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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 -- Larger Converted Yachts

Among the ships the Navy acquired for Spanish-American War service were twenty-eight yachts. Thirteen of these former pleasure craft were larger ships, exceeding 400 tons. With relatively good gun-carrying capacity and sea-keeping capabilities, most were very actively employed off Cuba. Several converted yachts took part in fights with Spanish forces. Three, USS Gloucester, Hist and Vixen, were present during the Battle off Santiago on 3 July 1898.

Following the war, the Navy retained all thirteen. USS Mayflower, the biggest, served for over two decades as the Presidential yacht. Others stayed busy as dispatch vessels, surveying ships, Naval Militia training ships and in other duties. Most of them remained in the Navy through the First World War, and one lasted until 1940. The Mayflower, discarded by the Navy in 1931, saw World War II service with the U.S. Coast Guard.

This page features views of ten of these larger converted yachts.

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 58839

USS Dorothea (1898-1919)


Photographed in 1898.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 52,344 bytes; 740 x 590 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 53960

USS Frolic (1898-1909)


Off the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia,
1 November 1898.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 67,055 bytes; 740 x 590 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 53600

USS Gloucester (1898-1919)


Photographed in 1898, probably at the end of the Spanish-American War.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 66,421 bytes; 740 x 515 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 100294

USS Gloucester (1898-1919)


Anchored in U.S. waters circa summer 1898, showing her forward 6-pdr. gun and bow decorations. Original photograph was printed on a stereograph card, copyright 1899 by Strohmeyer & Wyman, New York.

Donation of Louis Smaus, 1985.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

A stereo pair version of this image is available as Photo # NH 100294-A

Online Image: 47,979 bytes; 590 x 655 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 54953

USS Hawk (1898-1940)


At the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, while being prepared for Spanish-American War service, circa April 1898.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 66,983 bytes; 590 x 735 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 53539

USS Hist (1898-1911)


Photographed on 7 June 1898, prior to her departure from the U.S. east coast for war service off Cuba.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 53,100 bytes; 740 x 590 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 1004

USS Hist (1898-1911)


Scene looking aft on the main deck, with crewmen relaxing as water keeps the deck awash, during the Spanish-American War, 1898.

Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 72,148 bytes; 740 x 610 pixels

 
Photo #: 19-N-14187

USS Hist (1898-1911)


Chief Petty Officer demonstrates the operation of a Maxim 1- pounder machine gun, circa May 1898.
USS Topeka is fitting out in the background.

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

Online Image: 55,010 bytes; 740 x 625 pixels

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

 
Photo #: NH 53418

USS Hornet (1898-1910)


Photographed in 1898.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 56,996 bytes; 740 x 590 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 60646

USS Mayflower (1898-1931)


Photographed in 1898.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 46,251 bytes; 740 x 395 pixels

 
Photo #: NR&L(O) 2197

USS Scorpion (1898-1929)


At the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, circa April 1898.
Note battery of four 5"/40 guns located on her sides, fore and aft of the superstructure. This was by far the heaviest battery fitted to any yacht converted for Spanish-American War service.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 61,598 bytes; 740 x 645 pixels

 
Photo #: NR&L(O) 605

USS Vixen (1898-1923)


Photographed in 1898, with sails hoisted on both masts.
Note three-masted schooner in the right distance.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 57,756 bytes; 740 x 590 pixels

 
Photo #: NR&L(O) 2220

USS Wasp (1898-1921)


At the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia, 19 November 1898.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 65,216 bytes; 740 x 590 pixels

 

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24 July 1998