolk.
Shifted to Charleston in 1908, Rodgers was assigned to the Massachusetts Naval Militia 14 May 1910. From 8 June, when she was delivered to that organization, until 1916, she conducted training cruises out of Boston along the southern New England coast. Between 1916 and 1918, she extended her range of operations and performed coastal patrol duties as far north as the Maritime Provinces.
Renamed Coast Torpedo Boat No. 2, 1 August 1918, she was decommissioned for the last time 12 March 1919; struck from the Navy list 28 October 1919; and sold to the U.S. Rail & Salvage Corp., Newburgh, N.Y., in 1920.
TB-5 USS Winslow
Displ: 142 (f.); length: 161'6¾"; beam: 16' ⅜"; draft: 5'0" (mean); speed: 24.82 kts. (tl.) ; crew: 20; armament 3 1-pdrs., 3 18" torpedo tubes; class: Foote.
The first Winslow (Torpedo Boat No. 5) was laid down on 8 May 1896 at Baltimore, Md., by the Columbian Iron Works; launched on 8 May 1897; sponsored by Miss E. H. Hazel; and commissioned on 29 December 1897 at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Lt. John B. Bernadou in command.
On 6 January 1897, Winslow departed Norfolk and proceeded via New York to Newport, R.I., where she loaded torpedoes and drilled her crew in torpedo firing before returning to Hampton Roads on the 30th.
During Winslow's seven-week sojourn at Norfolk, the battleship Maine sank in Havana Harbor; and the United States began drifting steadily closer to war with Spain. On 11 March, Winslow steamed out of Norfolk and headed south to Key West, Fla., a base much nearer the probable theater of operations in the approaching conflict. The warship operated from that port through the remainder of March and the first three weeks in April. On Monday, the 25th, President McKinley reluctantly ratified a joint resolution of Congress which proclaimed that a state of war had existed between the United States and Spain since the previous Thursday.
During the next fortnight, the warship patrolled the northern coast of Cuba near Havana, Cardenas, and Matanzas. Early in the morning of 11 May, Winslow left her blockade station off Matanzas and proceeded to Cardenas to replenish her coal bunkers. Upon reporting to Wilmington (Gunboat No. 8) for that purpose, she was ordered to take on a Cuban pilot and scout the entrance of Cardenas Bay for mines. Winslow then entered the bay in company with the revenue cutter Hudson. The two ships conducted a meticulous search of the channel, found no mines, and returned to Wilmington around noon to make their report. At this point, the commanding officer of Wilmington decided to take his ship—escorted by Winslow and Hudson—into Cardenas harbor in search of three Spanish gunboats reportedly in port. Winslow marked shoal water to Wilmington's portside and, upon reaching a point about 3,000 yards from the city, sighted a small, gray steamer moored alongside the wharf. The torpedo boat received orders to move in closer to determine whether or not the vessel was an enemy warship.
By 1335, Winslow reached a point approximately 1,500 yards from her quarry when a white puff of smoke from the Spaniard's bow gun signaled the beginning of an artillery duel which lasted one hour and 20 minutes. Winslow immediately responded with her 1-pounders, but enemy batteries ashore then entered the fray. The Spanish concentrated their efforts on little Winslow, and she soon received a number of direct hits. The first shot to score on the torpedo boat destroyed both her steam and manual steering gear. While her crew tried to rig some type of auxiliary steering system, Winslow used her propellers to keep her bow gun in position to fire. Then, all at once, she swung broadside to the enemy. Almost immediately, a shot pierced her hull near the engine room and knocked the port main engine out of commission. She maneuvered with her remaining engine to evade enemy fire and maintained a steady return fire with her 1-pounders. At this point, Wilmington and Hudson brought their guns to bear on the Spanish ship and shore batteries, and the combined fire of the three American warships put the Spanish gunboat out of action and caused the shore batteries to slacken fire.
All but disabled, Winslow requested Hudson to tow her out of action. The revenue cutter approached the stricken torpedo boat and rigged a tow line between the two ships. As Hudson began to tow Winslow out to sea, one of the last Spanish shells to strike the torpedo boat hit her near the starboard gun and killed Ens. Worth Bagley who had been helping to direct the warship's maneuvers by carrying instructions from the deck to the base of the engine room ladder. Ens. Bagley had the dubious distinction of being the first naval officer killed in the Spanish-American War; and in memory of his sacrifice and devotion to duty, Torpedo Boat No. 24, Destroyer No. 185, and DD-386 each carried the name, Bagley.
Badly damaged, Winslow was towed clear of the action. Her commanding officer and a number of others in her crew were wounded. Lt. Bernadou saw that the dead and wounded were transferred to Hudson, and he then left the ship himself after turning command over to Chief Gunner's Mate George P. Brady, who—along with Chief Gunner's Mate Hans Jphnsen and Chief Machinist T. C. Cooney—later received the Medal of Honor and was promoted to warrant officer.
The day following the engagement, Winslow arrived at Key West for temporary repairs there and at Mobile, Ala. She returned to Key West for 10 days before sailing north on 16 August. After brief stops at Port Royal, S.C., and at Norfolk, Va., the ship reached New York on 27 August and was placed out of commission at the New York Navy Yard on 7 September 1898 to begin more extensive repairs.
But for a short voyage to Philadelphia in mid-October, Winslow remained inactive until early in 1901, first at New York—in a decommissioned status—and later at the Norfolk Navy Yard where she was officially listed as "in reserve." In any event, the torpedo boat had returned to full commission by 30 June 1901 and—assigned to the Naval Torpedo Station at Newport—spent the next three years training naval officers and enlisted men in the techniques of torpedo firing and helping them to polish their skills in gunnery and shipboard engineering. In all probability, she also participated in some of the work done to improve the "automotive" torpedo.
Information on her activities between July 1904 and February 1906 is extremely sketchy, but she probably spent the majority of that time either in reserve or out of commission at New York. Whatever the case, Wins-low was recommissioned at the New York Navy Yard on 16 February 1906 and steamed south to Norfolk, where she was placed in the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla. Sometime during fiscal year 1909, she was transferred to Charleston, S.C., though she remained in reserve.
On 1 June 1909, the torpedo boat was turned over to the Massachusetts Naval Militia at Charleston. She moved north to Boston where she served as a school ship for volunteer seaman of the local naval militia until the following November. On 2 November 1909, the Massachusetts Naval Militia returned Winslow to the Navy, and she was placed in reserve at the Boston Navy Yard until the summer of 1910. On 12 July 1910, Winslow was placed out of commission at Boston, and her name was struck from the Navy list. In January 1911, she was sold to H. Hanson of New York City.
TB-6 USS Porter
Displ: 165; length: 175’6”; beam: 17’9”; draft: 4’8”; speed: 29 kts.; crew: 32; armament: 4 1-pdr.; 3 18” torpedo tubes; class: Porter.
