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Burrows II (Destroyer No. 29)


William Ward Burrows Jr. was born outside of Philadelphia, Penn., on 6 October 1785.  His father, the first William Burrows, was a wealthy and politically connected South Carolinian Revolutionary War veteran living in Pennsylvania.  Young William engaged in a classical education and became fluent in German, the native language of his mother. When the U.S. Marine Corps was reestablished in 1798, Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Stoddert, a Pennsylvania Federalist, named the like-minded William Ward Burrows commandant and leader of the new force.  Noticing his son’s interest in the naval sciences, the officer obtained a midshipman’s warrant for the fourteen year old. 

Midshipman Burrows entered the nascent Navy in a time of emergency caused by the undeclared naval war against France.  He sailed on board the corvette Portsmouth as she patrolled the Caribbean for French shipping and privateers off Surinam. Leaving that station in December, the officers put down a mutiny discovered among 17 of the crew in April, but were unable to delay for the trial.  In April 1800, President Adams selected Portsmouth and her captain to deliver American envoys to France to end the conflict between the belligerents. She sailed under a flag of truce to Havre de Grace, France, where the envoys disembarked. The vessel remained in European waters until the Convention of 1800 ended hostilities, departing in October. 

After returning from Europe, the midshipman continued his studies. He later served on board the frigate Philadelphia under Capt. Samuel Barron as part of a squadron tasked with protecting American shipping against attacks from the Barbary State of Tripoli. The squadron departed in summer 1801. Philadelphia patrolled the strait of Gibraltar and blockaded Tripoli as the midshipman eagerly learned the technical arts of seamanship from Barron, one of the Navy’s best sailors. The vessel returned to the United States and after another furlough, the seventeen year-old again departed American shores on the frigate Constitution, flagship of Commodore Edward Preble. 

The midshipman thrived under Preble’s nurturing command. The commodore assigned him to Constitution’s main and maintop sail braces, an important post for a midshipman. He impressed Preble, and when the sailing master of the schooner Vixen went ashore for medical attention in January 1804, the commodore assigned Burrows as his replacement. The young officer returned to Constitution in February, but when the sailing master of the brig Syren similarly was stricken in April, Preble again tapped Burrows.  He was on board the brig throughout the summer as she participated in the bombardment of Tripoli and the battles that raged outside of the harbor. During that time he was promoted to acting lieutenant within the squadron. Congress officially promoted him to the rank in March 1807. 

After much of the squadron returned to the United States following the June 1805 peace with the Barbary state, the young lieutenant remained in the Mediterranean as fifth lieutenant on board the frigate Essex. He returned to Vixen temporarily, but arrived in the United States on board Essex in the summer of 1806.

All major accounts of William Burrows Jr.’s life focus on his personality. Some of his contemporaries deemed him peculiar, describing him as aloof, intense, and sensitive and for most of his career was unpopular in the officers’ mess. He seemed more comfortable with the bluejackets, and the enlisted men held him in high esteem. He even was known to take shore leave in dress of an ordinary seaman and used this perspective to form a strong bond with his men.  His personality and his father’s Federalist politics did not help him advance through the officer’s ranks. Lt. Burrows commanded Gunboat No. 119 on the Delaware as it enforced the Embargo Act.  He approached the department in 1809 and made known his intention to resign if the Navy did not give him a better assignment. The Department conceded and assigned him to the frigate President as third lieutenant, as the frigate cruised off the eastern seaboard.  He next served as first lieutenant of the brig Hornet, as she carried dispatches to England, France, and the Netherlands under Master Commandant James Lawrence.  His commander credited Lt. Burrows for Hornet’s survival in a ferocious gale on that cruise. 

The young officer was incensed to learn that officers that he once outranked had jumped him in the line. He offered his resignation but the Secretary of the Navy refused to accept it, instead granting Lt. Burrows a furlough in March 1812.  The discontented sailor volunteered as first mate for an 1812 voyage to Canton, China, on board the American merchant vessel Thomas Penrose. While the Pennsylvanian traversed the globe, the United States declared war on Britain.  On the return voyage a British warship captured the merchantman off of Barbados on 13 May 1813 with the Americans completely unaware of the hostilities. 

