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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND
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Alliance

 

On 6 February 1778, France—encouraged by the American victory in the Battle of Saratoga—abandoned its long-standing policy of providing only covert aid to the cause of American patriots fighting for independence and openly joined American commissioners in Paris in signing a formal treaty of alliance. Following her entry into the war as an active participant, French assistance in logistical, military, naval, and diplomatic matters was invaluable to the American cause.

 

II

 

(ScGbt: dp. 1,375; lbp. 185'0"; b. 35'0"; dr. 16'4"; s. 11 k.; cpl. 190; a. 1 11", 4 9", 1 60-pdr. blr.; cl. Adams)

 

The second Alliance was laid down as Huron—a screw gunboat of the third rate—in 1873 at the Norfolk Navy Yard, and launched on 8 March 1875. She was sponsored by Miss Eulalie Boush, whose father, Naval Constructor George R. Boush, was superintending the warship's construction. However, prior to the time when Huron was to join the active fleet, she was renamed Alliance—to honor the Revolutionary War frigate. Ultimately, Alliance was commissioned on 18 January 1877, Comdr. Theordore F. Kane in command.

 

Fitting out at Norfolk until mid-February 1877, Alliance shifted thence to Hampton Roads, and remained in the Tidewater area until 9 March, when she sailed to join the European Squadron which, at that time, was commanded by Rear Admiral John Lorimer Worden, best known for his role in the engagement between Monitor and CSS Virginia during the Civil War. For the next two years, Alliance would be a part of this squadron, into whose hands had been entrusted the mission of protecting American lives and property and "showing the flag"— much like the Sixth Fleet of today. Alliance based at Ville-franche, France, where the United States government maintained a "depot," with the permission of the French government.

 

Occasional outbreaks of armed conflict in the lands which bordered on the Mediterranean Sea gave the ships of the European Squadron ample opportunities to stand ready to protect American lives and property. The Russo-Turkish War, begun by the Russians (champions of Pan-Slavism)—in response to Turkish oppression in territory bordering hers, in the spring of 1877, affected Alliance's itinerary within a few months of her arrival on the station. Her orders, dated 20 August 1877, clearly stated her reason for being there: "Upon your arrival at Constantinople," they began, "you will inform the minister (the United States minister to Turkey) that you are ordered there for a time in consequence of the disturbed condition of affairs thereabouts, and that your ship may afford assistance and asylum in case of disorders threatening the safety of the Representatives or citizens of the United States." Enjoining Alliance's captain to observe "strict neutrality," Admiral Worden gave him the latitude to act at his own discretion, in actions which required "energy as well as prudence ..."

 

The following day, however, Alliance's orders were changed— the ship being directed to Salonika, on the Greek coast, and thence to Smyrna. Within a month, the success of the Turks— delaying the Russian offensives that summer by their gallant defense of the city of Plevna—had lessened concern for the lives of foreigners.

 

On 25 August, Alliance sailed from Smyrna for Salonika in company with Rear Admiral Worden's flagship, Trenton, and reached that port five days later. She returned to Smyrna, and then again visited Constantinople, where she remained into December. She sailed thence back to Smyrna, the new year 1878 finding her in that port. Having spent eight months in the eastern Mediterranean, Alliance sailed for Villefranche in early January 1878, but returned to Smyrna on 24 February, bringing with her quantities of stores to be distributed among the ships of the squadron.

 

Once more back in the eastern Mediterranean, Alliance became flagship for Rear Admiral William E. Le Roy (who had relieved Worden as commander of the European Squadron), in early March, the admiral transferring his flag from Trenton .Alliance then sailed for the Pireaus, Greece—the port for Athens—but violent gales compelled her to seek anchorage in Vourlah Bay for 36 hours before she proceeded to sea again on the morning of the 7th. Heavy gales again slowed the ship's passage, but the gunboat reached her destination on the 8th.

 

A few hours after Alliance's arrival, Vandalia arrived at the Pireaus bearing the former chief executive, General Ulysses S. Grant, on his world tour. During ex-President Grant's stay, Alliance rendered honors to him on 13 March. Less than two weeks later, while she lay at the Pireaus, the ship received the King and Queen of Greece, who, after inspecting the flagship "remained a considerable time on board" Alliance, their departure "honored with the usual ceremonies as upon their arrival" on 26 March.

