Isaac Chauncey, born in Black Rock, Conn., 20 February 1779, was appointed a Lieutenant in the Navy from 17 September 1798. He fought with gallantry in the West Indies during the Quasi-War with France; in the Mediterranean during the War with the Barbary Powers; and commanded John Adams (1804-5), Hornet (1805-6), Washington and the Mediterranean Squadron (1815-1820). Perhaps his most outstanding service was during the War of 1812 when he commanded the naval forces on Lake Ontario, conducting amphibious operations in cooperation with the Army, and containing the large British squadron stationed there. His last service was as member, and, for 4 years, President, of the Board of Navy Commissioners. Commodore Chauncey died in Washington 27 January 1840.
(DD-296: dp. 1,215; l. 314'4"; b. 30'8"; dr. 9'10"; s. 33 k.; cpl. 130; a. 4 4", 1 3", 12 21" tt.; cl. Clemson)
The second Chauncey (Destoyer No. 296) was launched 29 September 1918 by Union Iron Works, San Francisco, Calif.; sponsored by Miss D. M. Todd; commissioned 25 June 1919, Commander W. A. Glassford, Jr., in command ; and reported to the Pacific Fleet.
From the time of her commissioning, Chauncey sailed from San Diego and Mare Island to Hawaii and along the Pacific coast taking part in fleet exercises, gunnery practice, and other training activities. From 15 July 1920 to 14 October 1921, she was in ready reserve at San Diego and Mare Island, then returned to active duty as flagship of Destroyer Division 31.
On the evening of 8 September 1923, Chauncey in company with a large group of destroyers was sailing through a heavy fog from San Francisco to San Diego, when a navigational error on board the first ship in her column turned that destroyer and the six that followed toward the rocky California coast rather than on a reach down Santa Barbara Channel. All seven destroyers, including Chauncey, went aground on the jagged rocks off Point Pedernales.
Chauncey stranded upright, high on the rocks, near Young (DD-312), which had capsized. With none of her men lost, Chauncey at once went to the aid of her stricken sister, passing a line by which 70 of Young's crew clambered hand-over-hand to Chauncey. Swimmers from Chauncey then rigged a network of lifelines to the coastal cliffs, and both her men and Young's reached safety by this means. The abandoned Chauncey was wrecked by the pounding surf, and was decommissioned 26 October 1923. All the hulks were sold for salvage and removal as of 25 September 1925.