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Fox III (Torpedo Boat No. 13)

(TB-13: dp. 155; l. 148'; b. 15'4"; dr. 5'10"; s. 23 k.; cpl. 24; a. 3 18" tt; cl. Davis)

A small carnivorous mammal common throughout the world. Two United States Navy schooners were named for this animal.


Gustavus Vasa Fox, born 13 June 1821 at Saugus, Mass., was appointed midshipman 12 January 1838. During the Mexican War, he served in the brig Washington in the squadron of Commodore Perry and took active part in the second expedition against Tobasco, 14-16 January 1847, which resulted in the capture of that town. He was in command of several mail steamers and after his resignation 30 July 1856, engaged in the manufacture of woolen materials.

At the start of the Civil War he volunteered for service. He was given a temporary appointment in the Navy and was sent in the steamer Baltic to the relief of Major Robert Anderson and the remnant of his command in Fort Sumter, and brought them away. On 1 August 1861, President Lincoln appointed him Assistant Secretary of the Navy, an office which he held until the close of the Civil War. In 1866, he was sent on a special mission to Russia and conveyed the congratulations of the President of the United States to the Czar upon his escape from assassination. His voyage was made in the monitor Miantonomah which was the first vessel of this class to cross the Atlantic. He died 29 October 1883 at Lowell, Mass. Torpedo Boat No. 13 and DD-234 were named for Gustavus Fox.


Printed sources list a schooner Fox as a naval vessel in the period 1817-21, but no information concerning such a ship is contained in the official manuscript records.


The third Fox (Torpedo Boat No. 13), was launched 4 July 1898 by Wolf and Zwickers, Portland, Oreg.; sponsored by Miss V. Patterson; and commissioned 8 July 1899, Lieutenant Commander K. F. Nicholson in command.

Based at Mare Island Navy Yard, the pioneer group of torpedo boats, which included Fox, cruised during 1900 only in the immediate area, conducting trials of engines and equipment, and in general, developing their type both in terms of construction and equipment, and tactics. Between 1901 and 1906, Fox was in the yard for installation of torpedo-firing circuits and other work designed to enhance her capabilities. After 2 years in reserve, she was recommissioned 23 March 1908, and based at San Diego for intensive training operations with the Pacific Fleet.

Out of commission between 7 January 1909 and 17 October 1910, when she was commissioned in reserve, Fox returned to full commission between 1 November 1910 and 5 July 1913, although for much of 1911 and 1912 she lay in reserve. While active, she continued her training and experimental operations out of San Diego. From 1913 to 1916, Fox was on loan to the Washington State Naval Militia, based at Aberdeen, Wash. She was sold 27 October 1916.

Published: Thu Jul 09 07:35:46 EDT 2015