Isaac Chauncey, born in Black Rock, Conn., 20 February 1779, was appointed a Lieutenant in the Navy from 17 September 1798. He fought with gallantry in the West Indies during the Quasi-War with France; in the Mediterranean during the War with the Barbary Powers; and commanded John Adams (1804-5), Hornet (1805-6), Washington and the Mediterranean Squadron (1815-1820). Perhaps his most outstanding service was during the War of 1812 when he commanded the naval forces on Lake Ontario, conducting amphibious operations in cooperation with the Army, and containing the large British squadron stationed there. His last service was as member, and, for 4 years, President, of the Board of Navy Commissioners. Commodore Chauncey died in Washington 27 January 1840.
(DD-3: dp. 420; l. 250'; b. 23'7"; dr. 6'6"; s. 29 k.; cpl. 75; a. 2 3", 2 18" tt.; cl. Bainbridge)
The first Chauncey (Destroyer No. 3) was launched 26 October 1901 by Neafie and Levy Ship and Engine Building Co., Philadelphia, Pa.; sponsored by Mrs. M. C. S. Todd; placed in reduced commission 20 November 1902; placed in reserve 2 December 1902; placed in full commission 21 February 1903, Lieutenant S. E. Moses in command; and reported to the Atlantic Fleet.
Chauncey served with the Coast Squadron until 20 September 1903, when she was transferred to the Asiatic Fleet, leaving Key West for the Orient 18 December. After sailing by way of the Suez Canal, she arrived at Cavite to join the force representing American strength and interest in the Far East as it cruised in the Philippines during winters, and off China during summers. Aside from the period 3 December 1905 to 12 January 1907 when she was in reserve at Cavite, Chauncey continued this service until the entrance of America into World War I.
The destroyer sailed from Cavite 1 August 1917 for convoy escort duty in the eastern Atlantic, based at St. Nazaire, France. On 19 November 1917, while about 110 miles west of Gibraltar on escort duty, Chauncey was rammed by the British merchantman SS Rose as both ships steamed in war-imposed darkness. At 0317 Chauncey sank in 1500 fathoms, taking to their death 21 men including her captain. Seventy survivors were picked up by Rose, and carried to port.