The first Porter (TB–6) was laid down in February 1896 by Herreshoff Manufacturing Co., Bristol, R.I.: launched 9 September 1896; sponsored by Miss Agnes M. Herreshoff; and commissioned 20 February 1897 at Newport, R.I., Lt. John Charles Fremont in command.
Porter sailed to Washington, D.C. 27 February 1897 for inspection and was further examined 16–20 March at New York by the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation. She operated between New London and Newport; then visited New York from 15 July to 3 October before getting underway for her winter port, Charleston, S.C. Porter cruised in southern waters until 8 December and then proceeded to Key West where she was stationed 1–22 January 1898.
Porter arrived 26 January at Mobile for a visit but was ordered to return to Key West 6 March because of the tense situation in Cuba. When the United States declared war upon Spain, she was already patrolling the waters off Key West and the Dry Tortugas. Porter returned to Key West 22 March for replenishment.
Porter departed Key West 22 April with the North Atlantic Fleet for the blockade of the north coast of Cuba. She soon made contact with the enemy, capturing two Spanish schooners, Sofia and Matilda, 23–24 April. After refueling at Key West 2–7 May, Porter resumed blockade duty off Cape Haitien, Haiti keeping a watchful eye out for Cervera’s squadron. She participated in the three-hour bombardment of San Juan 12–13 May with the 9 ships of Rear Admiral W. T. Sampson’s fleet. During the attack Porter maintained a close position under the batteries with Detroit but was not hit.
Porter returned 13–14 May to the blockade of the north coast of Hispaniola, cruising off Samana Bay, Santo Domingo and off Porto Plata, Haiti. After a brief interval at Key West and Mobile (18–25 May), she joined Commodore Schley’s squadron (1–11 June) off Santiago de Cuba where it had bottled up the elusive Spanish warships. Porter came under heavy fire 7 June while silencing the shore batteries but was undamaged. Later she supported (11–17 June) the Marine beachhead at Guantanamo Bay. Porter took up her station off Santiago 17 June and again 21–22 June when she bombarded the Socapa battery during the landings at Daiquiri. She continued patrolling off Guantanamo until 9 July when she left for New York via Key West.
Upon her arrival at the New York Navy Yard 19 July, Porter was placed in reduced commission and decommissioned 5 November 1898. She recommissioned 10 October 1899 at New York and served as a training ship for firemen at Newport, Norfolk and Annapolis. Porter decommissioned 21 December 1900 at New York. She was put in reserve commission in late 1901 at Norfolk with the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla and continued this duty through 1907.
Porter recommissioned 31 January 1908 at Norfolk, and was ordered to Pensacola 21 February. As flagship of the 3rd Torpedo Flotilla, she engaged in torpedo runs in St. Joseph’s Bay, Fla. (4 March–22 April). Porter acted as naval escort to the remains of Governor De Witt Clinton in New York harbor 29 —May 1908 before returning 1 July to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Norfolk.
Porter recommissioned 14 May 1909 at Charleston, S.C., Lt. Harold R. Stark in command, and was assigned to the 3rd Division, Atlantic Torpedo Flotilla. She proceeded to Provincetown, Mass. 10 June for fleet exercises that lasted until 5 August. Porter departed 28 August for Hampton Roads and the Southern Drill Grounds, later joining the fleet at New York for the Hudson-Fulton Celebration 1–10 October. She was reassigned 14 November to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Charleston where she remained until October 1911.
Porter sailed 30 October 1911 for New York where she took part in the fleet naval review 2 November for President Theodore Roosevelt. The President had ordered the mobilization “to test the preparedness of the fleet and the efficiency of our organization on the ships in the yards.” Afterwards Porter returned to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Philadelphia. She was mobilized in October 1912 for another review at New York which was inspected by the President 15 October.
Porter was struck from the Navy List 6 November 1912 and was sold to Andrew Olsen 30 December 1912 at New York.
TB-7 USS Du Pont
Displ: 165; length: 175'6"; beam: 17'9"; draft: 4'8"; speed: 28 kts.; crew: 24; armament: 4 1-pdr., 3 18" torpedo tubes; class: Porter)
The first Du Pont (TB-7) was launched 30 March 1897 by Herreshoff Manufacturing Co., Bristol, R.I.; sponsored by Miss L. Converse; and commissioned 23 September 1897, Lieutenant (junior grade) S. S. Wood in command.
Du Pont operated on the east coast, carrying despatches and training Naval Reservists until the outbreak of the Spanish-American War. She carried orders and messages to ships lying at Dry Tortugas and Key West, Fla., and served on picket and patrol duty off Key West and Matanzas and Santiago, Cuba. She returned to New York 9 August 1898.
Arriving at Newport 4 November 1898, Du Pont was placed out of commission 4 days later. She remained at Newport out of commission, employed occasionally in experimental and training duty. From 1901 to 1909 she was based at Norfolk in the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla. During this time she was in commission twice: From September 1903 to September 1904 as a training ship at the Naval Academy, and from June 1905 to June 1906 for operations with the Coast Squadron on the Atlantic coast and in the Gulf of Mexico.
Recommissioned 14 May 1909 Du Pont cruised along the coast with the Atlantic Torpedo Fleet until placed in reserve again at Charleston Navy Yard in November 1909. From May 1910 to June 1911 she served the Naval Militia of North Carolina, and after lying in Newport from October 1911 to May 1914, was loaned to the Naval Militia of Massachusetts 10 June 1914.
With the entry of the United States into World War I Du Pont was recommissioned 9 April 1917 and assigned to duty in the 2d Naval District. The following year she was attached to Patrol Squadron, New London Section, for duty in Narragansett Bay. From 1 August 1918 she was known as Coast Torpedo Boat No. 3 to release the name Du Pont for new construction. She arrived at Philadelphia Navy Yard 24 January 1919, was decommissioned there 8 March 1919, and sold 19 July 1920.
TB-8 USS Rowan
Displ: 182; length: 170’; beam: 17’; draft: 6’ (mean); speed: 26 kts; crew: 24; armament: 4 1-pounders, 3 18” torpedo tubes; class: Rowan.
The first Rowan (Torpedo Boat No. 8) was laid down on 22 June 1896 by Moran Bros. Co., Seattle, Wash.; launched 8 April 1898; sponsored by Mrs. Edward Moale, Jr.; and commissioned on 1 April 1899, Lt. Reginald F. Nicholson in command.
After trials in Puget Sound, Rowan was decomissioned [sic; decommissioned] on 1 May 1899. She was recommissioned on 23 April 1908 and on 21 June she departed Bremerton, Wash., for Mare Island. For the next year she cruised off the west coast, from the Canadian border to Magdalena Bay, Mexico, as a unit of the 3d Torpedo Flotilla. Then assigned to the Reserve Torpedo Group at Mare Island, she resumed operations with the torpedo flotilla in December 1909 and continued that duty until 1912.
Rowan was decommissioned at Mare Island on 28 October 1912. Her name was struck from the Navy list the following day and her hulk was sold for scrap on 3 June 1918.
