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Online Library of Selected Images -- Picture Data

Photo #: NH 89081 (extended caption)

USS Bennington (Gunboat # 4)

Removing the dead from the ship, following her boiler explosion at San Diego, California, 21 July 1905.
Photographed and published on a stereograph card by C.H. Graves, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The inscription published on the reverse of the original card is provided below.

Courtesy of Commander Donald J. Robinson, USN(MSC), 1979

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 105KB; 605 x 675 pixels

A stereo pair version of this image is available as Photo # NH 89081-A

Online Image of stereo pair: 63KB; 675 x 360 pixels


Text of the inscription printed on the reverse of the original stereographic card:


"It is one of the strange twists of fate that a defective boiler on board the Bennington should have inflicted far greater disaster upon the American navy than two Spanish fleets were able to inflict in two history-making battles." The accident which is said to be unprecedented in the history of the United States navy occurred on July 21, while the gun boat Bennington was about to sail from San Diego harbor, California, to convoy the monitor Wyoming to Mare Island navy yard, San Francisco. Steam was up and everything was in readiness when the starboard boiler exploded and was jammed back on another boiler which in turn exploded. Human bodies were hurled more than a hundred feet upward and when the smoke had cleared away only a few men could be seen on deck, while a number were floundering in the water. A good many of the latter were saved. At the time of the explosion, more than a hundred and ninety men were aboard the warship. Lieut. Newman K. Perry Jr. and 61 men were killed and 48 of the crew were seriously, some of them fatally injured. So great was the damage done to the ship, that it had to be beached as shown in our picture, in order to prevent sinking. The ill-fated Bennington was among the first vessels built for the new navy, having been placed in commission in 1891.

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Image posted 4 February 2005