 

Alliance sailed for Messina and Naples, Italy, on the 28th, bound, ultimately, for Villefranche. She arrived there on 10 April and remained in port through mid-May, departing for a cruise to the westward on the 18th. She then visited Marseilles, where, on the 26th, the French government steamer Coromandel fouled the gunboat's jib boom, carrying it away and causing some damage to Alliance's "head gear." After repairs, Alliance sailed for Spanish ports on the 28th, visiting Barcelona, Port Mahon, and Malaga before reaching the British Crown Colony of Gibraltar on 17 June. She then visited Cadiz and Tangiers, and paid a return call to Cadiz en route to Lisbon, Portugal, and Havre, France.

 

Sailing from Havre on 6 August, Alliance reached Cherbourg, France, on the 7th, and remained there for a day, before pushing on for Gibraltar on the 9th. She proceeded thence to Villefranche, arriving there on the 19th. After returning to the eastern Mediterranean, visiting Leghorn, Italy, between 20 and 27 September, she sailed on a cruise "in eastern waters, making Smyrna her headquarters." Alliance later visited Messina, Italy and Volo, Turkey; after "finding affairs there (at Volo) quiet," the gunboat sailed for Smyrna, arriving there on 11 October. Alliance remained there into December.

 

During 1879, Alliance carried out much the same routine as in her previous time with the European Squadron, ultimately returning home to the United States late in the year. Reaching Boston on 8 December 1879, Alliance sailed for Norfolk the following day, arriving there on the 14th. For the next five months, the ship lay under repairs at Norfolk, before she received orders at the end of April, 1880, to proceed to the Newfoundland Banks, to "search for and establish positions (if found) of the rocks and shoals" reported by shipping in that area.

 

After compensating her compasses in Lynnhaven Roads, Alliance sailed on 29 May 1880. She reached St. Pierre, a sparsely populated rocky isle off the south coast of Newfoundland, on 11 June, after a 12-day passage from Hampton Roads. She remained there for ten days, investigated the banks, and then divided a fortnight between St. John's, Newfoundland, and Halifax.

 

Proceeding thence to the Portsmouth, (N.H.) Navy Yard, and arriving there on 29 August, Alliance underwent repairs to her engines during the month of September. She then dropped down the eastern seaboard to Hampton Roads, making arrival on 4 October. The gunboat then sailed south, visiting Savannah, Ga., from 20 to 28 November. Taking on coal at Port Royal, S.C., Alliance then touched at Key West, Fla., again topping off her bunkers, before she set course for Mexican waters. Over succeeding weeks, Alliance visited the ports of Veracruz, Tuxpan, and Tampico, working her way along the eastern coast of Mexico, her sailing orders having directed her commanding officer to keep himself informed "regarding the commercial interests of the United States at the ports visited and render all assistance demanded by the interests of the United States to her citizens and commerce."

 

Reaching the Pensacola (Fla.) Navy Yard three days into the new year, 1881, Alliance then visited the Cuban ports of Matanzas, Cardenas and Havana before calling at Key West on 4 and 5 February. The gunboat then sailed for the Mississippi River, and visited New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Natchez over the succeeding weeks. During the ship's visit to New Orleans, a boy named John A. Lejeune visited her. He saw Alliance's marine officer, Captain of Marines George F. Elliott (a future commandant of the Corps), resplendent in his dress uniform, and, impressed by the sight, resolved to become a marine. He did, and eventually became Commandant himself.

 

Alliance returned to Hampton Roads, via Key West, and arrived there on 16 April. Later that same day, she proceeded up the Potomac River and anchored off Alexandria, Va., where, on 25 April, officers and men from the ship participated in the ceremonies attendant to the unveiling of a statue memorializing the accomplishments of Admiral David Glasgow Farragut. Upon completion of her participation in these festivities, Alliance returned to Hampton Roads.

