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

Online Library of Selected Images
EVENTS--Spanish-American War--
U.S. War Preparations

As public excitement rose in the United States and Spain over the Cuban situation and the Maine's loss, the U.S. Navy started active war preparations. The Naval War Board and other officials undertook strategic and operational planning. Battleship Oregon steamed out of San Francisco Bay on a long voyage to the Atlantic. Increased recruiting and expedited shipyard work enhanced war readiness. Merchant ships and yachts were obtained for naval service, and two fighting ships were purchased in Great Britain. The dark grey of war was brushed over warships' bright peacetime "white and buff" paint.

Commodore Dewey's Asiatic Squadron was alerted, and a pair of powerful operating forces were formed in the Atlantic. Ordered to Key West, Rear Admiral Sampson's North Atlantic Squadron prepared for Caribbean operations. At Hampton Roads, Commodore Schley's "Flying Squadron" stood ready to counter an appearance by the Spanish armored cruisers.

This page features views related to U.S. war preparations.

If better quality reproductions than these digital images are desired, see "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

In all cases, clicking on the small photograph will prompt a larger view of the same image.

Photo #: NH 84574

USS Olympia (C-6)


Dressed with flags and firing a salute at Hong Kong, 22 February 1898, in celebration of George Washington's birthday. This was only a week after the USS Maine blew up in Havana Harbor, and peacetime routine still prevailed.

Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, Dutreaux Collection

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 64,426 bytes; 740 x 541 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 62591

USS Oregon (BB-3)


Off San Francisco, California, 19 March 1898, the day she sailed for her 66 day, 14,000 mile voyage around South America to join U.S. forces in the Atlantic.

Courtesy of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 63,016 bytes; 740 x 625 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 63514

USS Oregon (BB-3)


Photographic composite, by Allan J. Drugan, depicting her steaming through heavy seas on the way to Cuba in March-May 1898, as described by Captain Charles E. Clark.

Courtesy of Allan J. Drugan, Columbus, Ohio.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 57,983 bytes; 740 x 606 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 79900-KN (Color)

USS Oregon (BB-3)


In the Strait of Magellan, April 1898, while en route to join the fleet assembled for the Spanish-American War.

Colored lithograph, published as the frontispiece of Deeds of Valor by the Perrien-Keydel Co., Detroit, Michigan, 1907.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 73,283 bytes; 780 x 501 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 45114

USS New Orleans (1898-1929)


Arrives off the New York Navy Yard, April 1898, after crossing the Atlantic. Note oversize commissioning pennant flying from her main mast, and Brazilian Navy paint scheme. She had been purchased from Brazil on 16 March 1898, while still under construction in England.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 55,213 bytes; 740 x 560 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 75495

USS New Orleans (1898-1929)


Docked at the New York Navy Yard, April 1898, immediately after her maiden voyage from England. The receiving ship USS Vermont is at left. Note New Orleans' extra-long commissioning pennant.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 62,370 bytes; 740 x 550 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 78627-KN (Color)

"Before the War"


Painting by Carlton T. Chapman, depicting the U.S. North Atlantic Squadron anchored in Hampton Roads, Virginia, circa late March or early April 1898. Ships present are (left to right: USS New York, USS Indiana, USS Texas, USS Massachusetts, USS Columbia and USS Iowa.

Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC. Donation of Capt. R.G. Colbert, USN.
Navy Art Accession #: 63-33-B
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 94,403 bytes; 570 x 780 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 71830-KN (Color)

"Assembling the Fleet at Key West -- Sunday Service on the Battleship Texas."


Colored print after a painting by Howard Chandler Christy, March 1898, copyright 1898 by P.F. Collier. Ship in the left background is USS New York.

Collections of the Navy Department, purchased from Lawrence Lane, 1970.
Navy Curator Accession #: 70-638-A
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 76,894 bytes; 740 x 470 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 84575

USS Olympia (C-6)


At Hong Kong, circa April 1898, probably just prior to the declaration of war. Olympia has been repainted from peacetime "white and buff" into wartime grey.

Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, Dutreaux Collection

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 46,579 bytes; 740 x 490 pixels

 

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28 February 1998