Displ: 146; length: 181'4"; beam: 16'4"; draft: 4'8"; speed: 30 kts.; crew: 29; armament 4 1-pdr., 2 18" torpedo tubes.
Dahlgren, torpedo boat No. 9, was launched 29 May 1899 by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine; sponsored by Mrs. J. V. Dahlgren, daughter-in-law of Rear Admiral Dahlgren; and commissioned 16 June 1900, Lieutenant M. H. Signor in command.
Assigned to the Atlantic Torpedo Fleet, Dahlgren operated out of Portsmouth, N.H., and Newport, R.I., developing tactics for her new type of ship and training crews until 20 October 1900 when she returned to Portsmouth and was placed out of commission for repairs and alterations.
In partial commission from 7 June 1902, she sailed to Newport 13 June for an overhaul until 18 November 1902. The next day she was placed in full commission and reported to New Suffolk, L.I., to assume duty as a station ship until 28 October 1903. She again went out of commission 22 December 1903 at New York Navy Yard.
Assigned to the Naval Training Stations at Newport and New York during 1905, Dahlgren was placed in reduced commission 13 December 1905 and reported to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Norfolk. Changing her base to Charleston, S.C., 15 October 1908, she continued to serve in torpedo developmental operations until placed in ordinary 14 March 1914.
After being fitted for minesweeping, Dahlgren was placed in full commission 1 April 1917 and served on escort and harbor entrance patrol at Norfolk until 5 December 1917. Renamed Coast Torpedo Boat No. 4, 1 August 1918, she arrived at Philadelphia Navy Yard from Norfolk 27 January 1918,"and there was placed out of commission 11 March 1919. She was sold 19 July 1920.
TB-10 USS Craven
Displ: 146; length: 151'4"; beam: 16'5"; draft: 4'8"; speed: 31 k.; crew: 29; armament 4 1-pdr., 2 18" torpedo tubes; class: Dahlgren.
The first Craven, torpedo boat destroyer No. 10, was launched 25 September 1899 by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine; sponsored by Miss A. Craven, granddaughter of Commander Craven; and commissioned 9 June 1900, Lieutenant J. R. Edie in command.
Sailing from Portsmouth Navy Yard 19 June 1900, Craven reported to the Naval Torpedo Station at Newport 21 June and served there until 2 December when she returned to Portsmouth. She was placed out of commission there 5 December 1900.
Recommissioned 24 October 1902, Craven served at the Torpedo Station at Newport until 12 December 1903 when she sailed to New York Navy Yard. She was placed out of commission again 22 December 1903. Except for service with the Torpedo Station in 1906 and 1907, she remained out of commission until 14 December 1907 when she was assigned to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Norfolk Navy Yard. In 1908 she was transferred to Charleston, S.C., where she was decommissioned 14 November 1913 and used as a target.
TB-11 USS Farragut
Displ: 279; length: 214'; beam: 20'8"; draft: 6'; speed: 30 kts.; crew: 66; armament: 2 18" torpedo tubes, 4 6-pdr.; class: Farragut.
Farragut (Torpedo Boat No. 11) was launched 16 July 1898 by Union Iron Works, San Francisco, Calif.; sponsored by Miss Elizabeth Ashe, Admiral Farragut's niece; and commissioned 5 June 1899, Lieutenant Commander R. F. Nicholson in command.
Farragut's first operations were between Mare Island and Sausalito in San Francisco Bay, and occasionally south to San Diego, in target and torpedo practice. She was decommissioned at the Mare Island Navy Yard 4 September 1902; in commission in reserve from 8 October 1904; and restored to full commission 28 March 1908 for duty with the Pacific Torpedo Fleet.
She resumed her operations along the coast of California aside from 30 May to 10 June 1908, when she sailed to visit Portland, Oreg. Farragut was placed in reserve 18 September 1909 and recommissioned 10 May 1911, again for service in the San Francisco area aside from a cruise to Bremerton, Wash., that summer. Once more, on 1 July 1912, she went into reserve, and then on 26 March 1914, into ordinary.
Between 12 January 1915 and 14 April 1917, Farragut was assigned to the San Pedro Division of the California Naval Militia as a training ship. Returning then to full commission, Farragut sailed for the Canal Zone 11 July 1917, and for the remainder of World War I, patrolled both the Atlantic and Pacific entrances to the Panama Canal, and carried troops and supplies in the Balboa area.
Renamed Coast Torpedo Boat No. 5 on 1 August 1918, she completed her service in the Canal Zone 30 December, and arrived at the Mare Island Navy Yard 18 January 1919. There she was decommissioned 13 March 1919 and sold 9 September 1919.
TB-12 USS Davis
Displ: 155; length: 148'; beam: 15'4"; draft: 5'10"; speed: 23 kts.; crew: 24; armament: 3 1-pdr., 3 18," torpedo tubes.
The first Davis (TB-12) was launched 4 June 1898 by Wolff and Zwicker, Portland, Oreg.; sponsored by Miss H. Wolff; and commissioned 10 May 1899, Lieutenant Commander R. F. Nicholson in command.
After trials Davis was placed out of commission 5 June 1899 and laid up at Mare Island Navy Yard in reserve. She was recommissioned 23 March 1908 and assigned to Pacific Torpedo Fleet. She participated in the review for the Secretary of the Navy 8 May 1908, then cruised along the west coast as far north as the Columbia River and south as far as Magdalena Bay, Mexico, until placed in reserve at Mare Island 28 October 1909.
Davis was recommissioned 1 November 1910 for service in the San Diego area until 10 May 1911 when she again went into reserve at Mare Island. In May 1912 she was towed to Puget Sound for assignment to the Pacific Reserve Fleet. She was decommissioned there 28 March 1913 and sold for scrap 21 April 1920.
TB-13 USS Fox
Displ: 155; length: 148'; beam: 15'4"; draft: 5'10"; speed 23 kts.; crew 24; armament: 3 18" torpedo tubes; class: Davis.
The third Fox (Torpedo Boat No. 13), was launched 4 July 1898 by Wolf and Zwickers, Portland, Oreg.; sponsored by Miss V. Patterson; and commissioned 8 July 1899, Lieutenant Commander K. F. Nicholson in command.
Based at Mare Island Navy Yard, the pioneer group of torpedo boats, which included Fox, cruised during 1900 only in the immediate area, conducting trials of engines and equipment, and in general, developing their type both in terms of construction and equipment, and tactics. Between 1901 and 1906, Fox was in the yard for installation of torpedo-firing circuits and other work designed to enhance her capabilities. After 2 years in reserve, she was recommissioned 23 March 1908, and based at San Diego for intensive training operations with the Pacific Fleet.
