USS Vesuvius (1890-1922)
USS Vesuvius, a dynamite-gun cruiser, was commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, on June 2, 1890. A unique warship, she carried three 15-inch pneumatic guns, mounted on her forward side-by-side. In order to train these weapons, the ship had to be aimed, like a gun, at its target. Operating in the Atlantic, she joined the North Atlantic Squadron testing her guns. Decommissioned in 1894, Vesuvius was recommissioned two-years later and participated in the Spanish-American War in 1898, where her bombardments had "great effect" against the Spanish forces at Santiago, Cuba. That September, Vesuvius was taken out of service and was stationed at Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, until 1904. Following conversion, with the loss of her unique guns, she conducted torpedo experiments with new armaments at Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, Rhode Island. Decommissioned again in 1907, Vesuvius was recommissioned in 1910, serving as station ship at Newport until 1921, then sold for scrapping a year later.
A model of Vesuvius used to be on display in the Spanish-American War section at the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, Bldg. 76, until 2022.
Image: Lot-3000-P-7, USS Vesuvius, 1890s. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.