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USS Charleston (C-22)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Charleston (C-22)

USS Charleston (C-22) was laid down on 30 January 1902 at Newport News, Va., by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co.; launched on 23 January 1904; sponsored by Miss Helen W. Rhett, daughter of  Robert G. Rhett, the mayor of Charleston, S.C.; and commissioned on 17 October 1905 at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Va., Capt. Herbert Winslow in command.

Early in the New Year on 7 January 1906, USS Charleston (C-22) embarked Secretary of the Navy Charles J. Bonaparte at Lynnhaven Bay, Va., and transported him to Charleston, S.C. (7–10 January). The cruiser returned to Norfolk a week later on the 14th, and inspectors from a Board of Inspection examined the ship for her effectiveness in fleet operations (24–25 January). USS Charleston (C-22) embarked Secretary of State Elihu Root at Tompkinsville for a goodwill cruise to Caribbean and Latin American ports (4 July–30 September 1906).

The cruiser joined the fleet for a series of exercises that carried her more than 1,000 miles across the eastern Pacific and eventually back to San Francisco (21 September–7 October), followed by target practice at Magdalena Bay (11 October–2 December). USS Charleston (C-22) rounded the Washington coast and put in to Port Angeles, after which (10 June–26 October) she accomplished an overhaul that included installing a fire control system, at Puget Sound Navy Yard, to prepare for the long passage to the Asiatic station. 

he cruiser served in the Far East first as flagship of the Pacific Fleet’s Third Squadron, and later as flagship of the Asiatic Fleet. USS Charleston (C-22) arrived at a tense time following the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War, and amidst ongoing strife during the Moro Rebellion in the south, in which the Moro people battled the Americans. USS Charleston (C-22) crossed the South China Sea and returned to Cavite on 23 September 1909. The long voyage had not been kind to the cruiser and she completed repairs in dry dock at Olongapo (28–30 September), following which she intermittently lay at Olongapo, cruised with the Third Squadron, and carried out gunnery practice on the Target Range in Manila Bay (30 September–26 December 1909). USS Charleston (C-22) consequently charted southerly courses from Bremerton to San Francisco (3–6 April 1916), and reached San Pedro on the 13th, and two days later San Diego.

When America entered World War I on 6 April 1917, USS Charleston (C-22) was placed in full commission, and on 9 April the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations ordered that all naval vessels not already painted in war color should be so painted immediately. While at Philadelphia, USS Charleston (C-22) was detached from her patrols on 5 June 1917, and prepared to join the first convoy transporting the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) to the fighting along the Western Front, which put to sea from New York on 14 June.

USS Charleston (C-22) sailed from Philadelphia for the west coast on 23 July 1919. The aging ship passed through the Panama Canal (2–4 August), lay off San Pedro (14–20 August), and on the 24th reached the familiar city of Bremerton. Here she was placed in reduced commission and complement and assigned to Cruiser Division 4, Cruiser Squadron 2. USS Charleston (C-22) was reclassified to a heavy cruiser (CA-19) on 17 July 1920. The venerable cruiser then sailed for Puget Sound Navy Yard, where she was decommissioned on 4 December 1923.

For a complete history of USS Charleston (C-22) please see its DANFS page.