USS Caesar (AC-16)

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USS Caesar (1898–1922) In port, possibly while fitting out for Navy service in April–May 1898
USS Caesar (1898–1922) In port, possibly while fitting out for Navy service in April–May 1898.
History
Name: USS Caesar
Builder: Ropner and Sons, Stockton-on-Tees, England
Laid down: 1896
Acquired: 21 April 1898
Commissioned:
  • 13 May 1898
  • 27 December 1904
Decommissioned:
  • 23 May 1904
  • 11 June 1922
General characteristics
Type: Collier
Displacement: 5,920 long tons (6,010 t)
Length: 322 ft (98 m)
Beam: 43 ft 11 in (13.39 m)
Draft: 19 ft 7 in (5.97 m)
Speed: 10 kn (12 mph; 19 km/h)
Complement: 98
Armament: 2 × 3-pounders

USS Caesar (AC-16) was a collier built in 1896 by Ropner and Sons, Stockton-on-Tees, England, as Kingtor; purchased by the United States Navy on 21 April 1898; fitted out by New York Navy Yard; and commissioned on 13 May 1898, Lieutenant Commander A. B. Speyers in command.

Playing the same essential role in fleet operations as does a modern-day oiler, the collier Caesar sailed from Lambert's Point, Virginia on 1 June 1898 laden with coal for the North Atlantic Squadron then blockading Cuba and Puerto Rico in the Spanish–American War. She continued to carry fuel for this force until 8 July 1900, when she cleared Norfolk, Virginia, on the first of four voyages to the Far East. Sailing by way of the Suez Canal, Caesar brought cargo to the ships taking part in the suppression of the Philippine–American War, and aided in the establishment of bases in the new American territory.

In July 1903, Caesar returned to duty with the North Atlantic Fleet until decommissioned at Norfolk Navy Yard on 23 May 1904. Recommissioned on 27 December, she ferried equipment and supplies for the solar eclipse expedition of 1905 to Valencia, Spain. At the close of the scientific program, she returned to Norfolk with the equipment on 13 October 1905. While out of commission at Norfolk from 28 October – 4 November 1905, Caesar was fitted with towing machinery, and then joined the stores ship Glacier, collier Brutus, and tug Potomac in an historic assignment; together, the ships towed the floating dry dock Dewey by way of the Suez Canal to Olongapo, Luzon, a passage which took from 28 December 1905 – 10 July 1906. This remains one of the sea's great towing achievements. Caesar made voyages to the Mediterranean from October 1915 – April 1916 and from July–September 1916. On her first, she carried 135 refugees from Jaffa, to Alexandria, Egypt.

Clearing New York for the Mediterranean once more on 19 December 1916, Caesar delivered Red Cross relief supplies for Syria at Alexandria, then sailed on to Olongapo. She served as cargo and passenger carrier for the Asiatic Fleet until August 1918, when she sailed for the Panama Canal and Norfolk, arriving on 26 October. Three days later she sailed for France with Army cargo, returning to Norfolk on 26 February. East coast operations preceded an extensive overhaul at Norfolk which began in September 1920. From May 1921, she resumed duty transporting coal and other supplies between the east and west coasts, and on 11 March 1922, she cleared Hampton Roads on her last voyage. After carrying cargo through the Panama Canal to Tutuila, American Samoa, she proceeded to Mare Island Navy Yard, where she was decommissioned on 11 June and sold on 22 December.

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