 

While Alliance had been operating in the Gulf of Mexico, a board had met in Washington to discuss an expedition to ascertain the whereabouts of the ship Jeannette, that had not been heard from in some time while on an exploration cruise to the Arctic. An Act of Congress approved on 3 March 1881 provided for, among other "sundry civil expenses of the government" the chartering, equipping, and supplying a vessel "for the prosecution of a search for the steamer Jeannette, of the Arctic exploring expedition." One suitable ship, Mary and Helen, a steam whaler, was taken over and refitted at the Mare Island Navy Yard; renamed Rodgers, she sailed from San Francisco on 16 June.

 

The Navy, having determined to send a naval vessel "to search for the missing ship between Greenland, Iceland, and the coast of Norway and Spitzbergen ..." chose Alliance for the mission and ordered her to the Norfolk Navy Yard to be fitted out for the task at hand. There, the gunboat underwent the necessary alterations to equip her for what lay ahead in the inhospitable northern regions. Her bow was sheathed with live oak, and a strong iron guard fitted to her stem to protect it against drift ice. In addition, she took on board extra provisions, and "warm winter-service clothing" for officers and men. Ultimately, with full instructions having been given and sailing directions furnished, Alliance, Comdr. George H. Wadleigh in command, departed Hampton Roads on 16 June.

 

After an eight-day passage, Alliance reached St. John's, Newfoundland. She sailed thence for Reykjavik, Iceland, and reached that port on 9 July. There, Comdr. Wadleigh distributed Icelandic-language descriptions of the missing Jeannette and offered a reward to anyone producing "reliable information" regarding the ship they were seeking. Alliance then proceeded to Hammerfest, Norway, via Seidisfjord.

 

On 29 July, Alliance got underway once more on her search, proceeding to Bel Sound and Green Harbor, Spitzbergen, thence heading north and east. With pack ice barring her way, Alliance then followed the edge of the ice for a time and succeeded in penetrating the floes to a point ten miles northwest of Welcome Point. To mark her northern voyage, Alliance left behind a copper plate, marked with her name, spiked to a boulder in the middle of a small bight, west of Hakluyt's Headland, Amsterdam Island, as well as a copper plate spiked to a nearby cliff to commemorate the ship's visit to that region.

 

Alliance pressed onward in late August, departing Spitzbergen on the 27th, and cruised under sail until 11 September, when she returned to Hammerfest. Clearing that port five days later, the ship returned to Spitzbergen in an attempt to push further north. Forced to abandon the effort later in the month, Alliance departed Spitzbergen on 25 September. She reached Reykjavik on 10 October, Halifax on 1 November, and New York on the llth, her northern voyage at an end.

 

Near land or ice, Alliance had kept watch for "anything promising to throw light on the object of the cruise," and communicated with fishing vessels, furnishing all with a description of the missing Jeannette. While Alliance had not met with success, the cruise had not been for naught. At the outset, the Navy Department had reminded Comdr. Wadleigh that Alliance was "fitted for Arctic explorations ..." but nevertheless instructed him to "make such observations as opportunity permitted for the benefit of navigators and in aid of science." Although she had not located Jeannette, Alliance had obtained samples of the bottom of the waters they traversed; made floral and geological collections, as well as brought on board samples of birds and animals that populated the region. The future Marine Corps commandant, Capt. Elliott, was specifically commended for his part in bagging species of fauna of the area. The hydrographic data on the coasts and waters of Iceland, which Alliance's, men collected, proved important.

 

From New York, Alliance proceeded to Boston, where the ship underwent voyage repairs into 1882. Attached to the North Atlantic Station, Alliance departed Boston on 9 February, and reached Norfolk on the 13th. For the first few months of 1882, the ship cruised in the West Indies, visiting St. Lucia; Samana Bay; Kingston, Jamaica; Aspinwall; Veracruz; and Key West before she returned to Hampton Roads at the end of the year. For the remainder of 1882, the ships of the North Atlantic Station operated in company, "for the instruction of officers and men in fleet tactics." They operated off the Virginia capes from 10 to 30 May, after which time they cruised in company off the eastern seaboard, visiting New York City, Provincetown, Boston, Mount Desert Island, Bangor, Yonkers and Philadelphia, returning to Hampton Roads at the end of October. While at Philadelphia, the ships participated in the bicentennial celebration of the association of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

 

Alliance returned to the West Indies later that winter, in January and February of 1883, before she put into New Orleans on 16 March. At the end of the month, she proceeded to the Pensacola Navy Yard to coal, sailing thence for the Gulf of Mexico. After surveying the waters of Tampico, Mexico, Alliance returned to Hampton Roads—via Key West—and remained in Norfolk until 2 July.

