Caesar, title of the Roman emperors, has become principally identified with Gaius Julius Caesar (102?-44 B.C.), general, statesman, and historian.
(AC-16: dp. 5,920; l. 322'1"; b. 43'11"; dr. 19'7"; s. 10 k.; a. 2 3-pdr.)
Caesar (AC-16) was built in 1896 by Ropner and Sons, Stockton-on-Tees, England, as Kingtor; purchased 21 April 1898; fitted out by New York Navy Yard; and commissioned 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, Va., 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, Va., 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 Insurrection, 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 23 May 1904. Recommissioned 27 December 1904, 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 13 October 1905. While out of commission at Norfolk 28 October-4 November 1905, Caesar was fitted with towing machinery, and then joined Glacier (AF-4), Brutus (AC-15), and Potomac (AT-50) in a historic assignment. Together, the ships towed the Dewey Dry-dock by way of the Suez Canal to Olongapo, Luzon, P.I., a passage which took from 28 December 1905 to 10 July 1906. This remains one of the sea's great towing achievements. Caesar made voyages to the Mediterranean from October 1915 to April 1916 and from July to September 1916. On her first, she carried 135 refugees from Jaffa, Syria, 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 26 October. Three days later she sailed for France with Army cargo, returning to Norfolk 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 11 June 1922 and sold 22 December 1922.