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Dahlgren I (Torpedo Boat No. 9)


John Adolphus Dahlgren, born on 13 November 1809 in Philadelphia, Pa., was appointed a midshipman on 1 February 1826, and early became interested in the problems of ordnance. He developed the famous Dahlgren gun, perfected howitzers for use afloat and ashore, organized the Naval Gun Factory, and wrote several significant books on ordnance. From the outbreak of the Civil War until July 1862 he served as Commandant of the Washington Navy Yard where President Abraham Lincoln often conferred with him. He then became Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance and on 7 February 1863 was promoted to the rank of rear admiral. In command of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron (7 July 1863-17 June 1865), he participated in the bombardment of Fort Wagner and cooperated with General William Tecumseh Sherman in the capture of Savannah and Charleston. After a tour of duty in command of the South Pacific Squadron (1866-1868), he returned to Washington again as Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance. Rear Admiral Dahlgren resigned this job a year later to return to the command of the Navy Yard and Gun Factory. He died in Washington on12 July 1870.


(Torpedo Boat No. 9: displacement 146 (normal); length 151'4"; beam 16'5"; draft 4'8" (mean); speed 31.0 knots; complement 29; armament 4 1-pounders, 2 18-inch torpedo tubes; class Dahlgren)

Dahlgren (Torpedo Boat No. 9) was laid down on 11 December 1897 at Bath, Maine, by Bath Iron Works; launched on 29 May 1899; sponsored by Mrs. John Vinton Dahlgren, the wife of Rear Adm. Dahlgren's youngest son; and commissioned on 16 June 1900, Lt. Matt H. Signor in command.

Assigned to the Atlantic Torpedo Fleet, Dahlgren operated out of Portsmouth, N.H., and Newport, R.I., developing tactics for her new type of ship and training crews until 20 October 1900 when she returned to Portsmouth and was placed out of commission for repairs and alterations.

In partial commission from 7 June 1902, she sailed to Newport on 13 June for an overhaul until 18 November 1902. The next day she was placed in full commission, Ens. Frank L. Pinney in command, and reported to New Suffolk, Long Island, to assume duty as a station ship until 28 October 1903. She again went out of commission on 22 December 1903 at the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York.

Assigned to the Naval Training Stations at Newport and New York during 1905, Dahlgren was placed in reduced commission on 13 December 1905 and reported to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Norfolk. Changing her base to Charleston, S.C., on 15 October 1908, she continued to serve in torpedo developmental operations until placed in ordinary [an inactive status] on 14 March 1914.

After being fitted for minesweeping, Dahlgren was placed in full commission on 1 April 1917 and served on escort and harbor entrance patrol at Norfolk until 5 December 1917. Renamed Coast Torpedo Boat No. 4 on 1 August 1918, she arrived at Philadelphia Navy Yard from Norfolk on 27 January 1918, and there was placed out of commission on 11 March 1919. She was sold  on 19 July 1920.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

22 April 2024

Published: Mon Apr 22 20:48:44 EDT 2024