The British vessel took Burrows to Barbados where they released him on parole. Eager for action, the officer awaited parole in Washington D.C. and received his complete freedom as a result of an exchange. The Navy assigned the returning officer to command the brig Enterprise. Burrows took command of the ship at Portsmouth, N.H. and she got underway on 1 September 1813 to guard American shipping against British privateers.  On 5 September, lookouts sighted a vessel against the coast of Maine that soon proved to be the British gun-brig Boxer commanded by Cmdr. Samuel Blyth. Enterprise and Boxer were comparable in size, with the American having a slight advantage in guns and a more substantial advantage in complement. 

As the British vessel raised her ensign, Enterprise answered with her own. From first sighting at 8:30 a.m., the two vessels patiently jockeyed for position and the weather gauge. Burrows turned the brig seaward while he ordered axe-men to enlarge an aft-facing window in his stern cabin into which a gun crew wheeled a 9-pounder long cannon from the bow. The crew was initially dismayed and assumed the Enterprise commander was planning to flee. In fact, Burrows was gaining sea-room and at the correct moment shortened sail and turned toward land and Boxer

By 3:20 p.m., the combatants closed within a half pistol-shot of each other and opened with furious broadsides of 18-pounder carronades. The very first exchange unleashed hellish destruction to Boxer and her crew.  When the storm of shot and splinters subsided Cmdr. Blythe was dead, killed by a direct hit from an 18-pounder after nailing his brig’s colors to the mast.  Two broadsides later, Burrows was assisting his men in running out a carronade when a musket or canister ball struck him in the thigh and its trajectory carried it into his torso. Despite being mortally wounded and in great pain, he refused to be carried below. While propped up on the quarterdeck, he, like his former commander James Lawrence, “requested that the flag might never be struck,” and entreated his men “stand fast and the day will soon be ours!”  

With her dying commander lying on deck Enterprise fought on. Having run with the wind before the initial shots were fired and severely damaged Boxer’s rigging with her volleys, the American vessel moved along Boxer’s starboard beam, discharging broadsides as she out-sailed her foe.  Soon Enterprise brought her port guns to bear on Boxer’s starboard bow, and forereached the British vessel, crossing her bow.  The American brig’s maneuvers, either by luck or by foresight, left the 9-pounder protruding from Lt. Burrows’ cabin window with a point blank shot over the Royal Navy vessel’s prow.  The gun raked Boxer’s deck fore to aft as Enterprise opened the distance.  After several reports of the 9-pounder Burrows’ ship turned starboard and delivered a diagonal rake with her broadside carronades that felled the British main topmast.  Leaving her crippled foe limping behind, Enterprise continued to rake Boxer alternately with her 9-pounder or carronades. 

Forty-five minutes after the engagement began the British crewmembers finally hailed the Americans and shouted their surrender.  The acting commander of Boxer offered Blythe’s sword to Lt. Burrows. The victor politely refused, instructing the British officer to send it to the family of his fallen counterpart. The thirteen year navy veteran, so often fuming over the real or perceived injustices dealt to him by the service to which he devoted nearly half of his life, then proclaimed, “I am satisfied, I die contented.” Enterprise sailors carried their commander below where he died hours later at the age of 27. 

The victory gain’d, we count the cost,
We mourn, indeed, a hero lost!
Who nobly fell, we know, sirs;
But Burrows, we with Lawrence find,
Has left a living name behind,
Much honour’d by the foe, sirs.
Huzza! Once more for Yankee skill, &c.

~Enterprise and Boxer-1813

Naval brass along with local dignitaries and militia were on hand as Burrows was buried in Eastern Cemetery, Portland, Mass. (now Maine) next to his British counterpart Blythe.  There the officers remain to this day, in the words of contemporaries “enemies by law, but by gallantry, brothers.”  On 6 January 1814, Congress posthumously awarded Burrows the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest military honor of the time.  The medal bore the Latin motto Victoriam tibi claram, patriae maestam, translated as “A victory brilliant for thee, sorrowful for thy country.”  The reverse proclaims Vivere Sat Vincere translated as “to conquer is to live enough.”  On Lt. Burrows grave is written the epitaph “Beneath this stone moulders the body of William Burrows, late Commander of the United States Brig Enterprise, who was mortally wounded on the 5th Sept. 1813, in an action which contributed to increase the fame of American valor, by capturing HRM Brig Boxer, after a severe contest of forty-five minutes, at 28. A passing stranger has erected this monument of respect to the memory of a patriot, who in the hour of peril obeyed the loud summons of an injured country; and who gallantly met, fought and conquered the foeman.”


