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Shoshone I (Screw Steamer)

(Screw Steamer: tonnage 4,707 (gross); length 353'1"; beam 48'6"; draft 26'4" (aft); speed 13 knots; armament 1 5-inch, 1 3-inch)

The Navy retained the name carried by the ship at the time of her acquisition.

Wasgenwald, a freighter with berths for 50 first class passengers, was built in 1911 by Bremer Vulkan Aktiengesellschaft, Vegesack, Germany, for the Hamburg-American Line. When World War I broke out in August 1914, she took refuge at St. Thomas, Danish West Indies, where she narrowly escaped being wrecked in a hurricane on 9 October 1916. The Kerr Navigation Co., an American firm, purchased Wasgenwald from her German owners before the Danish colony became the U.S. Virgin Islands on 31 March 1917, and renamed her Shoshone. In mid-October 1917, Kerr chartered her to the Army. She was inspected in the Fifth Naval District in late October 1917 for possible Navy use and was assigned the identification number (Id.No.) 1760. The freighter was probably operated by the U.S. Shipping Board on Army account with a civilian crew for the remainder of the war.

Shoshone was the smallest of the approximately 45 freighters that were converted to transports to help bring troops home from Europe after the end of World War I. Transferred by the USSB to the Navy for operation, Shoshone (Id.No.1760) was commissioned at Shooters Island, N.Y., on 18 February 1919, Lt. Comdr. Thomas J. Sammon, USNRF, in command.

Shoshone moved to the Army-s Bush Terminal in Brooklyn, N.Y., on 11 April 1919 and, after a few days in drydock, sailed from New York on 1 May on the first of her two Navy trooping voyages. She arrived at St. Nazaire, France, on 14 May, embarked returning doughboys on 15 and 16 May, and departed for Philadelphia, Pa., on 17 May. Shoshone disembarked her troops upon arrival at Philadelphia on 1 June and sailed on her second run to St. Nazaire on 5 June. She arrived at that French port on 17 June but had to wait until 1 July to embark her contingent of men. She sailed on 2 July and arrived on 16 July at the Army base at Bush Bluffs, Va., where she debarked her passengers.

At noon on 5 August 1919, Shoshone was placed out of commission at Bush Bluffs and turned over to representatives of her owner, the Kerr Navigation Co. Later in 1919, Kerr sold the ship to the Canada Steamship Co., who renamed her Manoa. In 1926 she was resold to her original owner, the Hamburg-American Line, and renamed Grunewald. The ship was scrapped in 1932.

Published: Wed Sep 09 13:30:19 EDT 2015