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Abbot I (Destroyer No. 184)


Joel Abbot was born on 18 January 1793 in Westford, Mass. He was appointed a midshipman on 18 June 1812 and served with distinction during the War of 1812.

In 1852, he was chosen by Commodore Matthew C. Perry to command the frigate Macedonian, one of the ships in Perry's expedition to Japan. During this journey, Abbot visited the Japanese, Bonin, and Philippine Islands, as well as Formosa. Upon Perry's return to the United States, Abbot assumed command of the squadron. Commodore Abbot died of malaria on 14 December 1855 at Hong Kong.

(Destroyer No. 184: displacement 1,306; length 314'4-"; beam 30'11-; draft 9'3⅝"; speed 33.2 knots; complement 122; armament 4 4-inch, 2 3-inch, 12 21-inch torpedo tubes; class Wickes)


The first Abbot (Destroyer No. 184) was laid down on 5 April 1918 by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Newport News, Va.; launched on 4 July 1918; sponsored by Miss Louise Abbot, great granddaughter of Commodore Abbot; and commissioned on 19 July 1919, Lt. Cmdr. William N. Richardson, Jr., in command.

Based at Norfolk, Va., the destroyer operated along the east coast and in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, especially in Cuban waters. The destroyer was placed out of commission at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 5 July 1922.

After being laid up for almost two decades, Abbot was recommissioned on 17 June 1940 and patrolled along the east coast until going out of commission once more at Halifax, in Nova Scotia, on 23 September 1940 to be transferred to England under terms of the agreement by which the United States exchanged 50 overage destroyers for bases on British colonial territory in the Atlantic. Abbot was stricken from the Navy list on 8 January 1941.

Renamed Charlestown, the destroyer was assigned to the 17th Destroyer Division and arrived at Belfast, Ireland, on 8 October. She took part in several minelaying operations along the west coast of Scotland. In September 1943, Charlestown was allocated to the Rosyth Escort Force to escort convoys along the east coast of Great Britain.

Charlestown was damaged in a collision with steamer Flprizel off Harwich, England, in December 1944. Due to her age, it was decided not to repair her, and the destroyer was placed in reserve at Grangemouth, Firth of Forth. Charlestown was decommissioned on 15 January 1945 and was eventually scrapped.

Luann Parsons

9 April 1981 

Published: Wed Jul 25 20:02:51 EDT 2018