(Destroyer No. 29; displacement 742; length 293'10"; beam 26'1 ½"; draft 8'4"; speed 30.67 knots; complement 91; armament 5 3-inch guns, 6 18-inch torpedo tubes; class Paulding)

The second Burrows (Destroyer No. 29) was laid down on 19 June 1909 at Camden, N.J., by New York Ship Building Company; launched on 23 June 1910; sponsored by Miss Lorna Dorothea Burrows; and commissioned on 21 February 1911 at the Philadelphia [Pa.] Navy Yard, Lt. Julius F. Hellweg in command.

Burrows fitting out at her building yard, 1910. McCall (Destroyer No. 28) is also present. Both ships had been launched in June 1910. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 56651)

Burrows fitting out at her building yard, 1910. McCall (Destroyer No. 28) is also present. Both ships had been launched in June 1910. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 56651)

The new destroyer had been at sea for barely over a month when in the early morning of 23 March 1911 Burrows blew ashore at Newport R.I.  The episode began after the destroyer anchored in Newport Harbor on the previous evening. The commanding officer, Lt. Julius F. Hellweg took a small boat ashore leaving Ens. Richard S. Edwards, acting in his stead. The wind freshened in the early morning causing the destroyer to drag her anchor.  Crewmembers awoke Edwards at the conclusion of the mid watch and the officer -- destined to attain the rank of admiral and Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) -- realized his ship was grounded at the foot of Cherry Street.  Fortunately for the young officer, the ship rested easily on sand, and when initial attempts at towing her back into the harbor failed, he resolved to wait for high tide. Hellweg reassumed command at 0645.  The more experienced officer used heavy anchors from the Newport Torpedo Station to kedge the vessel back into deeper waters.  The destroyer suffered negligible damage. 

Prior to World War I, Burrows was attached to the Torpedo Flotilla, Atlantic Fleet, and operated with the Fleet along the east coast and in Cuban waters according to the established schedules of tactical maneuvers, war games, torpedo practice, and gunnery.  Early in 1916 Burrows was assigned to the Neutrality Patrol in the Staten Island-Long Island area of New York.

The U.S. declared War on Germany on 6 April 1917 and officially entered the Great War on the side of the Triple Entente.  Burrows received news of hostilities while she was attached to the Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet, and stationed at New York City under the command of Lt. Harold V. McKittrick.  The next day, she reported to the commander of Squadron Two, Patrol Force, and joined its flagship Birmingham (Scout Cruiser No. 2) and a second destroyer to search for a rumored German surface raider off Nantucket, Mass.  After the force failed to locate the phantom raider, Burrows returned to New York on 10 August and patrolled outside of the port to protect it from potential submarine attack.  On 16 April, she departed New York for Key West, Fla. where she patrolled the Straits of Florida between Sand Key and Cuba starting on the 22nd.

Burrows received orders on 1 May to report to the Philadelphia [Pa.] Navy Yard and to prepare for distant service. She arrived on 4 May, and entered dry dock where the destroyer was overhauled in preparation for the rigors of service in European waters. She was undocked on 1 June, and provisioned and refueled to capacity over the next few days.  On the morning of 5 June, she stood out from Philadelphia to the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N.Y., and on to New London, Conn., where she tested a submarine detection and signaling device known as a Fessenden Oscillator in conjunction with D-2 (Submarine No. 18).  Following the tests, she returned to New York and continued her pre-deployment preparations.

On 14 June 1917, Burrows and warships of the Cruiser and Transport Force Group 2 stood from New York escorting transports carrying troops of the American Expeditionary Force to France.  On 23 June, U.S. destroyers stationed in Europe met the convoy mid-ocean and they continued on to France. On 26 June, Cummings (Destroyer No. 44) sighted a submarine, and went all ahead full and dropped a pattern of depth charges on the spot of the sighting. Burrows went to general quarters and followed in Cummings’ wake, dropping a second pattern before the water calmed. Both attacks proved unsuccessful and the convoy followed an alternate course toward France as Burrows steamed ahead full to regain her position. Two days later, the convoy stood into the Loire River Estuary unharmed and Burrows anchored in St. Nazaire harbor. 

