Wednesday, April 25, 2007

US Revenue Cutter McCulloch

The US Revenue Cutter McCulloch was built by William Cramp & Sons in Philadelphia and was commissioned into the Revenue Cutter Service (the forerunner of the US Coast Guard) on December 12, 1897. The ship had a barquentine rig and a triple expansion steam engine. Armed with four 3-inch guns and with a crew of 130 men, the McCulloch was the largest Revenue Cutter built to date.

The McCulloch was on a shakedown cruise in the Far East when, on April 5, 1898, her Commanding Officer, Captain D.B. Hogsdon, received word in Singapore that he was to join Commodore George Dewey’s Asiatic Squadron in Hong Kong. The McCulloch quickly set sail for Hong Kong and arrived there on April 17. On April 27, the entire Squadron left Hong Kong and on April 30 they entered Manila Bay. The first major naval battle of the Spanish-American War was about to begin. McCulloch’s primary duty during the attack was to guard the two supply ships that were sailing with Dewey’s task force and to tow any crippled American warships to safety. The attack was a complete success and none of the American ships sustained any major damage. After the Spanish fleet was destroyed, the McCulloch was sent to Hong Kong to cable the first dispatches of the great victory at Manila Bay to Washington. In the weeks following the historic battle, the McCulloch served as a dispatch vessel and was also used to patrol Manila Bay. Although small and lightly armored, the McCulloch won much praise from Commodore Dewey for her performance in both the Battle of Manila Bay and the subsequent blockade of Manila itself. This small ship, which wasn’t even built for the US Navy, clearly made a good impression on the demanding Commodore.

The McCulloch returned to the United States and arrived at her new home port of San Francisco on January 10, 1899. In 1906 she was sent to Alaska to enforce fur seal regulations and to take part in the Bering Sea patrol. The McCulloch returned to San Francisco in 1912 and patrolled the California coastline until June 13, 1917, when she was rammed and sunk three miles northwest of Point Conception, California, by the Pacific Steamship Company’s SS Governor. This was a sad end to a historic little ship.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Hello and Welcome

This is our first ship. It is the HMCS Summerside and she was a Flower Class Corvette with the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II. They were amazing warships and they made an enormous contribution fighting German U-Boats in the Battle of the Atlantic. These ships were also made famous in Nicholas Monsarrat's book, The Cruel Sea. Currently, the HMCS Sackville is the only ship left in this class and it's moored in Halifax, Nova Scotia, as a museum ship. Unfortunately, the Sackville is in danger of being scrapped, primarily due to lack of interest in preserving her as a museum ship. You can read more about this sad state of affairs here: