USS Pennsylvania (ACR-4)
Tinted postcard of USS Pennsylvania, from around 1905–1908.
|Ordered:||3 March 1899|
|Awarded:||10 January 1901|
|Builder:||William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|Cost:||$3,890,000 (contract price of hull and machinery)|
|Laid down:||7 August 1901|
|Launched:||22 August 1903|
|Sponsored by:||Miss Coral Quay|
|Commissioned:||9 March 1905|
|Decommissioned:||10 July 1931|
|Renamed:||Pittsburgh, 27 August 1912|
|Reclassified:||CA-4, 17 July 1920|
|Struck:||26 October 1931|
|Fate:||sold for scrap, 21 December 1931|
|General characteristics (as built)|
|Class and type:||Pennsylvania-class armored cruiser|
|Beam:||69 ft 6 in (21.18 m)|
|Draft:||24 ft 1 in (7.34 m) (mean)|
|Complement:||80 officers 745 enlisted 64 Marines|
|General characteristics (Pre-1911 Refit)|
|Installed power:||8 × Modified Niclausse boilers, 12 × Babcock & Wilcox boilers|
|General characteristics (Pre-1921 Refit)|
She was laid down on 7 August 1901 by William Cramp and Sons of Philadelphia, launched on 22 August 1903, sponsored by Miss Coral Quay, daughter of Senator Matthew S. Quay of Pennsylvania, and commissioned on 9 March 1905, Captain Thomas C. McLean in command.
Pre-World War I
Pennsylvania operated on the East Coast of the United States and in the Caribbean until 8 September 1906, when she cleared Newport for the Asiatic Station, returning to San Francisco on 27 September 1907 for west coast duty. She visited Chile and Peru in 1910.
On 18 January 1911, a plane flown by Eugene Ely from the Tanforan airfield in San Bruno, California landed on a platform constructed on her afterdeck. This was the first successful aircraft landing on a ship, and the first using a tailhook apparatus, thus opening the era of naval aviation and aircraft carriers.
World War I
Recommissioning, Pittsburgh patrolled the west coast of Mexico during the troubled times of insurrection that led to American involvement with the Veracruz landing in April 1914. Later she served as flagship for Admiral William B. Caperton—Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet—during South American patrols and visits during World War I. Cooperating with the British, she scouted German raiders and acted as a powerful deterrent against their penetration of the eastern Pacific.
Returning to the east coast, Pittsburgh prepared for duty as flagship for Commander, US Naval Forces in the eastern Mediterranean, for which she sailed from Portsmouth, New Hampshire on 19 June 1919. Cruising the Adriatic, Aegean, and Black Seas, she joined in the massive relief operations and other humanitarian concerns with which the Navy carried out its quasi-diplomatic functions in this troubled area. In June 1920, she sailed north to visit French and British ports and cruise the Baltic Sea on further relief assignments before returning to decommission at Philadelphia on 15 October 1921.
On 9 September 1920, she ran aground on rocks in the Baltic Sea off Libau. She was assisted by HMS Dauntless and Frederick; Frederick escorted her to Sheerness Royal Dockyard, Kent, England which she reached at 10:00 o'clock in the morning of 23 September. Before 12 October she had moved up river to Chatham Dockyard where she went into dry dock. On that date a team from Pittsburgh routed a team of British officers 21-8 at baseball. The following month, with Pittsburgh still in dry dock, a court martial absolved Captain Todd of blame for the grounding but the navigator and watch officer were held accountable.
Recommissioned on 2 October 1922, Pittsburgh returned to European and Mediterranean waters as flagship of Naval Forces Europe, arriving in Gibraltar on the 19th of October. On the 23rd, she hoisted the flag of Vice Admiral Long when Utah returned to the US. By 10 July 1923 Pittsburgh was in the harbor at Cherbourg, France, to disembark 3 officers and 60 enlisted men of her Marine Detachment. They were detailed to travel to the dedication of the Belleau Wood National Monument to the American Expeditionary Force. Belleau Wood was where the US Marine Corps made a famous stand during the Allied Campaign of 1918. Pittsburgh became flagship for two of the Commander-in-Chiefs, US Naval Forces European Waters, Admiral Philip Andrews in 1924–1925 and Vice Admiral Roger Welles in 1925–1926.
The ship arrived at New York on 17 July 1926 to prepare for flagship duty with the Asiatic Fleet, during which time she was partially refitted, including the removal of her forward stack (making her unique to her class) and removal and plating over several 3-inch guns. She sailed on 16 October for Chefoo, arriving on 23 December. Early in January 1927, she landed sailors and Marines to protect Americans and other foreigners in Shanghai from the turmoil and fighting of the Chinese power struggle. When Chiang Kai-shek's Cantonese Army won control of Shanghai in March, Pittsburgh resumed operations on patrol and exercises with the Asiatic Fleet. Closing her long career of service, she carried the Governor General of the Philippines, Dwight F. Davis on a courtesy cruise to such ports as Saigon, Bangkok, Singapore, Belawan, Batavia (Jakarta), Surabaya, Bali, Makassar, and Sandakan, returning to Manila on 15 April 1931. Six days later, she steamed for Suez en route to Hampton Roads, arriving on 26 June. Decommissioning on 10 July, she was sold for scrapping under the terms of the London Naval Treaty to Union Shipbuilding, Baltimore, Maryland on 21 December.
Pittsburgh's bow ornament was presented to the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where it was installed overlooking Junction Hollow at the western edge of the school's campus. Today, the ornament is on display at Soldiers and Sailors National Military Museum and Memorial; a replica of it is still in place at the modern Carnegie Mellon University.
For many years the reason why the bell bore the inscription was a mystery. However a letter from Captain J W Todd USN commanding Pittsburgh was published in the Chatham News on 17 December 1920. In it he thanks the Dean for various events during the two and a half months that Pittsburgh was in dry dock at Chatham. He encloses a cheque for £52 10s to pay for the recasting of the bell and discusses the inscription.
- "Ships' Data, U. S. Naval Vessels". US Naval Department. 1 January 1914. pp. 24–31. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
- "Ships' Data, U.S. Naval Vessels". US Navy. p. 50. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
- "Pittsburgh II (Armored Cruiser No. 4)". Naval History and Heritage Command. 21 August 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
- "G. B. Landenberger, Navy Captain, Dies: Retired Officer Served for 35—Held Many Important Posts During Career". The New York Times. 16 January 1936. p. 21. (subscription required (. ))
- "ACR-4 USS Pennsylvania / USS Pittsburgh". Retrieved 7 August 2012.
- Smith, Craig (13 February 2008). "USS Pittsburgh treasure headed for Soldiers & Sailors museum". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on 2008-02-14.
- Love, Dickon. "Rochester, Cathedral Church of Christ and The Blessed Virgin Mary". Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
- Chatham News, 17 Dec 1920 p.7
- Alden, John D. American Steel Navy: A Photographic History of the U.S. Navy from the Introduction of the Steel Hull in 1883 to the Cruise of the Great White Fleet. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1989. ISBN 0-87021-248-6
- The Chatham News 1920-12-20. Wikisource. 20 December 1920. Microfilmed copy available for consultation at Medway Archives
- Friedman, Norman. U.S. Cruisers: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1984. ISBN 0-87021-718-6
- Musicant, Ivan. U.S. Armored Cruisers: A Design and Operational History. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1985. ISBN 0-87021-714-3
- Taylor, Michael J.H. (1990). Jane's Fighting Ships of World War I. Studio. ISBN 1-85170-378-0.
This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain.
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