The destroyer participated in patrols off the French western coast until 4 July 1917, when she transferred with five other American destroyers to Queenstown, Ireland, arriving on the following day.  She began patrol and escort duty on 20 July in the western approaches to the British Isles where German U-Boats were inflicting heavy losses on allied and neutral shipping. The destroyer sighted a submarine on both 27 and 28 July, but in both cases the boat submerged before the American could respond. 

Ten days into her new assignment, on 30 July 1917, she was escorting the British steamship Nevisbrock when an unseen torpedo slammed into the merchantman. The steamer sank and Burrows rescued the entire crew. No crewmembers on either the destroyer or Nevisbrock ever saw the offending submarine. Burrows disembarked the crew at Queenstown on 1 August. 

On 20 August 1917, Burrows dropped depth charges on what appeared to be a moving oil wake spreading westward.  The commanding officer believed that the oil emanated from a submerged U-boat, so she dropped depth charges in front of the interpreted source. Aside from a heavy smell of crude oil, the depth charge produced no noticeable effects. 

Destroyers during World War I, especially 742-tonners like Burrows, proved highly vulnerable to heavy weather.  On 27 August 1917, the destroyer was braving particularly heavy seas en route to a convoy rendezvous point.  Two sailors lost their footing in the bucking and rolling of the swells and their falls rendered them unconscious.  She continued to convoy merchant vessels and patrol the Western Approaches throughout September and October 1917. Burrows struck rock at 1955 in Holyhead Harbor, Wales, on 6 November, resulting in extensive damage below the waterline on her port side. She passed the majority of November in dry dock at the Cammell Laird Shipyard in Liverpool, England. 

A board of inquiry determined Lt. Cmdr. McKittrick, the ship’s commanding officer, responsible, although it also cited several mitigating circumstances due to harsh weather and difficult navigating conditions.  The board even commended McKittrick for his skill in saving the ship.  The board deemed a verbal admonition from Vice Adm. William S. Sims, Commander of U.S. Naval Forces in European Waters to the commander of Burrows sufficient punishment.  The damage coincided with the vessel’s regular refit period and workers made repairs concurrently with routine maintenance. She resumed patrolling and convoy duty on 20 November 1917. 

Burrows had a scrape with a submarine while escorting a convoy at 1503 on 13 December 1917. Davis (Destroyer No. 65) sighted a submarine and opened fire. Thirty minutes later, Ericsson (Destroyer No. 56) dropped depth charges on a contact.  Minutes later, a torpedo wake passed under the stern of Burrows but missed the lead ship of the convoy, passing astern of her.  

Tragedy struck Burrows at 0901 on 19 January 1918, however, when the oil line from no. 3 oil pump to the governor severed resulting in an out-of-control fire.  The crew battled the flames as sailors from Drayton (Destroyer No. 23), Jenkins (Destroyer No. 42), Balch (Destroyer No. 50) and Parker (Destroyer No. 48) assisted.  The sailors extinguished the fire at 1030, but not after damage to the ship and the death of water tenders M. O’Callaghan and C.E. Bourke.  The sailors died in an attempt to reach the foam fire extinguisher in the no. 2 fire room. 

At 1045 on 5 February 1918, an operator of an installed listening device reported a submarine submerged close aboard on the starboard side. Burrows crossed the location of the sound and dropped a single depth charge on an oil wake with no visible results. Later that month, on 23 February, the German submarine U-91 (Kapitänleutnant Alfred von Glasenapp, commanding) torpedoed and shelled the British tanker Birchleaf near Skerries, Ireland.  Burrows searched for the attacker and one hour later dropped a depth charge on a disturbance in the water but witnessed no apparent results. Three days later she dropped two depth charges on an oil slick 

Burrows witnessed destroyers with another convoy to the east dropping large numbers of depth charges at 1213 on 16 March 1918; she hurried to the scene of the attacks and sighted a periscope on the port quarter at 1407. The periscope dipped below the surface and Burrows dropped four depth charges on its estimated track. Again the destroyer did not witness any apparent results.