 

Her respite in port proved brief, however, for she was underway again on 3 July, for New York, reaching her destination on the 5th. The following day, she put to sea to commence that summer's cruise off the Grand Banks, and remained thus employed into the early autumn, returning to New York on 14 October. Shifting up the Hudson River to Newburgh, N.Y., Alliance took part in that city's centennial celebration on 18 October. She then resumed active operations, destroying a wreck off Shinnecock Light, on the south shore of Long Island, and then visited Boston before she headed for the West Indies.

 

Troubled conditions in revolution-plagued Haiti had prompted the dispatch of naval forces to that area to keep an eye on American interests. A revolution in late September, besides causing the usual unrest, quite naturally caused concern over the lives and property of Americans.

 

Alliance reached Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on 6 December, and over the next three months, visited Santiago, Cuba; St. Nicholas Mole and Cape Haitien, Haiti; Puerto Plata, San Domingo; Salt and Grand Keys, Turk's Islands, St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. John's, Antigua; Guadalupe; St. Pierre, Port Castries; St. Lucia, Kingston and St. Vincent, reaching the last-named port on 27 March. Departing Kingston on 1 April, the ship then visited the Tortugas, the Cuban ports of Matanzas, Cardenas, and Nuevitas before arriving at Nassau on 4 June.

 

Continuing north, Alliance reached Norfolk on 12 September, and New York City on the 16th. She operated with the North Atlantic Squadron out of Narragansett Bay, on maneuvers and tactical drills, that summer, ultimately putting back into New York on 22 September. She remained there until 11 December, when she again sailed for the West Indies.

 

Alliance's cruise soon took her to the familiar ports of St. John's, St. Pierre, and Santiago, before she sailed for the isthmus of Panama. She reached Aspinwall (now Colon) on 16 January 1885, where, the following day, the ship's commanding officer, Comdr. Lewis Clark, received a visit from the American consul, Robert K. Wright, Jr. Wright reported the conditions as they prevailed in Aspinwall to the newly arrived Clark, and requested that a marine guard be landed to protect the property of the Panama Railroad Company. Clark soon directed 1st Lt. Louis J. Gulick, USMC, to pick a suitable number of men and prepare to go ashore.

 

On the 18th, Clark telegraphed the Department of the Navy, reporting a "revolution in progress," and that the President of Panama had announced his "inability to protect the property of the Panama Railroad Company." Clark further announced his intention to land his landing force "as soon as possible to protect American property . . ."and that he had "put Alliance alongside [the] dock to assist in case [of a] demonstration." That same day, Lt. Gulick and his marines landed.

 

However, the situation ashore improved rapidly; and Alliance's marine guard returned to the ship the following day. Alliance quit Aspinwall and sailed north, visiting Cienfuegos, Cuba, and New Orleans (between 17 February and 22 March) before sailing for Key West. Reaching that port on 27 March, she had only been there four days when telegraphic orders directed her Colon-ward "with all practicable dispatch." The quiet left behind when Alliance had sailed just a short time before had proved illusory.

 

Less than two months had elapsed, wrote Capt. Harry A. Ellsworth, USMC, a marine historian, "before conditions on the isthmus necessitated the sending of other American warships to this land of seemingly perpetual revolution . . ."to protect American interests. Alliance departed Key West on 31 March, and reached Aspinwall on 8 April to find much of the city in ruins, the place having been put to the torch by the warring factions during fighting there less than a week before.

 

The North Atlantic Squadron, under Rear AdmiralJames E. Jouett (whose flag flew in Tennessee), gathered at Aspinwall and expeditionary forces of sailors and marines arrived in two increments, the first on 10 April and the second on the 15th. The force was employed to ensure the "free transit" of the isthmus—a transit threatened by the warring Colombian factions—as guaranteed to the Colombian government in the 1846 treaty with "New Grenada".

