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History of USS Ohio

Ohio was admitted to the Union 1 March 1803, as the 17th State.


I

(Schooner: tonnage 62; complement 35; armament 1 24 pounder)

The first Ohio was a merchant schooner purchased by the Navy in 1812; converted to a war ship by Henry Eckford; and commissioned prior to 13 June 1813, Sailing Master Daniel Dobbins in command.

Ohio served on Lake Erie in the squadron commanded by Captain Oliver H. Perry during the War of 1812. The squadron's mission was to wrest control of the lake from the British. With four other purchased ships, Ohio lay at Black Rock below the Falls in the Niagara River, prevented by British blockade from entering Lake Erie. Finally, in a combined operation with the Army, Perry was able to bring the ships out to join the remiander of the squadron at its base, Erie (then Presque Isle). Ohio arrived at Erie 8 July 1813.

After searching for the British, the squadron anchored at Sandusky 17 August. Ohio returned to Erie for provisions and stores for the squadron, rejoining her sister ships 3 September. The same day she set sail for Erie again, and thus was not with the squadron when it won the memorable victory over the British at Put-in Bay 10 September. Three days later Ohio reached Put-in Bay with sorely needed fresh vegetables and meat.

As soon as the ice cleared in early 1814, Ohio began patrolling between Long Point and Erie to intercept any British movement by water. In May she assisted in fitting out prizes Detroit and Queen Charlotte at Put-in Bay, and convoyed them to Erie. On 12 August 1824, she was captured with Somers by the British within pistol shot of Fort Erie.


II

(Ship-of-the-line: tonnage 2,724; length 197'; beam 53'; depth of hold 22'2"; complement 840; armament 12 8", 7 32-pounders)

Designed by Henry Eckford, Ohio was laid down at New York Navy Yard in 1817 and launched 30 May 1820. She went into ordinary and in the insuing years decayed badly. Refitted for service in 1838, Ohio sailed 16 October 1838 to join the Mediterranean Squadron under Commodore Issac Hull. Acting as flagship for 2 years, she protected commerce and suppressed the slave trade off the African coast. Ohio proved to be an excellent sailor repeatedly making more than 12 knots. One of her officers stated, "I never supposed such a ship could be built -- a ship possessing in so great a degree all the qualifications of a perfect vessel." In 1840 Ohio returned to Boston where she again went into ordinary. From 1841 to 1846 Ohio served as receiving ship.

To meet the needs of the Mexican War, Ohio recommissioned 7 December 1846 and sailed 4 January 1847 for the Gulf of Mexico, arriving off Vera Cruz 22 March. Ohio landed 10 guns on 27 March to help in the siege of Vera Cruz; but the city soon surrendered.

Ohio drew too much water for coastal operations in the gulf. However, 336 of her crew participated in the Tuxpan River Expedition. In 1847 the entire distance from the mouth of the river to the town was covered with thick jungle growth. The enemy had constructed 3 well-positioned forts on bluffs overlooking bends in the river. On 18 April Commodore Perry arrived off the mouth of the river with 15 vessels. At 10 p.m. light-draft steamers Scourge, Spitfire, and Vixen, each towing a schooner, moved up stream. Bombships, Etna, Hecla, and Vesuvius followed closely while 30 surf boats containing 1,500 men brought up the rear. Approaching the town, the squadron came under hot fire from Fort LaPena. Commodore Matthew C. Perry ordered Commander Franklin Buchanan to disembark the surf boats and storm the fort. As the landing party swept ashore, the Mexicans abandoned their position. The other 2 forts fell in a like manner, with only light casualties substained by the squadron. Men from Ohio retrieved the guns of brig Truxtun which had foundered in a storm near Tuxpan 16 September 1846. The town was occupied and all military stores destroyed.

Following Tuxpan, Ohio sailed from Vera Cruz and arrived in New York 9 May 1847. On 26 June she sailed to bolster the Pacific Squadron, first carrying the U.S. minister to Brazil and operating off the east coast of South America until November. Ohio spent the next two years in the Pacific protecting commerce and policing the newly acquired California Territory during the chaotic early months of the gold rush.

In 1850 she returned to Boston where she again went into ordinary. In 1851, Ohio became receiving ship and continued this duty until again placed in ordinary in 1875. Ohio was sold at Boston to J. L. Snow of Rockland, Maine 27 September 1883.


III

(Battleship BB-12: displacement 12,723; length 393'10"; beam 72'3"; draft 23'10"; speed 18 knots; complement 561; armament 4 12", 16 6", 6 3", 8 3-pounders, 6 1-pounder, 2 .30 caliber machine guns; class Maine)

The third Ohio (BB-12) was laid down 22 April 1899 by Union Iron Works, San Francisco, Calif.; launched 18 May 1901; sponsored by Miss Helen Deschler; and commissioned 4 October 1904, Captain Leavitt C. Logan in command.

Designated flagship of the Asiatic Fleet, Ohio departed San Francisco 1 April 1905 for Manila, where she embarked the party of then Secretary of War William Howard Taft, which included Miss Alice Roosevelt, the President's daughter. She conducted this party on much of its Far Eastern tour of inspection, and continued the cruise in Japanese, Chinese and Philippine waters until returning to the United States in 1907.

Ohio sailed out of Hampton Roads, Va., 16 December 1907 with the battleships of the Atlantic Fleet. Guns crashed a salute to President Theodore Roosevelt while he reviewed the Great White Fleet as it began the cruise around the world which, perhaps more than any other event, marked the emergence of the United States as a major world power.

Commanded by Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans, and later, Rear Admiral Charles S. Sperry, the fleet made calls on the east and west coasts of South America, rounding the Horn in between, en route to San Francisco. On 7 July 1908, Ohio and her sisters shaped their course west to Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia. On each visit the American ships were welcomed with great enthusiasm but none of their ports of call received them with such enthusiastic friendliness as Tokyo where they anchored 18 October. The fleet's presence in Japan symbolized both American friendship and strength and helped to ease dangerously strained relations between the two countries.

The fleet put in at Amoy, returned to Yokohama, held target practice in the Philippines and was homeward-bound 1 December. After steaming through the Suez Canal 4 January 1909, the fleet made Mediterranean calls, before anchoring in Hampton Roads 22 February.

Ohio sailed on to New York, her home port for the next 4 years during duty training men of the New York Naval Militia and performing general service with the Atlantic Fleet.

In 1914 she sailed to the Gulf of Mexico to join in the patrol off Vera Cruz, protecting American interests endangered by Mexican political turmoil. Ohio returned north in the summer for a Naval Academy midshipmen cruise, then joined the Reserve Fleet at Philadelphia, recommissioning for each of the next two summers' midshipmen cruises, 1915 and 1916.

Soon after the United States entered World War I Ohio recommissioned on 24 April 1917. Throughout the war, she operated out of Norfolk, training crews for the expanding fleet, taking part in battleship maneuvers. She arrived at Philadelphia 28 November 1918; was placed in reserve there 7 January 1919; decommissioned 31 May 1922; and was sold for scrapping 24 March 1923.

A fourth Ohio (BB-68) was authorized 19 July 1940, and her construction assigned to the Philadlphia Navy Yard. Construction was cancelled 21 July 1943.


8 August 2001