Forty-four minutes into the mid watch on 19 May 1918, a torpedo crossed Burrows’ bow, 20 feet away, heading port to starboard. The officer of the deck sounded general quarters and pushed Burrows to full speed. Two hours later the watch spotted a conning tower 1,500 yards distant, but before the American could take up chase, the enemy submerged. Burrows scoured the vicinity of the sighting until 0420 when she intercepted a call from Patterson (Destroyer No. 36) requesting assistance engaging allegedly damaged submarines. At 0730, she joined with three U.S. destroyers and two British warships in a depth charge attack against a large bubbling oil slick believed to emanate from the crippled U-boat.  The destroyers broke off the attack in the late morning, with the Admiralty later ruling that they likely slightly damaged their target. 

The following day at 0021, Burrows was on an antisubmarine patrol off Bardsey Island, Wales, when she collided with British P-class sloop P.62 in heavy weather.  The smaller British vessel struck Burrows on the starboard side in the No. 1 fire room. The crew responded quickly to the collision. As water poured in through the damaged bulkhead the crew extinguished fires in the fire rooms, released safety valves and engaged the pumps. Before Burrows’ crew gained control of the situation and applied the collision mat, the destroyer took on four feet of water. Underway again at 0139, P.62 accompanied Burrows up the Mersey River to the Woodside Stage across the river from Liverpool. There, at 1410, she attempted to make a landing at the stage only to strike the dock, and while out of control collided with the steam barge Gertie, which subsequently sunk. By 1416, the destroyer tied up to the stage and the unfortunate day came to an end. 

After a drydocking for repairs (21 May – 6 June 1918), Burrows stood down the Mersey on 7 June and set course for Queenstown which she reached on 8 June.  Following her arrival, the ship nearly suffered a disaster when, at 2335 on 9 June, an electrical fire broke out under the stored depth charges on board.  If the charges exploded the ship undoubtedly would have been destroyed.  The rapid response and efficiency of Burrow’s sailors saved the vessel and put out the blaze within ten minutes. Investigation determined that the recent overhaul and repairs had led to an electrical malfunction and the fire. 

Burrows transferred to Brest, France to begin convoy operations out of that port. On 17 July 1918 the destroyer was escorting a convoy with seven other destroyers, when she spotted a suspicious wake nearby.  Believing that the wake could emanate from a submerged submarine, she dropped eighteen depth charges over ten minutes. Approximately twenty minutes after the barrage subsided, Carpenter John Reid, Jr., fell overboard. Burrows backed her engines, stopped and lowered a boat, whose crew retrieved the lucky sailor. 

Burrows travails continued on 20 July 1918, however, while convoying three transports in company with Nicholson (Destroyer No. 52), Lamson (Destroyer No. 18), and Flusser (Destroyer No. 20). The large transports had little difficulty steaming at high speeds through heavy seas, but the conditions proved dangerous for their diminutive escorts. The convoy slowed to 15 knots, but not before Burrows suffered significant damage from the sea, including lost and damaged stanchions, a buckled forecastle deck, and various damage to the interior of the ship. 

While underway during the afternoon of 3 August 1918, the watch spotted a small boat ahead.  Burrows stopped at 1210 to investigate and identified the sighting as a lifeboat from the torpedoed Brazilian steamship Maceio, which had been sunk by U-43 (Kapitänleutnant Johannes Kirchner) earlier that day. The U.S. sailors brought 22 survivors on board, then, spotting another lifeboat on the starboard beam at 1225, closed and rescued another 22 men.  The destroyer continued her patrol with the Brazilians on board before disembarking them at Brest on 7 August. 

Burrows was escorting the westbound convoy OR.67 with five fellow U.S. destroyers on 9 August 1918. At 1128, a lookout sighted a submarine on the surface. She increased her speed to 25 knots and closed on the spot of the sighting. The submarine submerged and at 1156, the destroyer began dropping depth charges. Before leaving the scene she dropped thirty-four charges.  Two hours later, she spotted a strange sail on the horizon and closed to investigate. The sail disappeared, indicating that the sighting was a possible submarine. At 1406 she dropped five more charges at the approximate location where the sail was sighted.  None of the depth charges achieved any apparent results. The gun crews fired on an apparent mine at 1552 but the target was later identified as an empty oil drum. 