 

On 11 April, Alliance stood out of Aspinwall harbor, accompanying the flagship Tennessee with Rear Admiral Jouett embarked. They sailed to Cartagena, Colombia, with three government commissioners and a representative of the State Department, arriving at their destination on the morning of the 13th. Upon arrival, Admiral Jouett learned that the insurgents had recently attacked the city, but had been repulsed with great loss, and were standing by in steamers ready to proceed to Baranquillas. Concerned that the steamers had been commandeered without just compensation, Jouett detained them and sent for the insurgent leaders on board Tennessee. After learning in an interview with the generals that the ships were being properly used, the admiral consented to their leaving Cartagena, adjuring them to seek a peaceful settlement of their differences.

 

Jouett subsequently sent envoys from one of the insurgent generals to the other insurgent leaders to Savanilla, a railhead from which they could travel to Baranquillas, on board Alliance. On the morning of the 17th, Alliance returned to Cartagena with a letter from an insurgent general, Felipe Perez, thanking the admiral courteously for his offer of mediation "but declining to take any steps in the matter until he should receive some information as to what steps the United States would take in the matter." Subsequently, Tennessee sailed for Aspinwall.

 

In the meantime, Rear Admiral Jouett had dispatched Alliance back to Cartagena to ascertain conditions there in his absence. While en route, on 24 April 1885, Alliance sighted a brigantine and showed her own colors. In response, the stranger hoisted the Haitian flag, but then abruptly ran up Colombian colors when Alliance altered course. His suspicions aroused at this puzzling behavior, Comdr. Clark ordered a blank cartridge fired. When this produced no effect, he had a shot fired across the ship's bow. This brought her to.

 

As the gunboat closed, she could make out a dozen or so men topside on the stranger's deck. Closing still further, Alliance made out the ship's name, Ambrose Light, and her port of registry, Philadelphia. Clark sent a boat over, in command of Lt. M. Fisher Wright, to examine the ship's registry and her papers. Those on board told the boarding officer a number of conflicting stories, "still more conflicting than the effort to claim nationality by a display of flags," such as that the ship had been recently sold and transferred at some unknown port; and that she had been chartered to carry troops (she had 60 armed men on board at the time). Wright discovered, though, that the American register had been cut in two, and a "rough, new commission as a man-of-war" drawn up by insurgent leader, Pedro Lara (who styled himself as the "Governor of Baranquilla"). As Clark later reported to Admiral Jouett: "As Pedro Lara has no authority to commission either men-of-war, issue letters of marque, etc., I have seized her as a prize and turn her over to you for your decision."

 

Ambrose Light was sent to the United States as a prize under Lt. Wright's command, assisted by Naval cadet H. H. Whittlesey and a crew of nine men, to be delivered to the United States Marshal in the port of New York, where she arrived on 1 June. Soon after the ship made port, a stowaway, a Spanish negro, was discovered hiding behind some casks below decks. Rather than surrender to Colombian authorities, the man had decided to chance starvation. He was immediately taken ashore and given medical care.

 

In the meantime, the situation on the isthmus permitting it, the naval landing forces of sailors and marines were withdrawn on 25 May. Alliance sailed from Aspinwall for Key West on 4 June, and reached her destination on the 7th. Tragically, her commanding officer, Comdr. Clark, had been taken ill en route home, and died at half past five in the evening of the day of the ship's arrival. A veteran of the Battle of Mobile Bay, having served in the steam sloop Richmond in that engagement, Clark had compiled a record of "gallant and efficient service." The Navy, an obituary stated, mourned "the loss of a valuable officer and a worthy gentlemen." Command of the ship devolving upon the executive officer, Lt. Comdr. George R. Durand, Alliance sailed for New York, bearing the remains of her late commander, and arrived at that port on 26 June 1885.

 

After cruising thence to Bar Harbor and Eastport, Maine, Alliance departed New York on 16 August and reached the Norfolk Navy Yard on the last day of August for extensive repairs. These lasted into the summer of the following year. Detached from the North Atlantic station on 2 July 1886, the ship departed the Norfolk Navy Yard nine days later for Newport. Steaming thence to New York on 12 August and arriving the following day, Alliance cleared that port on 14 November for the Mediterranean.

