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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

President Lincoln

 

A former name retained.

 

(Str: dp. 32,500; l. 619’; b. 68’2”; dr. 34’; s. 14.5 k.; cpl. 430; a. 4 6”.)

 

President Lincoln, formerly the German steamer President Lincoln of the Hamburg-American Line, was built by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, Ireland, in 1907; seized in New York harbor in 1917; turned over to the Shipping Board, and transferred to the Navy for operation as a troop transport.

 

Having been damaged severely by her German crew, President Lincoln underwent extensive repairs and conversion at Robin’s Dry Dock and Repair Co., Brooklyn, N.Y. The ship commissioned as a Navy troop transport 25 July 1917 at Brooklyn, Comdr. Yates Sterling, Jr., in command.

 

President Lincoln made five voyages from New York to France, transporting approximately 23,000 American troops which she disembarked at Brest and St. Nazaire. Four cycles were completed without incident: October to November 1917, December 1917 to January 1918, February to March, and March to May. She sailed from New York on her fifth and final trip to Europe 10 May 1918. Arriving at Brest on the 23rd, she disembarked troops, and got underway 29 May with troopships Rijndam, Susquehanna and Antigone, escorted by destroyers, for the return voyage to the United States. At sundown 30 May 1918, having passed through the so-called danger zone of submarine activity, the destroyers left the convoy to proceed alone. About 9 a.m., 31 May 1918, President Lincoln was struck by three torpedoes from the German submarine U–90, and sank about 20 minutes later. Of the 715 persons on board, 26 men were lost with the ship, and a Lt. Isaacs was taken aboard the U–90 as prisoner. Survivors were rescued from lifeboats late that night by U.S. Destroyers

 

Warrington and Smith. They were taken to France, arriving at Brest 2 June.