Burrows broke off from a convoy on the evening of 15 August 1918 to assist the crew of the mortally damaged Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS) cargo ship Montanan. She spotted both Montanan and the NOTS cargo ship West Bridge (Id. No. 2888) in sinking condition, both having been torpedoed by U-90 (Oberleutnant zur See Helmut Patzig).  At 0715, Burrows pulled alongside West Bridge and embarked 101 survivors -- 16 officers, 83 men, and two stowaways -- and set course for Brest to disembark them. At 1648 a lookout sighted a suspicious object and Burrows closed on it at full speed. The object proved to be a lifeboat from the French fishing smack J.M.J. that had been sunk by gunfire from U-90. Burrows picked up the five survivors and reached Brest at 1030 on 17 August. Lt. Cmdr. Abner Steckel, commanding officer of Burrows, was later issued a letter of reprimand after a court of inquiry decided that he had committed a grave error by Burrows’ leaving the vicinity of West Bridge while she was still afloat. West Bridge survived the torpedo attack, however, and British tugs Epic and Woonda took her in tow, with Smith (Destroyer No. 17) providing escort for the little convoy after Burrows left the scene. 

On 4 September 1918, the destroyer was escorting convoy HN.01 when a torpedo from U-82 (Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Middendorff) struck the U.S. steamer Dora.  While other escorts assisted the sinking Dora, Burrows dropped 27 depth charges over the next hour, achieving no visible results. A little over a week later, on 13 September, Burrows was cruising in the dark when a French fishing vessel struck the destroyer’s port bow and sank. While Burrows retrieved four seamen and Flusser rescued one, three of their shipmates died in the accident.  She disembarked the remaining fisherman after returning to Brest on 14 September.  She participated in convoy operations throughout the month of October and at the end of the month steamed to Birkenhead, England, for repairs and refitting.

Destroyers Little (Destroyer No. 79), Jarvis (Destroyer No. 38), and Burrows, lying (L-R) in the inner harbor ready for convoy service, Brest, France, 27 October 1918, in this image captured by a Pvt. Barnes of the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Note weathered paintwork and details of depth charge tracks on board all three ships. Little carries her identification number in low-contrast camouflage paint, the configuration of her stern requiring the numerals to be painted on each side, whereas Jarvis’ identification number is painted across her rounded stern just beneath the name JARVIS. Also note Burrows’ badly damaged starboard propeller guard (R). (U.S. Army Signal Corps Photograph 111-SC-30973, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Branch, College Park, Md.)

Destroyers Little (Destroyer No. 79), Jarvis (Destroyer No. 38), and Burrows, lying (L-R) in the inner harbor ready for convoy service, Brest, France, 27 October 1918, in this image captured by a Pvt. Barnes of the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Note weathered paintwork and details of depth charge tracks on board all three ships. Little carries her identification number in low-contrast camouflage paint, the configuration of her stern requiring the numerals to be painted on each side, whereas Jarvis’ identification number is painted across her rounded stern just beneath the name JARVIS. Also note Burrows’ badly damaged starboard propeller guard (R). (U.S. Army Signal Corps Photograph 111-SC-30973, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Branch, College Park, Md.)

Burrows lay at the Cammell-Laird yard when the Armistice took effect on 11 November 1918. When work on Burrows was completed on 28 November she returned to Brest by way of Queenstown, and passed in review outside of the French port on 13 December when President Woodrow Wilson arrived on board the troop transport George Washington (Id. No. 3018) for peace negotiations.  She departed Brest on 16 December for Philadelphia, touching at the Azores and Bermuda en route. 

Burrows arrived in Philadelphia on 2 January 1919, remaining at the port for the following month.  On 3 February she steamed to Charleston, S.C. and operated out of that port throughout the spring. In the following months, she visited various port towns along the eastern seaboard to support the Victory Loan war bond drive. On 16 July, Burrows stood in to the Philadelphia Navy Yard and upon arrival anchored in League Island’s back channel.  There she remained until 12 December 1919, when the Navy placed her out of commission.

Burrows and Jenkins (Destroyer No. 42) in port, dressed with flags, circa 1919. Courtesy of the National Museum of the Marine Corps. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 103739)

Burrows and Jenkins (Destroyer No. 42) in port, dressed with flags, circa 1919. Courtesy of the National Museum of the Marine Corps. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 103739)

On 17 July 1920, while then ship lay in reserve at Philadelphia, the Navy re-designated Burrows from Destroyer No. 29 to DD-29.  Burrows was stricken from the Navy Register on 7 June 1924, and she was transferred that same day to the Treasury Department at Philadelphia Navy Yard for service with the U.S. Coast Guard. 