Out of commission between 7 January 1909 and 17 October 1910, when she was commissioned in reserve, Fox returned to full commission between 1 November 1910 and 5 July 1913, although for much of 1911 and 1912 she lay in reserve. While active, she continued her training and experimental operations out of San Diego. From 1913 to 1916, Fox was on loan to the Washington State Naval Militia, based at Aberdeen, Wash. She was sold 27 October 1916.
TB-14 USS Morris
Displ: 105 (normal); length: 139'6"; beam 15'6"; draft: 4'1" (mean); speed: 23 kts.; crew: 26; armament: 3 1‑pdr., 3 18" torpedo tubes; class: Morris.
The fifth Morris (TB‑14) was laid down by Herreshoff Manufacturing Co., Bristol, R.I., 19 November 1897; launched 13 April 1898; and commissioned 11 May 1898, Lt. C. E. Fox in command.
After east coast shakedown, Morris arrived Newport, R.I., for range tender and training services until World War I, when patrol duties were assigned. From 19 April 1918 through early March 1919 she patrolled the West Indies, until the Armistice investigating suspected enemy sabotage. Now known as Coast Torpedo Boat No. 6, she returned to Newport and decommissioned 24 March 1919, but served as torpedo range tender there for 5 years. Last of the old torpedo boats, she was struck from the Naval Register 24 January 1924, and sold at public auction 10 October 1924 to Frank B. Jones of Wilmington, Del.
TB-15 USS Talbot
Displ: 46.5; 1ength: 99'6"; beam: 12'6"; draft: 3'3"; speed: 21.5 kts.; crew: 16; armament: 1 1-pdr. R. F., 2 18" torpedo tubes; class: Talbot.
The first Talbot (Torpedo Boat No. 15) was laid down on 8 April 1897 at Bristol, R.I., by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co.; launched on 14 November 1897; and commissioned on 4 April 1898, Lt. (jg.) William R. Shoemaker in command.
Talbot cruised down the coast, making calls in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina before arriving at Havana, Cuba, on 2 August. She reported to the flagship and received mail for the blockading squadron. At 2100 hours that evening, while en route to Key West for coal, she sighted the dark hull of a ship off the port bow. Talbot signalled and stopped her engines, but was still rammed by the tug Uncas. The bow of the tug penetrated one foot into the torpedo boat's coal bunker, bending in two frames and crushing the side plating to below the water line. The tug towed Talbot to Piedras Cay where temporary repairs were made the next day to enable the damaged ship to proceed to Key West.
Talbot reached Key West on the 5th and got underway 10 days later for New York. She arrived at the New York Navy Yard on 6 September and was ready for sea again in early October. The torpedo boat was then assigned to the Naval Academy for duty supporting midshipmen training, mooring at Annapolis on 10 October. On 11 June 1899, Talbot moved to Norfolk to participate in a one-year evaluation of experimental fuel oils. At the completion of this test program, she resumed her duties at the Naval Academy.
Talbot was decommissioned on 20 February 1904 and attached to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Norfolk. She was recommissioned on 31 August 1906 and assigned to special duty between Norfolk and Annapolis. From early 1908 to September 1911, she served at the Torpedo Station, Newport, R.I.
TB-16 USS Gwin
Displ: 46; length: 100'; beam: 12'6"; draft: 3'3"; speed: 20 kts.; crew: 16; armament: 1 1-pdr., 2 18" torpedo tubes.
The first Gwin (TB-16) was launched 15 November 1897 by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co., Bristol, R.I.; commissioned at Newport 4 April 1898, Lt, (j.g.) C. S. Williams in command. She departed Newport 24 June, cruising down the eastern seaboard as far as Florida, thence on patrol off Cuba during 6 to 14 August 1898 as America went to war .with Spain. She returned north to Annapolis 31 August and served as cadet training ship for the Naval Academy until placed in reserve at Norfolk 10 July 1903.
Gwin remained in reserve until June 1908 when she began assisting in experimental torpedo work out of Newport, R.I. This duty terminated 18 April 1914 when Gwin decommissioned for use as a ferryboat. On 11 April 1918 her name was changed to Cyane, and she was re-classified YFB-4 on 17 July 1920. Her name was struck from the Navy List 30 April 1925 and she was sold for scrapping 24 September 1925.
Displ: 65; length: 101'6"; beam: 12'9"; draft: 4'3" (mean); speed: 20.1 k.; crew: 14; armament: 1 1‑pdr., 2 18" torpedo tubes; class:, MacKenzie.
The first MacKenzie, Torpedo Boat No. 17, was laid down by Charles Hillman Ship & Engine Building Co., Philadelphia, Pa., 15 April 1897; launched 19 February 1898; sponsored by Master Charles Hillman; and commissioned 1 May 1899, Lt. L. H. Chandler in command.
Departing League Island 28 May 1899, MacKenzie sailed north to Newport. Arriving on the 31st, she decommissioned and joined other torpedo boats, such as DuPont and Winslow, in occasional employment in experimental and training duties. Recommissioned 7 November 1902, she steamed to Norfolk where she joined the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla on the 14th. Serving with that flotilla for the greater part of the next 10 years, she was occasionally used as a training ship at the Naval Academy, and in 1908 operated off the southeastern seaboard.
She decommissioned at Charleston, 15 April 1912, and departed the next day for Florida. She arrived at Key West 19 April and on 7 May was turned over to the Florida Naval Militia, in which she served until returned to the Navy in November 1914. She cruised off southern Florida for the next year, cruising to Havana in October 1915. In 1916, the torpedo boat was designated as a target ship and 10 March 1916 her name was struck from the Navy list.
TB-18 USS McKee
Displ: 65; length 99'3"; beam: 12'9"; draft: 4'3"; speed: 20 kts.; crew: 12; armament: 2 1‑pdr., 2 18" torpedo tubes; class: Dahlgren.
The first McKee (TB‑18) was laid on 11 September 1897 by Columbian Iron Works, Baltimore, Md., launched 5 March 1898; sponsored by Mrs. William H. Humrichouse; and commissioned 16 May 1898, Lt. C. M. Knepper in command.
McKee underwent sea trials in Chesapeake Bay and then sailed to New York to assume coastal defense duties during Spanish‑American War. Reassigned to Torpedo Station Newport, R.I., the coal‑burning torpedo boat operated along the New England coast until returning to New York 13 December 1903, where she decommissioned 22 December 1903.
Eight months later, 6 August 1904, she recommissioned and steamed back to Newport. From 1907 to 1910 she operated from New York, then was assigned special duty in the reserve at Newport. On 29 January 1912 she arrived New York and decommissioned. Struck from the Navy list 6 April 1912, McKee was towed to Norfolk and used as a target. On 24 September 1920 she was ordered sunk near Craney Island, an order carried out later that fall.
TB-19 USS Stringham
Displ: 340; length: 232'4"; beam: 22', draft: 6'6" (mean); speed: 30 kts.; crew: 59; armament: 4 6-pars., 2 18" torpedo tubes; class: Stringham.
