U.S.S. Texas (1892)

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U.S.S. Texas (1892)
Builder: Norfolk Navy Yard
Ordered: Act of 3 August, 1886[1]
Laid down: 1 Jun, 1889[2]
Launched: 28 Jun, 1892[3]
Commissioned: 11 Aug, 1895[4]
Decommissioned: 1 Feb, 1911[5]
Stricken: 11 Oct, 1911[6]
Sunk: 1912[7]
Fate: Target ship
U.S.S. Texas was the U.S. Navy's first modern armored battleship built for the "New Navy".

Construction

This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

Texas was laid down on 1 June, 1889 at Portsmouth, Virginia, by the Norfolk Navy Yard; launched on 28 June, 1892; sponsored by Miss Madge Houston Williams.

Service

Texas was commissioned on 15 August, 1895, under the command of Captain Henry Glass. Assigned to the North Atlantic Squadron, the warship cruised the eastern seaboard of the United States. In February, 1897 she left the Atlantic for a brief cruise to the Gulf coast ports of Galveston and New Orleans. She resumed Atlantic coast duty in March of 1897 and remained so employed until the beginning of 1898. At that time, she visited Key West and the Dry Tortugas en route to Galveston for a return visit which she made in mid-February. Returning to the Atlantic via the Dry Tortugas in March, Texas arrived in Hampton Roads on the 24th and resumed normal duty with the North Atlantic Squadron.

Early in the spring, war between the United States and Spain erupted over conditions in Cuba and the supposed Spanish destruction of the battleship Maine in Havana harbor in February, 1898. By 18 May, Texas was at Key West, Florida readying to prosecute that war.

On the 21st, she arrived off Cienfuegos, Cuba, with the Flying Squadron to blockade the Cuban coast. After a return to Key West for coal, Texas arrived off Santiago de Cuba on the 27th. She patrolled off that port until 11 June on which day she made a reconnaissance mission to Guantanamo Bay. For the next five weeks, she patrolled between Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo Bay. On 16 June, the warship joined Marblehead for a bombardment of the fort on Cayo del Tore in Guantanamo Bay. The two ships opened fire just after 1400 and ceased fire about an hour and 16 minutes later, having reduced the fort to impotency.

On 3 July, she was steaming off Santiago de Cuba when the Spanish Fleet under Admiral Cervera made a desperate attempt to escape past the American Fleet. Texas immediately took four of the enemy ships under fire. While the battleship's main battery pounded Vizcaya and Colon, her secondary battery joined Iowa and Gloucester in battering two torpedo-boat destroyers.

The two Spanish destroyers fell out of the action quickly and beached themselves, heavily damaged. One by one, the larger enemy warships also succumbed to the combined fire of the American Fleet. Each, in turn, sheered off toward shore and beached herself. Thus, Texas and the other ships of the Flying Squadron annihilated the Spanish Fleet.

The defeat of Cervera's fleet helped to seal the doom of Santiago de Cuba. The city fell to the besieging American forces on the 17th, just two weeks after the great American naval victory. The day after the surrender at Santiago, Spain sought peace through the good offices of the French government. Even before the peace protocol was signed in Washington, D.C., on 12 August, American ships began returning home. Texas arrived in New York on 31 July and remained in nearby waters until late November.

At that time, she moved south to Hampton Roads where she arrived on 2 December. The warship resumed her peacetime routine patrolling the Atlantic coast of the United States. Though her primary field of operations once again centered on the northeastern coast, she also made periodic visits to such places as San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Havana, Cuba, where her crew could view some of the results of their own ship's efforts in the recent war.

Texas was taken out of commission briefly in 1901 for repairs at the Norfolk Navy Yard but was commissioned again on 3 November, 1902. She served as flagship for the Coast Squadron until 1905 and remained in that organization after the commander shifted his flag. By 1908 she had become the station ship at Charleston, South Carolina. On 15 February, 1911 her name was changed to San Marcos to allow the name Texas to be assigned to Battleship 35. On 10 October, 1911 her name was struck from the Navy List. She was subsequently sunk as a target in Tangier Sound in Chesapeake Bay.

Captains

Dates of appointment are provided when known.

See Also

Footnotes

  1. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. p. 139.
  2. Friedman. U.S. Battleships. p. 418.
  3. Friedman. U.S. Battleships. p. 418.
  4. Friedman. U.S. Battleships. p. 418.
  5. Friedman. U.S. Battleships. p. 418.
  6. Friedman. U.S. Battleships. p. 418.
  7. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. p. 139.
  8. List and Station, July 1898. p. 5.
  9. Register of Officers, 1900. p. 8.
  10. Register of Officers, 1904. p. 8.
  11. Register of Officers, 1904. p. 8.
  12. Register of Officers, 1905. p. 8.
  13. Register of Officers, 1905. p. 8.
  14. Register of Officers, 1906. p. 8.
  15. Register of Officers, 1907. p. 16.
  16. Register of Officers, 1907. p. 16.
  17. Register of Officers, 1909. p. 32.
  18. Register of Officers, 1911. p. 12.
  19. Register of Officers, 1911. p. 12.

Bibliography

  • Chesneau, Robert; Kolesnik, Eugene (editors) (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. London: Conway Maritime Press. (on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk).
  • Friedman, Norman (1985). U.S. Battleships: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-715-1. (on Amazon.com).
  • Silverstone, Paul H. (2006). The U.S. Navy Warship Series: The New Navy 1883-1922. New York: Routledge.


Pre-dreadnought U.S.S. Texas
<– U.S.S. Maine Battleships (US) Indiana Class –>