 

Possessing orders to "investigate . . . the reported fraudulent sale in 1884 of the American schooner Emma Jane by her master at the island of Johanna," and to inquire into reports that American flag vessels had been transporting slaves to Madagascar and adjacent islands from the east coast of Africa, Alliance reached Gibraltar on 15 December en route to the South Atlantic Station. Sailing from Gibraltar four days before Christmas of 1886, Alliance passed through the Mediterranean Sea, transited the Suez Canal and the Red Sea, and ultimately reached Aden on 26 January 1887. She proceeded .thence to Zanzibar, arriving on 23 February, before leaving that port on the 27th for Johanna Island, which she reached on 3 March. There she seized part of the outfit of the schooner Emma Jane.

 

After visiting Madagascar and Mozambique soon thereafter, Alliance paid a return call to the island of Johanna on 21 March before proceeding thence to the island of Mayotta, arriving three days later. She subsequently visited Madagascar again on 1 April.

 

Continuing her cruise in that region, she proceeded down the east coast of the African continent, visiting a succession of ports: Tamatave, Port Louis, Mauritius, Nos Vey, St. Augustine, Tullear Bay, and Mourandava; Port Natal, Port Elizabeth, and, ultimately, Cape Town, from whence she sailed for Brazil on 25 June 1887.

 

Alliance reached Rio de Janeiro a month later, on 25 July 1887, joining the station's flagship, Lancaster, there. She then accompanied the flagship and the other ship assigned to the Station, Tallapoosa, as they left Rio for Estrella Bay for squadron drills and exercises, on 10 August. Returning to Rio eleven days later, Alliance sailed from that port on 17 September for Bahia, Brazil, arriving there one week later. She visited Pernambuco, Santos, and Santa Catherina. Proceeding thence on 12 November, she arrived at Maldonado on the 17th, and Montevideo, Uruguay, on 15 December, where she remained through Christmas and New Year's.

 

Departing Montevideo on 19 January 1888, Alliance visited Ensenada, returning to the Uruguayan capital a week later. The ship then cruised to Patagonian waters, dropping down to Punta Arenas, arriving there on 23 June after a two week passage from Montevideo. After a little over a month in that Chilean port, Alliance sailed for Montevideo on 24 July, reaching her destination on 8 August. She then visited Colonia and Buenos Aires, Argentina, before once more returning to the Uruguayan capital on 11 September 1888.

 

Over the remaining months of 1888, Alliance showed the flag at a succession of ports, the same ones she had visited previously on the station: Rio de Janeiro, Pernambuco, and Bahia, arriving back at Montevideo two days after Christmas of 1888 to spend the next two months there, not departing the Uruguayan capital until 27 February 1889 for Maldonado. Returning to Montevideo for a month's time, Alliance then operated out of that port into mid-May of 1889, sailing thence to visit Maldonado again, as well as Colonia and Buenos Aires before she returned to Montevideo for the last time on 14 May. She sailed four days later, reaching Pernambuco on 6 June, and from thence sailed for Hampton Roads, ultimately arriving there on 18 July. Proceeding up to the Norfolk Navy Yard, on 9 August, the ship was decommissioned there on 20 August 1889.

 

Following repairs and alterations at the Norfolk yard, Alliance was recommissioned on 16 January 1890 for service on the Asiatic Station. After local operations and trials, the ship sailed for her new duty station on 8 March 1890. Proceeding via Bermuda (which she visited from 14 to 16 March); Malaga, Spain (2 to 6 April); Gibraltar (6 to 22 April and 24 April); Tangier, Morocco (22 to 24 April); Messina, Italy (29 April to 6 May),; Alexandria, Port Said, Suez, Egypt (between 1 and 23 May); Aden, Arabia (30 and 31 May); Colombo, Ceylon (11 to 22 June); Penang, Malay Peninsula (29 June to 1 July), Alliance reached Singapore, Malacca Strait, on 5 July 1890, reporting for duty to Rear Admiral George E. Belknap, commanding the Asiatic Station.

 

Visiting Hong Kong from 14 to 21 July, Alliance then called at Amoy, China, from 23 to 27 July, after which time she proceeded to Japan, reaching Kobe on 3 August. She then sailed to Yokohama, where she was drydocked for repairs during her visit from 8 to 25 August. After then visiting, in succession, Kobe, Yokosuka, and Yokohama, Alliance cleared the latter port on 25 September for the island of Ponape, in the Caroline Islands; she reached her destination on 15 October.

