Naval History and Heritage Command

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USS Ericsson (DD-56)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Ericsson (DD-56)

USS Ericsson, (TB-2), was launched 12 May 1894 by Iowa Iron Works, Dubuque, Iowa; sponsored by Miss Carrie Kiene; and commissioned 18 February 1897, Lieutenant N. R. Usher in command.

On 18 May 1897, USS Ericsson, (TB-2) arrived at Newport, R.I., her home port. Through the summer months, she cruised New England waters for trials and training, instructing regular and reserve officers in torpedo tactics.

As war with Spain approached, USS Ericsson, (TB-2) patrolled the Florida Keys, intensified her training operations, and carried messages for the increasing number of the fleet present in the area. USS Ericsson, (TB-2) continued this duty after the opening of the war, then on 22 April 1898 began a blockade patrol between Havana and Key West. She joined the fleet at Santiago 20 June, and during the Battle of Santiago, 3 July 1898, was in the thick of the fight, firing on the Spanish fleet. As the defeated Spanish ships blazed and threatened to explode, USS Ericsson, (TB-2) played a leading part in the rescue efforts through which men of the U.S. Navy that day showed their courage, skill, and determination as clearly as they had in the fighting. She laid herself alongside Vizcaya, ignoring the fact that the Spanish ship's ammunition was already exploding, and that flames were firing; the loaded guns. Over a hundred Spanish officers and men were thus saved, and more were taken off the flagship Maria Teresa and Oquendo, as USS Ericsson, (TB-2) towed small craft from her squadron's larger ships to the burning hulks.

USS Ericsson, (TB-2) patrolled off Cuba through mid-August 1898, and on 23 August arrived at New York, where she was decommissioned 21 September 1898 and laid up. In December 1900, she was returned to commission, still in reserve, then sailed for Norfolk, where on 6 March 1901 she was assigned to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla. In October 1908, she moved to Charleston Navy Yard, where she was decommissioned 5 April 1912. USS Ericsson, (TB-2) was sunk in ordnance tests.

For a complete history of USS Ericsson, (TB-2) please see its DANFS page.