Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Figure 1: The tug W.H. Brown photographed in 1897 or 1898. This tug became USS Piscataqua in 1898 and was designated AT-49 in 1920. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: Fine screen halftone reproduction of a photograph taken in 1899 of USS Piscataqua. Copied from "The New Navy of the United States," by N.L. Stebbins (New York, 1912). Donation of David Shadell, 1987. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: USS Wompatuck, left, and USS Piscataqua, right, at Algiers, Algeria, circa January 1901, while en route from the US to the Philippines. The original print was a halftoned image. Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1975. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: USS Piscataqua at Guam, circa 1910. The original image was printed on postal card ("AZO") stock. Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2006. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: USS Piscataqua off Olongapo Naval Station, Philippine Islands, prior to 1920. Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1978. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: View of the waterfront of the Olongapo Naval Station, Philippines, circa 1914-1916. Ships present are (from left to right): USS Monadnock (Monitor No. 3); USS Monterey (Monitor No. 6); USS Bainbridge (Destroyer No. 1); USS Decatur (Destroyer No. 5); USS Pampanga; and USS Piscataqua. Collection of C.A. Shively, 1978. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: Asiatic Fleet ships dressed with flags in honor of George Washington's birthday, 22 February 1915, probably in a Philippine Islands harbor. The three ships in the distance are (from left to right): USS Cincinnati (Cruiser No. 7); USS Piscataqua; and USS Dale (Destroyer No. 4). Collection of C.A. Shively. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Named after a river located between the states of Maine and New Hampshire, USS Piscataqua was an 854-ton commercial tugboat that originally was called the W.H. Brown and was built in 1897 by the F.W. Wheeler Company at West Bay City, Michigan, for W.H. Brown & Company. Due to a need for more tugboats during the Spanish-American War, the US Navy purchased the ship on 11 May 1898 and renamed her USS Piscataqua. The tugboat was commissioned on 18 June 1898 and was approximately 149 feet long and 28 feet wide, had a top speed of 16 knots, and had a crew of 58 officers and men. Piscataqua was also armed with two 3-pounder cannons.
Piscataqua was immediately sent south and served off the coast of Cuba for the rest of the Spanish-American war. In 1900, she was assigned to the Asiatic Station and made her way eastward to Europe. After crossing the Atlantic, Piscataqua steamed along the Mediterranean, making numerous stops along the way. She then transited the Suez Canal and eventually made her way to the Philippines.
Piscataqua spent the rest of her career with the US Asiatic Fleet. She visited ports throughout the Philippines and even made a voyage to Guam. The ship was re-designated AT-49 in July 1920. USS Piscataqua was decommissioned in Cavite, the Philippines, on 10 April 1922 but was not sold for scrapping until 7 January 1931 in Manila.
Given their size and limited endurance, ships like Piscataqua traveled enormous distances during their careers. For a 149-foot tugboat in 1900 to make her way across the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, through the Suez Canal, and then to the Philippines is an accomplishment in and of itself. But then the ship went on to give another 20 years of solid service to the US Navy with the Asiatic Fleet, traveling throughout the Philippines and also to Guam. Some tugboats were even used as small gunboats in the Far East, especially in China, although Piscataqua seems to have avoided any armed confrontations. They were small ships that were required to perform big jobs, although few, if any, are remembered today.
Posted by Remo at 8:33 AM