 

Calling at Kiti Harbor, Ponape Island, and Chabrol Harbor, Ualan Island, Alliance sailed for Japan, reaching Nagasaki on 4 December. Proceeding thence to Kobe, where she spent Christmas of 1890, the gunboat reached Yokohama on 28 December, remaining in that port through the end of January 1891. Visiting Owari Bay briefly on 3 February, Alliance returned to Yokohama on 4 February. There, Rear Admiral Belknap transferred his flag from Omaha to Alliance on 9 March 1891, wearing it in the latter until shifting to Monocacy on 6 April.

 

After visiting Kobe from 9 to 11 April, Alliance sailed for Korean waters, arriving at Chemulpo on 18 April; remaining there until 30 April, the ship sailed back to Japan soon thereafter, making arrival at Nagasaki on 3 May for a brief stay. Returning to Yokohama via Kaneda and Mississippi Bays, Alliance sailed for her first visit to the Chinese port of Shanghai on 26 May, making arrival on 1 June. Steaming thence to Chefoo, in North China, and arriving there on 11 August, she returned to Shanghai on 7 September, remaining there until 17 October, when she sailed for Korean waters once more.

 

Alliance visited a succession of ports—Chemulpo, Gensan (Jinsen, later Inchon), and Fusan (later Pusan)—before returning briefly to Nagasaki (4 to 6 November) for the first of what would be four port visits there over her next several months on the station. She also visited Chemulpo again, as well as Yokohama, Hong Kong and Shanghai, before she sailed from Yokohama on 14 August 1892 for San Francisco. Reaching her destination on 11 September, she shifted to the Mare Island Navy Yard on the following day, and remained there undergoing voyage repairs until 23 September. During her overhaul, the ship was assigned to the Pacific Station on 15 September 1892. Touching briefly at San Francisco on 23 and 24 September, Alliance sailed for Honolulu, Hawaii, on 24 September, and arrived at that port on 12 October. She remained there until 26 November, when she got underway for Samoa.

 

Alliance arrived at Pago Pago on 13 December, and sailed for Apia, Samoa, two days before Christmas, arriving the following day, 24 December. Early in the morning of 28 December, a violent storm began blowing up—of less intensity than the one that had wrecked three American and three German warships in the same harbor three years before, but violent nonetheless. Alliance began dragging, even after she had let go a second anchor, and soon grounded slightly on the reef on her starboard quarter.

 

Providentially, Passed Assistant Engineer H. N. Stevenson, Alliance's chief engineer, on his own initiative, had a full crew of men on duty at the engines and had the fires ready for use in case the ship needed to get underway in a hurry. His foresight paid off handsomely, for it took only eight minutes for the ship to begin moving, working her way out of her predicament on the reef and out into deep water. She had only lost two anchors and suffered slight damage to her single screw—had it taken the usual 30 minutes to get up steam in that situation the ship may very well have been lost. Needless to say, Passed Assistant Engineer Stevenson had earned the high praise of his commanding officer, Capt. William H. Whiting, for his "energy and ability" displayed in that situation.

 

Alliance remained at Samoa until 30 January 1893, alternating between Pago Pago and Apia, when she cleared the former place for Honolulu. The ship then remained in the Hawaiian Islands through mid-March, visiting Honolulu and the other island ports of Hilo, Hawaii, and Lahaina, Maui. She ultimately departed Honolulu on 16 March 1893 for the west coast of the United States.

 

Reaching Mare Island on 28 March, the ship remained there into mid-May, at which time she sailed for Acapulco, Mexico, on 15 May. Alliance then worked her way down the Pacific coast of Central and South America, visiting Corinto, Nicaragua; Panama; and Callao, Peru; before retracing her route in the course of protecting American interests—visiting Panama and Corinto again between 26 July and 17 September.

 

Between late September 1893 and January 1894, Alliance "showed the flag" and watched local conditions at a succession of ports: San Jose de Guatemala (twice), Corinto (twice), Acajutla, La Libertad (twice), the Gulf of Fonseca, the Bay of La Union, and Amapala, before she worked her way to Callao, Peru, arriving there on 31 January 1894.

