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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Pittsburgh

 

An industrial city in western Pennsylvania.


II


(Armored Cruiser No. 4: displacement 13, 400 tons; length 503'11"; beam 69'7"; draft 24'1"; speed 22 knots; complement 829; armament 4 8-inch guns, 14 6-inch guns, 18 3-inch guns, 2 18-inch torpedo tubes; class Pennsylvania)


The second Pittsburgh (Armored Cruiser 4) was laid down as Pennsylvania 7 August 1901 by William Cramp and Sons, Philadelphia; launched 22 August 1903; sponsored by Miss Coral Quay, daughter of Senator Matthew S. Quay; and commissioned 9 March 1905, Capt. Thomas C. McLean in command.


Pennsylvania operated on the East Coast and in the Caribbean until 8 September 1906 when she cleared Newport for a year on the Asiatic Station, returning to San Francisco 27 September 1907 for west coast duty. She visited Chile and Peru in 1910. During the winter of 1910-1911, a plane landed on and took off from a platform constructed on her afterdeck, opening the era of naval aviation. While in reserve at Puget Sound between 1 July 1911 and 30 May 1913, the cruiser trained naval militia. She was renamed Pittsburgh 27 August 1912 to free the name Pennsylvania for a new battleship.


Pittsburgh then patrolled the west coast of Mexico during the troubled times of insurrection which led to American involvement with the Verz Cruz landing in April 1914. Later, as a symbol of American might and concern, she served as flagship for Admiral William B. Caperton, Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet, during South American patrols and visits during World War I. Cooperating with the British Royal Navy, she scouted for German raiders in the south Atlantic and eastern Pacific. While at Rio de Janeiro in October and November 1918, failure to implement quarantine procedures by Capt. George Bradshaw led to the spread of the deadly strain of Spanish influenza on ship, sickening 663 sailors (80% of the crew) and killing 58 of them.


After returning to the east coast in March 1919, Pittsburgh prepared for duty as flagship for Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in the eastern Mediterranean, for which she sailed from Portsmouth, N.H., 19 June 1919. Cruising the Adriatic, Aegean, and Black Seas, she joined in the massive relief operations and other humanitarian concerns with which the Navy carried out its quasidiplomatic functions in this troubled area. In June 1920 she sailed north to visit French and British ports and cruise the Baltic on further relief assignments before returning to decommission at Philadelphia 15 October 1921.


Recommissioned 2 October 1922, Pittsburgh returned to European and Mediterranean waters as flagship of Naval Forces in Europe, then arrived New York 17 July 1926 to prepare for flagship duty with the Asiatic Fleet. She sailed 16 October for Chefoo, arriving 23 December. Early in January 1927, she landed sailors and Marines to protect Americans and other foreigners in Shanghai from the turmoil and fighting of the Chinese power struggle. When Chiang Kai-shek’s Cantonese Army won control of Shanghai in March, Pittsburgh resumed operations on patrol and exercises with the Asiatic Fleet. Closing her long career of service, she carried the Governor General of the Philippines, Dwight F. Davis, on a courtesy cruise to such ports as Saigon, Bangkok, Singapore, Belawan Deli, Batavia, Surabaya, Bali, Macassar, and Sandakan, returning to Manila 15 April 1931. Six days later she steamed for Suez enroute Hampton Roads, arriving 26 June 1931. Decommissioning 10 July 1931, she was sold for scrapping under the terms of the London Treaty to Union Shipbuilding, Baltimore, Md., 21 December 1931.

 

Pittsburgh (CA–70) was renamed Canberra (q.v.) 12 October 1942.


Revised 15 October 2007