Francis Asbury Roe, born in Elmira, N.Y., 4 October 1823, graduated from the Naval School, Annapolis, in 1848. Six years later, while serving in Porpoise on the Asiatic Station, he participated in an engagement with 13 Chinese armored junks off Macao. Six of the junks were sunk and the others were scattered. During the Civil War, in April 1862, he was recommended for promotion for gallantry for his actions onboard Pensacola as that ship led Admiral Farragut's starboard column past Forts Jackson and St. Philip. After commanding Katahdin on the Mississippi, he was ordered to command Sassacus in September 1863. Eight months later he was again commended for gallantry for engaging the Confederate ram Albemarle and the gunboat Bombshell in the sounds of North Carolina. After the end of the war he commanded the Mexican Division of the Gulf Squadron; served as fleet captain for both the Asiatic Station from 1868 to 1871 and the Brazil Station from 1874 to 1875. Promoted to Rear Admiral 3 November 1884, while serving as Governor of the Naval Asylum at Philadelphia, he was transferred to the retired list 4 October 1885. He died in Washington, D.C., 28 December 1901.
(Destroyer No. 24: displacement 742 (normal); length 293’11”; beam 26’11”; draft 8’4” (mean); speed 29 knots; complement 91; armament 4 3”, 6 18” torpedo tubes; class Roe)
The first Roe, Destroyer no. 24, was laid down 18 January 1909 by the Newport News Shipbuilding Co., Newport News, Va.; launched 24 July 1909; sponsored by Mrs. Reynold T. Hall; and commissioned 17 September 1910, Lt. C. H. Woodward in command.
Following commissioning, Roe conducted exercises in the Norfolk area until December with one interruption, a voyage to Newport, R.I., and back in early November. On 17 December she got underway for Key West and winter exercises in the Gulf of Mexico. With the spring, she returned to Norfolk and until January 1913 remained active off the mid-Atlantic and southern New England sea coasts. From January to April 1913, she participated in maneuvers in the Caribbean, then, into the fall, operated off New England. On 30 October, she arrived at Philadelphia where she was placed in reserve 3 November. In March 1914 she was assigned to the newly organized Reserve Torpedo Flotilla and until World War I rotated between reserve and active duty with the Atlantic Fleet. During the late summer and fall of 1914, she operated off the mid-Atlantic seaboard and from February to April 1915 again participated in winter maneuvers in the Caribbean. During the summer she was off southern New England; and, in November, she put into Charleston, where she was given a reduced complement status.
In March 1917, Roe, fully manned, was placed in full commission status. With the new month, April, she was assigned to Squadron 2, Division 5, Patrol Force and ordered to assist Treasury and Labor Department officials at Wilmington, in preventing the destruction or escape of German merchant vessels. On the 6th, as the United States entered World War I, she sent an armed guard on board Hohenfelde [see Long Beach (AK-9)].
At mid month Roe was transferred to Newport, whence she conducted antisubmarine patrols and carried out escort assignments for the next 6 months. On 9 November, she sailed for France where for the next year, she performed coastal patrol and escort duty.
On 5 November 1918, Roe departed Brest for the United States. She arrived at New York 1 December and at midmonth she returned to Charleston where she remained until July 1919. She then proceeded to Philadelphia where she was decommissioned 1 December and berthed with the Reserve Fleet. Designated DD-24 on 17 July 1920, Roe was activated in 1924 and transferred to the Treasury Department. From 7 June 1924 to 18 October 1930, she was operated by the Coast Guard. On her return to the Navy, she was again berthed at League Island where she remained until sold for scrap 2 May 1934 in accordance with the terms of the London Treaty.
20 October 2005