Tuesday, March 30, 2010
USS Galveston (Cruiser No. 17, later PG-31 and CL-19)
Figure 1: USS Galveston (Cruiser No. 17) underway soon after completion, circa 1905. Note that her topmasts are partially lowered. Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1969. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: USS Galveston (Cruiser No. 17) in Manila Bay, Philippine Islands, 12 July 1908. Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1975. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: USS Galveston (Cruiser No. 17) on the target range in Manila Bay, Philippines, in May 1916. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation. Collection of Fred Iverson, 1959. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: USS Galveston (Cruiser No. 17) in the Dewey Dry Dock, Olongapo Naval Station, Philippines, circa 1916. Courtesy of Arthur B. Furnas, 1969. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: Asiatic Fleet warships off Chefoo, China, circa 1914-1916. Ships present are (from left to right): USS Galveston (Cruiser No. 17), USS Bainbridge (Destroyer No. 1); and USS Saratoga (Armored Cruiser No. 2). Collection of C.A. Shively, 1978. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: USS Galveston (Cruiser No. 17) moored in an Italian port, circa 1919-1920. This photograph was mounted in a Christmas calendar for the year 1922, given by Arthur A. Wright to his mother in December 1921. Collection of Arthur A. Wright, 1978. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: USS Galveston (now CL-19) at anchor, 1922. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 8: USS Galveston (CL-19) in Central American waters, circa 1924-1927. Collection of John Spector, donated by Mrs. Minnie Spector, 1986. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 9: USS Galveston (CL-19), center, with USS Quail (AM-15), at left, probably at Corinto, Nicaragua, in December 1926 to February 1927, during the Nicaraguan revolution. Collection of John Spector, donated by Mrs. Minnie Spector, 1986. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 10: Rear Admiral Newton A. McCully, USN (center) on board USS Galveston (Cruiser No. 17) at Novorossisk, Russia, in March 1920. Note caissons for 3-inch landing force guns in the foreground. Courtesy of Lieutenant Commander Leonard Doughty, USN, 1929. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 11: USS Galveston (CL-19) view on deck, looking forward from near the stern, probably while she was operating in Central American waters, circa 1924-1927. Collection of John Spector, donated by Mrs. Minnie Spector, 1986. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 12: Members of USS Galveston’s (CL-19) crew with one of her motor launches, probably in Central American waters, circa 1924-1927. Collection of John Spector, donated by Mrs. Minnie Spector, 1986. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Named after a city in Texas, the 3,200-ton USS Galveston (Cruiser No. 17) was the fourth of six Denver class “protected cruisers,” which were ships that possessed armor protection on their main decks but not on their sides. Also known as “Peace Cruisers,” these slow, lightly-armed and armored ships were never meant for fleet actions. They were used as gunboats with the Asiatic Fleet and in the waters off Central America and South America, as well as in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. Because they were needed to patrol distant waters with little support, the Denver class ships were furnished with sails to extend their cruising range while economizing on coal, but they also had large coal bunkers, which increased their range and endurance. Their steel hulls were sheathed with pine and coppered for long service in tropical waters and they possessed roomy, well-ventilated quarters for their crews to ease the discomfort of sailing in hot climates. Each Denver class warship had a two-and-one-half-inch-thick armored deck and all of them were armed with ten 5-inch rapid-fire guns. USS Galveston was built by William R. Trigg Company at Richmond, Virginia, and was commissioned 15 February 1905. She was approximately 308 feet long and 44 feet wide, had a top speed of 16 knots, and had a crew of 339 officers and men.
Galveston left Norfolk, Virginia, on 10 April 1905 and made a brief trip to her namesake city, Galveston, Texas, where she was presented with a silver service (a set of cups, dishes and utensils used for formal dinners and occasions) by the citizens of that community. Galveston returned to the east coast on 3 May and then left New York on 18 June for Cherbourg, France. Once there, Galveston participated in ceremonies commemorating the return of the remains of John Paul Jones to the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. The ceremonial task force that carried John Paul Jones’ remains back to the United States arrived at Annapolis on 22 July. Galveston then assisted USS Dolphin and USS Mayflower in hosting the Russo-Japanese Peace Conference (4 to 8 August) at Oyster Bay, New York; Newport, Rhode Island; and finally at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The peace conference, brokered by President Theodore Roosevelt, successfully ended the bloody Russo-Japanese War and earned the President the Nobel Peace Prize.
From 13 August 1905 to 11 September 1905, Galveston carried US State Department representatives to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. After returning to the United States, Galveston left Tompkinsville, New York, on 28 December, sailed to the Mediterranean and briefly served with the US Navy’s European Squadron. She left Europe on 28 March 1906 and went via the Suez Canal to Cavite in the Philippines. As part of the Navy’s Asiatic Fleet, she visited various ports in the Philippines, China, Japan, and even Vladivostok, Russia. Galveston eventually returned to the United States and reached San Francisco, California, on 17 February 1910. She was decommissioned at the Puget Sound Navy Yard on 21 February, but was re-commissioned there on 29 June 1912. After completing a training cruise to Alaska, Galveston left Puget Sound Navy Yard on 19 September 1913 and returned to Cavite on 2 November to begin another tour of duty with the Asiatic Fleet.
While with the Asiatic Fleet, Galveston primarily escorted convoys bringing supplies and Marines from the Philippines to China. After arriving in China, Galveston and the Marines assisted the US Navy’s Yangtze River Patrol, which was used to protect American lives and property in that troubled country. Galveston also visited ports in British North Borneo and Guam. Galveston returned to San Diego on 10 January 1918, but then headed south and transited the Panama Canal 23 January. She then headed north and made a stop at Norfolk, Virginia, before arriving at her final destination of New York on 11 February, just in time to participate in the American war effort in the Atlantic during World War I.
Galveston joined Squadron 2 of the Atlantic Fleet Cruiser Force and was used for convoy escort duties and for training Naval Armed Guard crews. After escorting one convoy from New York to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Galveston escorted several convoys between New York and Norfolk. On 22 September 1918, Galveston left New York and escorted a 19-ship convoy bound for Ponta Delgada in the Azores. On the morning of 30 September, the convoy was attacked by a German submarine, U-152. The cargo ship Ticonderoga was sunk by the submarine with the loss of 213 lives. Galveston, seeing the attack on Ticonderoga, went after the German submarine and began firing her guns at it. Although the submarine got away, Galveston managed to prevent any further attacks on the convoy and the rest of the cargo ships made it safely to Ponta Delgada on 4 October 1918.
Galveston returned to Norfolk on 20 October 1918 and continued her coastal escort duties until the end of the war. In March 1919, she was sent to Europe and was used to transport American troops to northern Russia. From July 1919 to July 1920, Galveston was the station ship at Constantinople. Her primary duties included transporting refugees, Red Cross officials, and senior officers around the Black Sea region.
In July 1920, Galveston was re-classified a gunboat and given the hull number PG-31. She was re-classified again in August 1921 and designated a light cruiser, CL-19. Galveston was assigned to the US Navy’s Special Service Squadron in the Caribbean and served off the coast of Central America during the bulk of the 1920s. One of her most notable missions was landing US troops in Nicaragua during that nation’s revolution in 1926. But the elderly cruiser eventually was decommissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 2 September 1930. USS Galveston remained there until she was sold for scrapping on 13 September 1933.
Posted by Remo at 9:03 AM