The first Stringham, a steel torpedo boat, was launched on 10 June 1899 by Harlan & Hollingsworth, Wilmington, Del.; sponsored by Miss Edwina Stringham Creighton; and was placed in reduced commission on 7 November 1905, Lt. Albert H. McCarthy in command.
Assigned to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Annapolis, Md., upon completion, Stringham was placed in full commission on 30 October 1906 and assigned to the 3d Torpedo Flotilla, Atlantic Fleet. Stringham operated on the eastern seaboard between Key West, Fla., and Cape Cod, Mass., into 1907. Detached on 11 October 1907 from the Atlantic Fleet, Stringham was placed in reserve, in reduced commission, on 31 January 1908 at the Norfolk Navy Yard.
Placed in full commission again on 1 July 1908 Stringham rejoined the 3d Torpedo Flotilla. She operated primarily out of Newport, R.I., through October; then proceeded to Charleston, S.C., where she was placed in reserve on 19 November 1908. Recommissioned on 14 August 1909, Stringham was assigned duty as flagship of the 3d Division, Atlantic Torpedo Flotilla, on 9 September. During October, she participated with units of the Atlantic Fleet in the Hudson-Fulton Centennial celebrations, steaming up the Hudson as far as Albany, N.Y., on 8 October. Returning south to Charleston, Stringham was again placed in reserve on 30 November.
Assigned to temporary duty with the 1st Torpedo Division on 1 April 1910, Stringham was transferred to the Engineering Experimental Station at Annapolis Md., on 14 September. She served as a practice ship and training vessel for midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy from 1911 to 1913, and was placed out of commission on 21 November 1913 at the Norfolk Navy Yard.
Stringham was struck from the Navy list on 26 November 1913 and designated for use as a target on 17 December 1913. Never actually used as a target Stringham remained at Norfolk until sold on 18 May 1923 to E. L. Hurst of Roanoke Dock for scrapping.
TB-20 USS Goldsborough
Displ: 256; length: 198'; beam: 20'7"; draft: 6'10"; speed: 27 kts.; crew: 59; armament: 2 18' torpedo tubes, 4 6-pdr.
The first Goldsborough was launched 29 July 1899 by the Wolf & Zwicker Iron Works, Portland, Oreg.; sponsored by Miss Gertrude Ballin; commissioned in the Puget Sound Navy Yard 9 April 1908, Lt. Daniel T. Ghent in command.
Goldsborough based at San Diego, Calif., as a unit of the Pacific Torpedo Fleet, cruising for 6 years along the coast of California and the Pacific Coast of Mexico in a schedule of torpedo practice, and joint fleet exercises and maneuvers. She was placed in ordinary at the Mare Island Navy Yard 26 March 1914; served the Oregon State Naval Militia at Portland (December 1914-April 1917); and again fully commissioned 7 April 1917 for Pacific coast patrol throughout World War I She was designated Coast Torpedo Boat Number 7 1 August 1918, her name being assigned to a new destroyer under construction. The torpedo boat decommissioned in the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Wash., 12 March 1919 and sold for scrapping on 8 September 1919.
TB-21 USS Bailey
Displ: 235; length: 205'; beam: 19'3"; draft: 6'10"; speed: 30 kts.; crew: 59; armament: 4 6-pdr., 2 18" torpedo tubes.
The first Bailey (Torpedo Boat No. 21) was launched 5 December 1899 by Gas Engine and Power Co., and Charles L. Seabury and Co., Consolidated, Morris Heights, N. Y. sponsored by Miss Florence Beckman Bailey granddaughter of Admiral Bailey; commissioned 10 June 1901, Lieutenant G. W. Williams in command; and reported to the Atlantic Fleet.
On 13 June 1901 Bailey proceeded to Newport where she remained for several months and then steamed to Port Royal, S. C., arriving 31 October 1901. She remained at Port Royal until June 1902 and then proceeded to Norfolk where she went out of commission 14 June.
Between 27 January 1904 and 7 November 1909 Bailey was in commission in reserve with the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Norfolk. On 22 December 1909 she was assigned to the Reserve Torpedo Division, Charleston, S. C. Recommissioned 1 June 1910 she Joined the 1st Torpedo Division. She cruised for three months on the Atlantic coast and then was assigned to the Naval Academy for duty at the Engineering Experimental Station.
Between October 1911 and March 1914 Bailey was attached to the Reserve Torpedo Division at Annapolis and on 1 April 1914, she was placed in ordinary there. She was recommissioned 6 February 1917 and during World War I performed patrol duty at New York. She was renamed Coast Torpedo Boat No. 8, 1 August 1918.
She was decommissioned 18 March 1919 and sold 10 March 1920.
TB-22 USS Somers
Displ: 143; length: 156'; beam: 17'6"; draft: 5'10" (mean); speed: 23 kts.; crew: 21; armament: 4 1-pdrs., 2 18" torpedo tubes; class: Somers.
The third Somers, a steel torpedo boat built as a private speculation by Friedrich Schichau, Elbing, Germany, was launched in 1897 as yard No. 450; purchased for the United States Navy on 25 March 1898; commissioned on 28 March 1898, Lt. John J. Knapp in command; and named Somers the next day.
Purchased through Schichau's London representative as the United States prepared for a possible war against Spain, Somers sailed for England on 30 March, manned by a German contract crew. On 5 April, she arrived at Weymouth, whence she was to be escorted across the Atlantic by the gunboat, Topeka. However, the British crew contracted for the voyage thought Somers unsafe and refused to put to sea. A second attempt to sail also failed, and the torpedo boat was ordered laid up at Falmouth until the conclusion of the Spanish-American War.
Somers arrived at New York, on board SS Manhattan, on 2 May 1899 and remained at the New York Navy Yard until 8 October 1900, when she got underway for League Island, Pa. Subsequently decommissioned there, she was reassigned to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at the Norfolk Navy Yard, where she was based from 1901 to 1909. On 26 June 1909, she was loaned to the Maryland Naval Militia and made periodic training cruises from Baltimore until returned to the Navy in 1914.
Scheduled for transfer to the Illinois Naval Militia, Somers was recommissioned on 17 August 1914 for the passage to Cairo, Ill., where she was decommissioned and transferred to the state of Illinois on 13 October. Later renamed and redesignated Coast Torpedo Boat No. 9 to allow the name Somers to be given to destroyer number 301, she served as a training ship until returned to Navy custody after the end of World War I. She was commissioned for the passage back to the east coast and returned to Philadelphia where she was decommissioned on 22 March 1919. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 7 October 1919, and her hulk was sold for scrapping on 19 July 1920 to the U.S. Rail and Salvage Corp., Newburgh, N.Y.
TB-23 USS Manley
Displ: 30 (n.); length: 60'8"; beam: 9'5"; draft: 2'11" (mean); speed: 17 kts.; crew: 5; armament: none
Manley (TB‑23) more often spelled Manly, was built by Yarrow & Co., Ltd., Poplar, London, England; purchased from Charles R. Flint 13 April 1898 during the Spanish‑American War; and delivered to the New York Navy Yard to be placed in service.
