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Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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DANFS - USS Wahneta
(Yard Tug No. 1: displacement 192; length between perpendiculars 92'6"; beam 20'11.5"; draft 8'; speed 11.5 knots)


A variant spelling of Waneta, a Yanktonai Sioux Indian. Born about 1795 in what is now Brown County, S. Dak., he joined his father in siding with the British during the War of 1812. He fought at Fort Meigs and Sandusky and was wounded in the latter battle. After the war, the British rewarded Waneta for his loyalty by presenting him with a captain's commission. He subsequently visited England and remained sympathetic to the British until 1820, when an abortive expedition against Fort Snelling resulted in his change of heart. Thereafter, he gave wholehearted support to American interests. A dominant chief of the Sioux tribe, Waneta signed a trade treaty with the Americans on 25 July 1825; and, on 17 August of that year, he signed the Treaty of Prairie du Chien which fixed the boundaries of Sioux territory. He died in 1848 at the mouth of the Warreconne, the present Beaver Creek, in Emmons County, N. Dak.


Wahneta (Yard Tug No. 1) was laid down in April 1891 at Boston, Mass., by the City Point Iron Works; launched on 3 March 1892 and subsequently was placed in service and assigned to the 5th Naval District.

Stationed at the Norfolk Navy Yard, the tug engaged in the unglamorous but vital tug, tow, and general harbor duties. In February 1893, she served as a seagoing observation platform off Port Royal, S.C. From her deck, observers watched test firings of "dynamite gun cruiser" Vesuvius' guns - 15-inch pneumatic rifles. Returning to her routine work soon thereafter, the tug remained based at Norfolk from 1893 to 1922, through both the Spanish-American and First World Wars. On 17 July 1920, the ship was designated YT-1. Subsequently placed out of service at Norfolk on 4 August, the venerable yard craft was sold on 6 December 1922 to the Norfolk Lighterage Company.


(Harbor Tug YT-134: displacement 250; length 100'0"; draft 10'0")

Wahneta (YT-134) was laid down on 29 September 1938 at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, Calif.; and launched at midnight on 3 May 1939 - as tide conditions were most favorable then - via an "aerial route." Large cranes hoisted her up from her building way, swung her out over the water, and then gently lowered her into the channel. Completed on 23 June 1939, and subsequently commissioned, Wahneta performed towing and fire-fighting duties in the busy 12th Naval District throughout World War II. During this service, she was redesignated YTM-134 on 15 May1944. After the close of World War II, the yard craft was declared surplus to the Navy needs and was struck from the Navy list on 30 December 1946. She was transferred to the Maritime Commission on 2 June 1947 for disposal.

11 March 2002