Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Davis I (Torpedo Boat No. 12)

Charles Henry Davis, born 16 January 1807 in Boston, Mass., was appointed Midshipman 12 August 1823 and made many valuable scientific contributions to the Navy before the Civil War during which he served with distinction. As Flag Officer of the Mississippi Flotilla he directed the capture and destruction of seven Confederate gunboats and rams near Memphis, Tenn., and received the surrender of the city 6 June 1862; joined Farragut's fleet for operations against Vicksburg; and cooperated with the Army expedition up the Yazoo River from 16 to 27 August 1862. From 1862 to 1865 Admiral Davis served as Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, then served as Superintendent of the Naval Observatory; Commander in Chief, South Atlantic Squadron; Commandant of Norfolk Navy Yard; and member of the Lighthouse Board. Admiral Davis died in Washington, D.C., 18 February 1877.


(Torpedo Boat No. 12: displacement 155; length 148'; beam 15'4"; draft 5'10"; speed 23 knots; complement 24; armament 3 1-pounders, 3 18-inch torpedo tubes)

The first Davis (Torpedo Boat No. 12) was launched 4 June 1898 by Wolff &Zwicker, Portland, Oreg.; sponsored by Miss H. Wolff; and commissioned on 10 May 1899, Lt. Cmdr. Reginald F. Nicholson in command.

After trials Davis was placed out of commission on 5 June 1899 and laid up at the Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, Calif.,  in reserve. She was recommissioned on 23 March 1908 and assigned to Pacific Torpedo Fleet. She participated in the review for the Secretary of the Navy on 8 May 1908, then cruised along the west coast as far north as the Columbia River and south as far as Magdalena Bay, Mexico, until again placed in reserve at Mare Island on 28 October 1909.

Davis was recommissioned on 1 November 1910 for service in the San Diego area until 10 May 1911 when she again went into reserve at Mare Island. In May 1912 she was towed to Puget Sound for assignment to the Pacific Reserve Fleet. She was decommissioned there on 28 March 1913.

Ultimately, she was sold for scrap on 21 April 1920.

Published: Thu Jan 19 12:34:38 EST 2017