Assigned to the Naval Auxiliary Force, Manley was laid up in ordinary for repairs 25 October 1898. On 20 April 1899 she left New York for the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.; and served there as a training ship for the midshipmen until 1914, except for a brief period during 1906 and 1907 when the torpedo boat was assigned to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at the Norfolk Navy Yard. On 1 April 1914 she was placed out of service and the next day was struck from the Navy list, but she continued to serve as a ferry launch at Annapolis. Renamed Levant II April 1918 when DD‑74 took the name Manley, the torpedo boat was sold 21 April 1920 to Jacob Meyer of Catonsville, Md.
TB-24 USS Bagley
Displ: 107; length: 157'; beam: 17'7"; draft: 4'11"; speed: 29 kts.; crew: 28; armament: 3 1-pdr., 3 18" torpedo tubes; class: Bagley.
The first Bagley (Torpedo Boat No. 24) was launched 26 September 1900 by Bath Iron Works, Ltd., Bath, Maine; sponsored by Mrs. Josephus Daniels, sister of Ensign Bagley; and commissioned 18 October 1901, Ensign W. M Dowell in command.
Bagley operated along the east coast until going into reserve at Norfolk Navy Yard 19 February 1903. On 14 September 1907 she was placed in full commission and reported to the Naval Academy. She remained on duty at the Academy until 13 March 1914 when she was placed in ordinary at Annapolis.
Recommissioned 29 March 1917 Bagley was fitted out at New York and attached to the Harbor Entrance Patrol 3d Naval District. Operating from the Marine Base, Brooklyn, N. Y., her duties of patrolling, scouting ahead of the convoys leaving harbor, observation, and escorting were continuous until she was demobilized in 1919. On 1 August 1918 Bagley was redesignated and renamed Coast Torpedo Boat No. 10. She was decommissioned 12 March 1919 and sold 9 April 1919.
TB-25 USS Barney
Displ: 187; length: 167'; beam: 17'8"; draft: 4'11"; speed: 29 kts.; crew: 29; armament: 3 1-pdr., 3 18" torpedo tubes; class: Bagley.
The first Barney (Torpedo boat No. 25) was launched 28 July 1900 by Bath Iron Works sponsored by Miss Esther Nicholson Barney, great-grand. daughter of Commodore Barney; and commissioned 21 October 1901, Ensign C. A. Abele in command.
Barney sailed from Newport 6 November 1901 for Port Royal, S. C.. where she went into reserve. In 1902 she was assigned to the North Atlantic Station and cruised along the east coast and in the West Indies until 1903 when she proceeded to Norfolk and went into reserve 19 February 1903. Between 1903 and 1908 Barney was attached to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Norfolk.
On 1 July 1908 Barney was placed in full commission and assigned to the 3d Torpedo Flotilla. In December 1908 she was again assigned to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla and until March 1914 was based successively at Norfolk, Charleston and Annapolis. She was placed in ordinary at Annapolis 13 March 1914. On 10 June 1915 she was ordered to temporary duty with the District of Columbia Naval Militia and made training cruises in the Potomac River until 1 September 1915. She then returned to the Reserve Torpedo Division at Annapolis. On 28 February 1916 Barney was ordered to Philadelphia Navy Yard where she was placed in ordinary 5 March and out of commission 21 November 1916.
In May 1917 she was towed to Charleston Navy Yard and after undergoing repairs, she was recommissioned 6 September 1917. She proceeded to Norfolk where she patrolled in and around Hampton Roads and outer Chesapeake Bay. Bay was renamed Coast Torpedo Boat No. 11, 1 August 1918. On 17 January 1919 she returned to Philadelphia; went out of commission 11 March 1919; and was sold 19 July 1920.
Displ: 175; length: 157'; beam: 17'8"; draft: 4'11"; speed: 28.6 kts.; crew: 28; armament: 3 1-pdr., 3 18" torpedo tubes; class: Bagley.
Biddle (Torpedo Boat No. 26) was launched 18 May 1901 by Bath Iron Works, Ltd., Bath, Maine; sponsored by Miss Emile B. Biddle, great-great-grandniece of Captain Biddle, and commissioned 26 October 1901, Lieutenant S. S. Robison is command.
Biddle departed Newport, R. I., 1 November 1901 for Port Royal; S. C., where she went into reserve. Following recommissioning 28 May 1902 she cruised with the Torpedo Boat Flotilla along the Atlantic coast and in the West Indies until January 1903. She went into reserve again 16 February 1903 at Norfolk Navy Yard and remained there until recommissioned 14 May 1909. Biddle spent the summer cruising with the Atlantic Torpedo Fleet and then went into reserve at Charleston Navy Yard 18 November 1909. In October 1911 she shifted to the Reserve Flotilla Division at Annapolis, Md., and went into ordinary at the Naval Academy 13 March 1914.
After serving with the Pennsylvania Naval Militia (June-September 1915) Biddle reverted to the Annapolis Reserve Torpedo Division. Recommissioned 6 April 1917 she served in the 5th Naval District as a patrol and dispatch vessel at Norfolk. Biddle was renamed Coast Torpedo Boat No. 12, 1 August 1918. Ordered to Philadelphia Navy Yard in January 1919, she was decommissioned 12 March 1919 and sold 19 July 1920.
TB-27 USS Blakely
Disp: 165; length: 175'0"; beam: 17'8"; draft: 6'; speed: 26 kts.; crew: 32; armament: 3 1 pdrs., 3 18" torpedo tubes; class: Blakely.
The first Blakely (Torpedo Boat No. 27) was laid down on 12 January 1899 at South Boston, Mass., by George Lawley & Sons; launched on 22 November 1900; sponsored by Miss Nellie M. White; and commissioned on 27 December 1904, Lt. Charles E. Courtney in command.
Blakely completed dock trials at the Boston Navy Yard and then moved to Newport, R.I., where she fitted out with ordnance and electrical equipment at the torpedo station and underwent various tests and inspections before becoming a unit of the 3d Torpedo Flotilla, United States Atlantic Fleet. She cruised the Atlantic and gulf coasts of the United States with that organization, engaged in a series of drills, exercises, and port visits. The torpedo boat was placed out of commission, in reserve, at the Norfolk Navy Yard on or about 28 February 1907. She remained inactive until recommissioned on 13 January 1908, Lt. Thomas L. Ozburn in command, and, for about five months, resumed active operations with the 3d Torpedo Flotilla. On 1 July 1908, Blakely returned to inactive status with the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Norfolk. At some unspecified point in the succeeding months, she was moved to the New York Navy Yard where she was recommissioned on 6 May 1909, Ens. Reuben L. Walker in command. The warship cruised with the Atlantic Torpedo Flotilla for six months. On 9 November 1909, she went back into reserve, this time at Charleston, S.C.