 

Transferred to the South Atlantic Station, Alliance transited the Strait of Magellan, ultimately arriving at Montevideo on 30 March 1894. She sailed from that port on 18 April, and sailed for Norfolk. After proceeding via Bridgetown, Barbados; Port Castries, Santa Lucia, West Indies; and Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands; Alliance arrived at Hampton Roads on 18 June. Shifting to the Norfolk Navy Yard the following day, the ship was placed out of commission there on 30 June 1894.

 

Recommissioned on 19 January 1895, Alliance commenced operations that spring as an apprentice training ship; departing Newport on 17 April 1895, the ship cruised to European waters, visiting Southampton, England; Havre, France; Gibraltar, Tangier, and Madeira before returning to the east coast of the United States, reaching Yorktown, Va., on 21 August. After remaining there for a month, she shifted to Hampton Roads on 21 September, and thence to New York. During the following year she conducted another training cruise, as she did the following summer, visiting Southampton; Lisbon, Portugal; Funchal, Madeira; Frigate Bay, St. Kitts; and St. Thomas before putting into Newport News, and proceeding thence to the New York Navy Yard for voyage repairs.

 

Alliance continued to operate in the training role over the next few years, but it was becoming obvious that her days as a steamer were numbered, as an Army and Navy Journal article noted early in 1898: "The old Alliance appears to require a great deal of repairing. She was six months under repairs at New York last year, and over two months have already been expended upon her this year at Portsmouth, and the end is not yet. It is doubtful whether there is any economy in using for training ships a broken down vessel, half-rotten, leaky, constantly under repairs and completely collapsed in steam power. It will be remembered that it took the Alliance forty-six days to crawl from Madeira to St. Thomas . . . ."

 

During 1899's practice cruise, Alliance sailed from New London on 1 July 1899, and visited Plymouth, Southampton, Gibraltar, Tangier and Madeira before departing European waters on 23 September for the West Indies. Reaching St. Thomas on 26 October, the ship proceeded thence for San Juan, reaching her destination on 28 October; while at the latter port her crew carried out small-arms target practice ashore. Underway on 11 November, Alliance sailed for Hampton Roads, reaching there on 23 November.

 

After coaling at Lambert Point, she then proceeded north and disembarked a draft of apprentices at Tompkinsville, N.Y., before she steamed to Boston. There she embarked another draft of apprentices between 6 December 1899 to 3 January 1900, sailing on the latter date for her second training cruise of the year.

 

Alliance steamed to Newport before proceeding to a succession of ports and places on her training cruise: Barbados, St. Lucia, Port-of-Spain (Trinidad), the Gulf of Paria (twice); La Brea, Trinidad; San Juan; Port Royal and Kingston, Jamaica; Guantanamo Bay and Key West, before arriving in Hampton Roads on 16 May, stopping there only briefly before pushing on for Tompkinsville and the New York Navy Yard.

 

Mooring at the yard on 26 May 1900 Alliance was placed out of commission on 2 June for extensive repairs which included the conversion of the ship to a sailing vessel. Completing her overhaul on 30 March, the ship was recommissioned on 22 April 1901 and left the yard on 17 May.

 

Alliance resumed her activities, training landsmen, soon thereafter, attached to the Atlantic Training Squadron. During 1902, the ship visited Queenstown, Ireland; Lisbon, Portugal; Algiers, and Madeira before undergoing voyage repairs at the Norfolk Navy Yard; subsequently, the ship sailed south to Trinidad, St. Kitts, San Juan and Jamaica before arriving back in Hampton Roads on 13 June 1903. The following year, 1904, Alliance was among the ships reviewed by President Theodore Roosevelt at Oyster Bay, Long Island, on 17 August 1904.

 

The ship's last duty commenced soon thereafter, when she was dispatched to Culebra, Puerto Rico, to serve as station ship and store ship at the naval station there. Regarded as "unserviceable for war purposes," she was decommissioned at San Juan on 7 July 1911, and her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 9 August 1911. Her hulk, however, remained in government hands until disposed of, subsequently.

 

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Alliance (AMc-64) was renamed Aggressor (q.v.) on 23 May 1941.

 

 

Alliance at anchor off Tompkinsville, in this turn-of-the-century photograph by A. Loeffler of Staten Island. (NH 96649)