A city and port of Essex County, Mass., and a fishing station since 1624.
(Gbt: dp. 786; l. 240'8"; b. 27'2"; dr. 12'; s. 17 k.; a. 4 6-pdrs.)
The first Gloucester, formerly J. Pierpont Morgan's yacht Corsair, was built in 1891 by Neafie & Levy, Philadelphia, Pa.; acquired 23 April 1898; and commissioned 16 May 1898, Lt. Comdr. Richard Wainwright in command.
Under her far-seeing and brilliant commanding officer, Gloucester made a name for daring starting with her first service in Cuban waters in 1898 with the North Atlantic Fleet, Blockading Station. She participated in the Battle of Santiago 3 July 1898 against Cervera's fleet—a remarkable victory with no casualties attributed to "The accuracy and rapidity of her fire, making the proper service of the guns on the Spanish ships impossible." On 25 July 1898, she entered the harbor before the fleet at Guanica, Puerto Rico, and, single-handed, captured the place for the Army. The skillful handling and gallant fighting of Gloucester excited the admiration of all who witnessed the action, and merited the commendation of the Navy Department. As the Army was anxious to transfer the place of disembarkation to the harbor of Ponce, the Fleet was directed to proceed to Ponce to reconnoiter; capture all lighters found there; and occupy such positions necessary for holding the port until the arrival of the Army. On 1 August 1898, with assistance of Wasp, Gloucester took possession of Arroyo, and hoisting the U.S. flag, Lt. Comdr. Wainwright held it until arrival of the Army, a day later.
Subsequently Gloucester cruised along the Eastern seaboard from New York to Provincetown in the fall of 1898, and from 1899 to 1902 served as schoolship at Annapolis. Recommissioned at Norfolk 15 November 1902, she served as tender to the Commander in Chief, South Atlantic Squadron, and cruised to ports in the West Indies and along the east coast of South America. Decommissioned 8 February 1905 at Pensacola, Fla., the ship was on duty with the Massachusetts and New York Naval Militias at New York City until recommissioned 7 April 1917 at Brooklyn.
Gloucester conducted harbor patrols at New York until her name was struck from the Navy List 12 August 1919, and she was sold 21 November 1919.
Under her brilliant Captain Richard Wainwright, USS Gloucester gained world fame in the Spanish-American War.