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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
Ships of the Spanish-American War --
U.S. NAVY SHIPS -- Tugs

When the 1898 crisis began, the U.S. Navy had twelve tugs, most of them assigned to local duties at Navy Yards. Some of these ships dated back over thirty years to the end of the Civil War. To meet the needs of the greatly expanded Spanish-American War fleet, an additional twenty-seven tugs were purchased from private owners, fitted with guns and put to work. In addition to their usual duties of towing, assisting ships in port and generally supporting the work of the navy's shipbuilding and repair facilties, wartime tugs were used for local security patrols.

The Spanish-American War tugs generally remained in Navy service well into the Twentieth Century. Most lasted beyond the First World War, and a few were retained long enough to serve in World War II.

This page features views of several wartime tugs.

If higher resolution 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 85645

U.S. Navy Tugs in port, circa April 1898


Halftone photo, published in War in Cuba, 1898.
These ships include (left to right):
USS Algonquin (1898-1946, renamed Accomac on 15 June 1898 and Nottoway in 1920);
USS Leyden (1865-1903); and
USS Sioux (1898-1921, renamed Nyack in 1918).
Note sailors rowing a small boat in right foreground.

Courtesy of Alfred Cellier, 1977.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 79,477 bytes; 750 x 575 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 265

USS Leyden (1865-1903)


U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 52,099 bytes; 740 x 445 pixels

 
Photo #: NR&L(O) 12613

USS Standish (1865-1921)


Possibly in the Severn River, off the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, with a steam launch alongside. Standish was a station tug at the Naval Academy from about 1880 through the First World War.
Original caption identifies ship in left background as the U.S. Light House Tender Maple and date as 1899.

Photograph received from the Office of Naval Intelligence, 1936.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 60,206 bytes; 740 x 645 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 43693

USS Triton (1889-1930)


At the Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC, circa 1900.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 49,867 bytes; 740 x 575 pixels

 
Photo #: 19-N-19-24-1

USS Algonquin (1898-1946)


At the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, circa April 1898.
Note 6mm Colt Machinegun and 13-star boat flag aft, and horse cart on pier
This tug was renamed Accomac on 15 June 1898, Nottoway in 1920, and YTL-18 during World War II.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

Online Image: 70,674 bytes; 740 x 630 pixels

Reproductions of this image are also available through the National Archives' photographic reproduction system.

 
Photo #: NH 57711

USS Active (1898-1930, 1942-45)


At the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, circa July 1898.
Note damage to buildings in the background, caused by an earthquake the previous March.
This tug was renamed Lively in 1918, and returned to service during World War II as YT-323.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 74,328 bytes; 740 x 605 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 55161

USS Choctaw (1898-1940)


Photographed in 1898, following conversion for U.S. Navy service.
Note searchlight atop her pilothouse.
This tug was renamed Wicomico in 1918.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 54,510 bytes; 740 x 605 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 53273

USS Iroquois (1898-1928)


At the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 24 August 1898.
Note damage to building in right background, caused by an earthquake in March 1898.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 69,037 bytes; 740 x 620 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 57883

USS Potomac (1898-1922)


Photographed during the Spanish-American War, 1898.
Note 6-pounder guns at her bow and stern.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 59,057 bytes; 740 x 575 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 43694

USS Powhatan (1898-1928)


Photographed circa 1898-99 or the early 1900s.
This tug was renamed Cayuga in 1917.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 53,994 bytes; 740 x 575 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 77357

USS Seminole (1898-1900)


At the Boston Navy Yard, Charlestown, Massachusetts, 1898.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 74,408 bytes; 740 x 605 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 43688

USS Tacoma (1898-1936)


Photographed in 1898, probably off the Pensacola Navy Yard, Florida.
Note 6-pounder Driggs-Schroeder gun at her bow.
This tug was renamed Sebago in 1900.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 56,805 bytes; 740 x 595 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 43695

USS Vigilant (1898-1927)


Off the Mare Island Navy Yard, 26 July 1898.
Note variety of guns she carried for Spanish-American War service: two 37mm revolving cannon at the bow, a Gatling gun atop the pilothouse, and a short 3-inch cannon at the stern.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 48,464 bytes; 740 x 610 pixels

 

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19 April 1998