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Waxsaw

 

An Indian tribe that lived during the 17th century in an area which now constitutes Lancaster County, S.C., and Union and Mecklenburg Counties, N.C. The Waxsaws, more commonly referred to as Waxhaws, were famous for their custom of artificially flattening the heads of their children during infancy.

 

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Mon: dp. 1,175; l. 225'; b. 45'; dr. 6'; s. 9 k.; a. 2 11" D. sb.; cl. Casco)

 

Waxsaw—a single-turreted, twin-screw monitor— was laid down in March 1863 at Baltimore, Md., by A. & W. Denmead & Son; launched on 4 May 1865; and completed on 21 October 1865.

 

Waxsaw was a Cosco-class, light-draft monitor intended for service in the shallow bays, rivers, and inlets of the Confederacy. These warships sacrificed armor plate for shallow draft and were fitted with a ballast compartment designed to lower them in the water during battle.

 

Numerous design modifications and contract disputes delayed the launching of the first ships of the class until the spring of 1864. The Navy then discovered that the monitors floated with a scant three inches of freeboard, even without their turret, guns, and stores.

 

As a result of this discovery, the Navy Department ordered on 24 June 1864 that Waxsaw's deck be raised 22 inches to provide sufficient freeboard. Upon delivery, the monitor was laid up at the Philadelphia Navy Yard; and she saw no commissioned service.

 

She was renamed Niobe on 15 June 1869. Waxsaw was broken up at New York City by John Roach on 25 August 1875.

 

(AN-91: d. 785; 1. 168'6"; b. 33'10"; dr. l0'l0"; s. 12.3 k.; cpl. 46; a. 1 3"; cl. Cohoes)

 

Waxsaw (AN-91)—originally classified as YN-120 —was laid down on 31 May 1944 at Duluth, Minn., by the Zenith Dredge Co.; launched on 15 September 1944; sponsored by Mrs. J. L. Conlon, wife of the general manager of the Zenith Dredge Co. shipyard; and commissioned on 6 May 1945, Lt. Kearny R. Garrison, USNR, in command.

 

The new netlaying ship sailed for Boston, Mass., on 11 May, and arrived there on the 29th, after steaming via Cleveland, Ohio; Ogdensburg, N.Y.; the St. Lawrence Seaway; Cornwall, Ontario; Montreal and Quebec, Quebec Province; and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Following shakedown out of Melville, R.I., from 13 to 30 June, the netlayer put into Boston for post-shakedown availability.

 

Waxsaw headed for the Panama Canal on 10 July, expecting her ultimate destination to be Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands. However, upon her arrival at the Small Craft Training Center, San Pedro, Calif., she was ordered to the Naval Net Depot and Training School, Tiburon Bay, Calif., for 18 days of refresher training. Arriving there on 10 August, the ship remained in the San Francisco region on temporary duty in connection with the removal of the net line protecting San Francisco after the Japanese surrender in mid-August. Completing that duty on 24 September, Waxsaw underwent an availability at Alameda, Calif., before she was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet.

 

On 12 October 1945, the netlayer headed for the east coast in company with sistership Tunxis (AN-90). Attached to Service Force, Atlantic Fleet, on 3 November, Waxsaw operated at Green Cove Springs, Fla., establishing moorings at the St. John's River area for the Reserve Fleet units until late in 1949, when she was shifted to her new home port of Norfolk, Va.

 

Based there at the time of the outbreak of the Korean War in the summer of 1950, Waxsaw not only took part in extensive netlaying operations in Hampton Roads but also towed targets and participated in various training exercises in ensuing months.

 

For the next nine years, Waxsaw operated with the Atlantic Fleet off the eastern seaboard of the United States, ranging from Nova Scotia to Key West. Her home ports during this time included Norfolk, Key West, and Charleston. During those years, Waxsaw performed a variety of service functions; participated in mine-hunting exercises; laid nets and buoys during Atlantic Fleet amphibious exercises including amphibious maneuvers off Onslow Beach, N.C.; cleared objects from the channel entrance at Hampton Roads; and even briefly operated at Charleston as a salvage vessel equipped with compressors, a recompression chamber, and other deep-sea diving gear. She also took part in NATO exercises off Nova Scotia and served at the Mine Defense Laboratory at Panama City, Fla.

 

Decommissioned on 23 March 1960, Waxsaw was ultimately transferred under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program to Venezuela in October 1963. Renamed Puerto Miranda (H-30), the netlayer served with the Venezuelan Navy as a survey ship into the late 1970's. Struck from the Navy list in December 1977, the ship was deleted from the Venezuelan Navy list apparently soon thereafter.