Disp: 196; 1ength: 175'; beam: 17'; draft: 5'11"; speed:. 26 kts.; crew: 29; armament: 3 18" torpedo tubes.
The first DeLong (TB-28) was launched 23 November 1900 by George Lawley and Sons, South Boston, Mass.; sponsored by Mrs. S. DeL. Mills, daughter of Lieutenant Commander DeLong; and commissioned 27 October 1902, Lieutenant J. F. Marshall in command.
Between 4 November 1902 and 2 July 1906, DeLong was assigned to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Norfolk, Va., then was returned to full commission for torpedo practice and training along the Atlantic Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. Again out of commission between 7 August 1909 and 30 April 1910, this time at Boston, DeLong was in reserve at Charleston from 20 May 1910, going to sea occasionally to maintain her readiness for action. She lay in ordinary between 14 March 1914 and 7 April 1917, when upon the entry of the United States into World War I, she was recommissioned and fitted out as a minesweeper.
DeLong was based on Norfolk for minesweeping duty until 2 May 1918, when she sailed for Halifax, Nova Scotia, and patrol duty with the Submarine Chaser Flotilla. She also escorted seaplanes to sea for the Naval Aero Squadron based at Halifax, and from 1 August 1918 was known as Coast Torpedo Boat 14. She returned from Halifax to Boston 18 January 1919, and arrived at Philadelphia 4 February. There she was decommissioned 8 March 1919 and sold for scrapping 19 July 1920.
TB-29 USS Nicholson
Displ: 218; length: 175’; beam: 17’8”; draft: 6’5”; speed: 25 kts.; crew: 28; armament: 3 18” torpedo tubes, 3 1–pdr.; class: Blakely.
The first Nicholson (TB–29) was laid down 6 December 1898 by Lewis Nixon Shipyard, Elizabethtown, N.J.; launched 23 September 1901; sponsored by Mrs. Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont; and commissioned at New York 10 January 1905, Lt. W. S. Miller in command.
Nicholson served with the Atlantic Fleet until struck from the Navy List 3 March 1909 to be used as a target.
TB-30 USS O’Brien
Displ:. 220; length: 157', beam: 17'; draft: 6'6", speed: 25 kts., crew: 28, armament: 3 1-pdr., 2 18" torpedo tubes.
The first O'Brien (Torpedo Boat 30) was laid down by Lewis Nixon, Elizabethport, N.J., 29 December 1898
Launched 24 September 1900; sponsored by Miss Mira O'Brien, great-great granddaughter of Joseph O'Brien, and commissioned 15 July 1905, Lt. Edward Woods in command. Between August 1905 and April 1906, she operated with the coastal squadron between Newport and Pensacola. Placed in the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla 7 May 1906, at the Norfolk Navy Yard, she was struck from the Navy List 3 March 1909 and used as target.
TB-31 USS Shubrick
Displ: 200; length: 175'; beam: 17'8"; draft: 6'2" (mean); speed: 25 kts.; crew: 29; armament: 3 1-pdrs., 3 18" torpedo tubes; class: Blakeley.
The second Shubrick was laid down on 11 March 1899 by William R. Trigg Co., Richmond, Va.; launched on 31 October 1899; sponsored by Miss Caroline Shubrick; and commissioned during 1901, Lt. Allen M. Cook in command.
Following trials, Shubrick proceeded to Port Royal, S.C., where she was placed in reserve on 21 November 1901. Six months later, she rejoined the active fleet and, on 7 June 1902, sailed north. She arrived at the Torpedo Station, Newport, R.I., on 18 July 1902; served briefly with the North Atlantic Squadron; then returned to Norfolk where she was decommissioned on 29 November.
Recommissioned, in reserve, on 8 April 1904, Shubrick was assigned to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Norfolk Navy Yard. She was placed in full commission on 8 July 1905 at Norfolk but was decommissioned on 21 July. She was commissioned in reserve on 25 September 1905 and again assigned to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Norfolk. Transferred to the 3d Torpedo Flotilla on 30 May 1907, she cruised off the northeast coast through the summer. On 11 November, she was detached from the North Atlantic Squadron, but continued to operate out of Norfolk until involved in a collision off Newport, R.I., on 22 November 1907. After repairs, Shubrick rejoined the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla and, for over a year, remained inactive at Newport.
Activated in February 1909, Shubrick was recommissioned on 14 May 1909. She joined the 1st Torpedo Flotilla, Atlantic Fleet, on 28 May 1909. During October, she participated in celebrations commemorating the Hudson-Fulton Centenary, then returned to Charleston, where she was decommissioned on 30 November 1909.
Shubrick remained in reserve into 1917, assigned to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Charleston (S.C.) NavyYard. On 1 April 1917, she was recommissioned and, during World War I, served on local patrol duty in the Charleston area.
On 1 August 1918, Shubrick was renamed Coast Torpedo Boat No. 15 to allow her name to be given to a new destroyer, DD-268, then under construction. Largely inactive after being renamed, she was decommissioned on 23 April 1919, and her name was struck from the Navy list on 28 October. Coast Torpedo Boat No. 15 was sold for scrapping on 10 March 1920 to the U. S. Rail and Salvage Co. of Newburgh, N.Y.
Shubrick (Torpedo Boat No. 31) moored at Norfolk during the summer of 1901 as she fits out for commissioning. The ring at her stern is the base for a single 18-inch torpedo-tube mount; two more can be seen in waist positions near Shubrick's second stack. Ships of this type, predecessors of the modern destroyer, concentrated their striking power in their torpedoes and carried only small-caliber rapid-fire guns.
TB-32 USS Stockton
Displ: 200, length: 175'; beam: 17'8"; draft: 6'2" (mean); speed: 25 kts.; crew: 29; armament: 3 18" torpedo tubes; class: Blakely.
The first Stockton was launched on 27 December 1899 by William R. Trigg Co., Richmond, Va., sponsored by Miss Katherine Stockton, and commissioned on 14 March 1901, Lt. Archibald H. Davis in command.
Stockton remained at Norfolk Navy Yard until 14 November 1901 when she sailed for Port Royal, S.C. Decommissioned on 16 November, she remained there into the following year. Recommissioned on 7 June 1902, Stockton steamed, via New London, Conn., to Newport, R.I. On 25 August, the torpedo boat was ordered to the Caribbean. Arriving at Key West, Fla., on 3 October 1902, Stockton subsequently cruised off Hispaniola and Puerto Rico before returning to Key West on 14 January 1903. She reached Norfolk a fortnight later and was decommissioned there on 16 February.
Stockton was recommissioned on 11 June 1906 and assigned to the 3d Torpedo Flotilla the following day. She remained on the United States east coast into 1909, attached to the 3d Torpedo Flotilla. Transferred to the 1st Torpedo Division on 9 September 1909, she participated in the Hudson-Fulton Centenary celebrations during October 1909.