Re-designated as CG-10, Burrows retained her name. Assigned to service with the Coast Guard’s Destroyer Force, she was to interdict the illegal importation of alcohol in the enforcement of the 18th Amendment (Prohibition). In the end the rehabilitation of the destroyers became a saga in itself because of the exceedingly poor condition of many of the war-weary ships. It took nearly a year to remove the installed antisubmarine equipment and rehabilitate the vessels to bring them up to seaworthiness. Additionally, the destroyers proved by far the largest and most sophisticated vessels ever operated by the Coast Guard and trained crewmen were nearly non-existent. As a result, Congress subsequently authorized hundreds of new enlisted billets. It was these inexperienced recruits that generally made up the destroyer crews.

Burrows, designated CG-10, in Coast Guard service, date unknown. (U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office)

Burrows, designated CG-10, in Coast Guard service, date unknown. (U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office)

Burrows was commissioned at Philadelphia Navy Yard on 30 June 1925, Lt. Cmdr. Louis L. Bennett, USCG, in command. She arrived at her permanent station at New London, Conn. for duty with Division 3 of the Destroyer Force under the command of Cmdr. Harry G. Hamlet, USCG (later Commandant of the Coast Guard). The other units of the division included Conyngham (CG-2), Paulding (CG-17), Jouett (CG-13), and Beale (CG-9). Capable of well over 25 knots, seemingly an advantage in the interdicting of rumrunners, Burrows was easily outmaneuvered by smaller vessels. As a result, the destroyer picketed the larger supply ships ("mother ships") on Rum Row and in order to prevent them from off-loading their illicit cargo onto the smaller, speedier contact boats that ran the liquor into shore. 

Burrows remained in Division 3 throughout her service with the Coast Guard; her primary area of patrol was along the Eastern seaboard which saw her range from New England south to Florida. During the Gunnery Year 1926-27, despite standing 11th in the Short-Range Battle Practice (SRBP), her second place standing in the Long-Range Battle Practice (LRBP) under Ens. (T) Henry T. Jewell, her gunnery officer improved her rating to third among the 16 destroyers in the competition. That overall standing would drop in 1928-29, to 16th of 24 and despite shooting 4th in the LRBP, her dismal performance in the SRBP prevented her from rising above 7th of 19 overall. 

Burrows’ grueling anti-smuggling interdiction mission duties eventually wore on her and over time she, along with 11 of her fellow former Navy destroyers, had become unfit. On 9 January 1930, she received orders to report to the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Conducting patrolling operations through most of the remainder of the year, however, she reported on 1 December 1930, ending her active service. Her crew was transferred to another destroyer and she was decommissioned by the Coast Guard on 14 February 1931 and returned to the Navy Department on 2 May. 

Again placed in reserve at Philadelphia, Burrows was stricken from the List of Naval Vessels on 5 July 1934. She was then scrapped and her materials sold in accordance with the London Treaty for the limitation and reduction of naval armament.

Commanding Officers Dates of Command
Lt. Julius F. Hellweg   21 February 1911 – 14 August 1913
Lt. Joseph F. Daniels    14 August 1913 – 7 August 1914
Lt. Cmdr. John P. Jackson 7 August 1914 – 22 December 1914
Lt. Joseph F. Daniels    22 December 1914 – 28 March 1916
Lt. Fred M. Perkins 28 March 1916 – 18 November 1916
Lt. Arie A. Corwin 18 November 1916 – 12 January 1917
Lt. Harold V. McKittrick 12 January 1917 – 25 February 1918
Lt. Cmdr. Abner M. Steckel 25 February 25 1918 – 2 February 1919
Lt. Cmdr. Edward W. Hanson 2 February 1919 – 24 July 1919
Lt. Cmdr. Henry M. Kieffer 14 July 1919 – 12 December 1919
Lt. Cmdr. Louis L. Bennett, USCG 30 June 1925 – 22 June 1926
Lt. Charles W. Dean, USCG 22 June 1926 – 27 September 1927
Lt. Cmdr. R. Donohue, USCG 27 September 1927 – 22 August 1930
Ens. Hans F. Slade, USCG 22 August 1930 – 14 February 1931


S. Matthew Cheser and Christopher B. Havern Sr.
16 December 2016

Published: Wed Jan 25 15:28:03 EST 2017