Tuesday, July 12, 2011
USS Brooklyn (CA-3)
Figure 1: USS Brooklyn (CA-3) at the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, NY, 1898. Photographed by Enrique Muller. Collection of the New York Naval Shipyard. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: USS Brooklyn (CA-3) in New York Harbor during the Spanish-American War victory naval parade, August 1898. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: USS Brooklyn (CA-3) in New York Harbor during the victory fleet review, August 1898. USS New York (CA-2) is in the left background. The original photograph was copyright by George P. Hall & Son, New York, 1898. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: USS Brooklyn (CA-3) returns to the United States from Cuban waters, August 1898. Her crewmen are waving to the photographer. The original photograph was published on a stereograph card by Strohmeyer & Wyman, New York, 1898. Donation of Louis Smaus, 1985. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: USS Brooklyn (CA-3) steaming in the New York naval parade, August 1898, upon the return of the fleet from Cuban waters. The original photograph was published on a stereograph card by the American Stereoscopic Company, copyrighted by R.Y. Young, 1899. Donation of Louis Smaus, 1985. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: USS Brooklyn (CA-3) in drydock at the New York Navy Yard, 1898, with men working over her side. Note rudder and starboard propeller. Original photograph was copyright 1899 by R.Y. Young. Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, Corte Madera, CA, 1971. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: USS Brooklyn (CA-3) sailors and Marines on the cruiser's forecastle, with mascot goat, 1898. Note details of pilothouse and bridge, improvised gun port shields on her forward 8-inch gun turret, and very odd "flathat" worn by one sailor. The original photograph was published on a stereograph card, copyright by C.L. Wasson, 1899. Courtesy of Commander Donald J. Robinson, USN(Ret), 1982. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 8: "Next" -- Barber shop scene on board USS Brooklyn (CA-3) in 1898. Note that this shop uses a portable barber's chair, set up in Brooklyn's windlass room. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Originally named after the city of Brooklyn (before it was incorporated into New York City as a borough in 1898), the 9,215-ton USS Brooklyn (CA-3) was an armored cruiser that was built by William Cramp and Sons at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was commissioned on 1 December 1896. The ship was approximately 402 feet long and 64 feet wide, had a top speed of 20 knots, and had a crew of 561 officers and men. Brooklyn was armed with eight 8-inch guns, 12 5-inch guns, 12 6-pounder guns, four 1-pounders, and five 18-inch torpedo tubes.
After her shakedown cruise, Brooklyn steamed to Great Britain to represent the United States during Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebration. She left England on 6 July 1897 and returned to New York City on 17 July. After that, Brooklyn patrolled along America’s east coast and in the West Indies. Brooklyn became the flagship of Commodore W.S. Schley’s “Flying Squadron” on 28 March 1898, shortly after the battleship USS Maine was sunk in Havana harbor, Cuba, on 15 February. Congress declared war on Spain on 25 April 1898, marking the official beginning of the Spanish-American War.
Schley’s Flying Squadron arrived off Cienfuegos, Cuba, on 21 May 1898 and established a blockade of that port. On 26 May, the Flying Squadron moved to Santiago, Cuba, where the Spanish fleet was hiding behind the protection of Spanish coastal forts. When the Spanish fleet finally left Santiago to do battle with the American fleet on 3 July 1898, Brooklyn was one of the key US naval vessels that took part in what turned out to be the Battle of Santiago. Brooklyn scored numerous hits on the Spanish ships. The US warships ended up dominating the battle and destroyed the Spanish Fleet. Brooklyn also demonstrated her toughness by sustaining 20 hits, but losing only one man killed and one man wounded.
Brooklyn returned to New York on 20 August 1898 and resumed patrolling off America’s east coast and in the Caribbean. She participated in the Spanish-American War victory celebration in New York on 5 October 1899 and then steamed to Manila in the Philippines, going via the Mediterranean Sea and the Suez Canal. Brooklyn arrived in Manila on 16 December 1899 and became the flagship of the US Asiatic Squadron. She participated in the North China Relief Expedition (8 July to 11 October 1900), also known as the “Boxer Rebellion,” and completed a cruise to Australia and the Dutch East Indies from 10 April to 7 August 1901. Brooklyn remained with the Asiatic Squadron until 1 March 1902 and then returned to the United States, again via the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean. She arrived at the New York Navy Yard on 1 May 1902.
On 20 May 1902, Brooklyn arrived at Havana, Cuba, and participated in ceremonies that transferred control of that island from the United States to the new Cuban government. For the next four years, Brooklyn sailed with the North Atlantic Fleet and with the European Squadron, eventually returning to New York on 25 May 1905. On 7 June 1905, while acting as flagship for Rear Admiral C.D. Sigsbee, Brooklyn sailed for Cherbourg, France, where the remains of John Paul Jones were received and transported back to the United States. The ship returned to the United States and arrived at the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, where the remains were transferred to shore and placed into a vault at the Naval Academy on 23 July 1905.
After completing a cruise with the naval militia and a tour of the Mediterranean, Brooklyn went into reserve on 16 May 1906. She was placed back into commission for a brief period of time from 30 June to 2 August 1906 for a trip to Havana, Cuba. But Brooklyn was again placed in reserve until the spring of 1907, when she was used as a display for the Jamestown Exposition at Jamestown, Virginia. The ship was placed back in reserve on 21 December 1907.
Brooklyn was decommissioned on 23 June 1908 and remained that way until she was re-commissioned on 2 March 1914. She was assigned to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet and became a receiving ship at the Boston Navy Yard at Boston, Massachusetts, from July 1914 to March 1915. With World War I raging in Europe, Brooklyn conducted neutrality patrols around Boston until November 1915. Brooklyn was sent back to the Asiatic Fleet in the Philippines where she served as the flagship for the commander-in-chief there. She made numerous visits to China, Japan, and Russia until September 1919. Brooklyn went on to become flagship for the commander of Division 1 of the Asiatic Fleet and then in January 1920 was assigned to the Pacific Fleet as the flagship for the commander of destroyer squadrons. She continued functioning in that capacity until 15 January 1921. USS Brooklyn was decommissioned for the last time at the Mare Island Navy Yard in California on 9 March 1921 and was sold for scrap on 20 December of that same year.