Stockton was placed in reserve on 9 November 1909 and, but for occasional cruises as far north as New York, remained at Charleston Navy Yard into 1913. Decommissioned at Charleston Navy Yard on 14 November 1913, Stockton was struck from the Navy list on 15 November. On 25 May 1914, the torpedo boat was ordered prepared for use as a target and was sunk by battleships and destroyers of the Atlantic Fleet during September 1916.
Displ: 269 (f.); length: 176'0" (wl.); beam: 17'6", draft: 5'2"; speed: 27.57 kts. (tl.), crew: 28; armament: 31-pdrs. rf., 3 18" torpedo tubes.; class: Blakely.
The first Thornton (Torpedo Boat No. 33) was laid down on 16 March 1899 at Richmond, Va., by the William R. Trigg Co., Iaunched on 15 May 1900, sponsored by Miss Mary Thornton Davis, and commissioned On 9 June 1902, Ens. Samuel Brown Thomas in command.
Thornton participated in the summer maneuvers of the North Atlantic Fleet off the eastern coast of the United States. In November and December, the torpedo boat moved south to the West Indies for combined winter maneuvers. On 28 January 1903, she returned to Norfolk, and she was assigned to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla on 16 February.
On 19 June 1905, Thornton was placed back in full commission; and, the following month, she made a brief visit to Annapolis, Md. On 21 July, she was again decommissioned and entered the Norfolk Navy Yard. Three months later, the torpedo boat rejoined the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Norfolk. Recommissioned on 19 June 1907, she was assigned to the 3d Torpedo Flotilla; and, over the next several years, she operated along the eastern seaboard and cruised the Gulf of Mexico. In the fall of 1909, she joined several other torpedo boats in ascending the Mississippi River as far as St. Louis. The following December, she entered Charleston, S.C., and, on the 22d, was decommissioned and assigned to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Charleston.
Though the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla was abolished in 1914, Thornton remained inactive at Charleston until 1917. She was in reserve until 14 March 1914 when the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla was disbanded. After that, she was placed in commission, in ordinary, at the Charleston~Navy Yard until 1917.
With America's entry into World War I Thornton was placed back in full commission on 7 April 1917. She was converted to a minesweeper and, on 22 May, departed Charleston for Norfolk. Attached to the 5th Naval District, she performed minesweeping operations in Hampton Roads and off Cape Henry. On 8 April 1918, she collided with Joseph F. Bellows (SP-323) in Hampton Roads. Because of extensive damage, Thornton was towed to the Norfolk Navy Yard where she was decommissioned on 11 May 1918. On 1 August 1918, she was redesignated Coastal Torpedo Vessel No. 16. A board of inspection and survey examined her in March 1919 and recommended that she be sold. On 12 May 1919, her name was struck from the Navy list. Fifteen months later, near the end of August 1920, she was sold to the Southern Oil & Transport Corp., of New York City.
TB-34 USS Tingey
Displ: 166 (n.); length: 176'0" (wl.) beam: 17'6"; draft: 4'8" (mean); speed: 24.94 kts. (tl.); crew: 28, armament: 3 1-pdr. rf., 3 18" torpedo tubes.; class: Blakely.
The first Tingey (Torpedo Boat No. 34) was laid down on 29 March 1899 at Baltimore, Md., by the Columbian Iron Works, launched on 26 March 1901, sponsored by Miss Anna T. Craven, the great-great granddaughter of Commodore Thomas Tingey; and commissioned at Norfolk, Va., on 7 January 1904, Lt. John F. Marshall in command.
Tingey then joined the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at its base at the Norfolk Navy Yard and remained there for the first third of her Navy career. For the most part, she lay tied up at pier side; but, periodically she got underway to insure her material readiness should a need for her services ever arise. By 1908, she was reassigned to the 3d Torpedo Flotilla, but she remained relatively inactive at Norfolk. In 1909, she was listed as a unit of the Atlantic Torpedo Fleet. However, all three organizations to which she was assigned appear simply to have been different names for the same duty lying at pier side in reserve.
Sometime late in 1909, Tingey moved south from Norfolk to Charleston, S.C., where she was promptly placed in reserve again on 22 December 1909. The torpedo boat remained at Charleston, in various conditions of reserve, but apparently always still in commission. Infrequently, she got underway to test her machinery. In 1917, Tingey moved north to the Philadelphia Navy Yard where she was placed out of commission on 8 March 1917. A month later on 7 April 1917, she was recommissioned and moved further north to patrol the coastal waters of the 1st Naval District during the period the United States participated in World War I. In September 1918, the torpedo boat's name was canceled so that it could be given to Destroyer No. 272, one of the new Clemson-class destroyers. The older vessel then became Coast Torpedo Boat No. 17. Two months later, Germany sued for the armistice which ended hostilities. Coast Torpedo Boat No. 17 was placed out of commission at Philadelphia on 30 January 1919, and she was struck from the Navy list on 28 October 1919. On 10 March 1920, she was sold to the Independent Pier Co., of Philadelphia, Pa.
TB-35 USS Wickes
Displ: 165, length: 175'0" (wl.); beam: 17'70"; draft: 4'8" (mean); speed: 25.99 kts. (tl.), crew: 28 a. 3 1-pdr. rf., 3 18" torpedo tubes; class: Blakely.
The first Wilkes (Torpedo Boat No. 35) was laid down on 3 June 1899 at Morris Heights, N.Y., by the Gas Engine & Power Co. and the Charles L. Seabury &c Co.; launched on 28 September 1901; sponsored by Miss Harriet E. Rankin; and commissioned at the Norfolk Navy Yard on 18 September 1902, Lt. (jg.) Dudley W. Knox in command.
Wilkes spent the bulk of her career in reserve. Soon after her commissioning, she was assigned to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla based at Norfolk, Va. There, she remained until the winter of 1906 and 1907 when she briefly returned to full commission for service with the 3d Torpedo Flotilla. On 30 May 1907, she was again placed in reserve with the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Norfolk. There, she remained until 23 November 1908 when she was recommissioned and assigned to duty with the Atlantic Torpedo Fleet based at Charleston, S.C. On 22 December 1909, she went back into reserve, this time at the Charleston Navy Yard. Apparently in commission, in reserve, while at Charleston, Wilkes was decommissioned there on 14 November 1913, and her name was struck from the Navy list on the following day. She was sunk as a target sometime during the summer or fall of 1914.
|Sources: Photos are from collections of the Naval Historical Center and Library of Congress. Boat data is from the "Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships."|
|Thomas Apple biography: He works in the In-Service Engineering Branch of Combatant Craft Division as a Naval Architect Technician. He is the Program Manager for the inflatable life rafts for surface craft and vessels. He first started in Combatant Craft in 1984 after serving as a Combat Engineer in the U.S. Army. He also had a historical reproduction business where he supplied nautical and other historical reproductions for several museums including the Mariner's Museum and Jamestown Settlement as well as providing props for movies such as "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World," "Pirates of the Caribbean" (first one), National Treasure, and several other historical themed movies.|