James Edward Jouett -- born near Lexington, Ky., on 7 February 1826 -- was appointed a midshipman on 10 September 1841. He served on the African coast in Decatur with Matthew C. Perry and in John Adams during the Mexican War.
At the beginning of the Civil War, Jouett, captured by Confederates at Pensacola, was soon paroled. He then joined the blockading forces off Galveston, Texas, distinguishing himself during the night of 7-8 November 1861 when Jouett and marines from the frigate Santee boarded and destroyed the Confederate schooner Royal Yacht. During the action, Jouett engaged the Confederate commander in hand-to-hand combat and in doing so received severe wounds from a pike in the right arm, side, and lungs. For this gallant conduct he received the thanks of the Navy Department.
Jouett later commanded the screw steamer gunboat Montgomery and the screw gunboat R. R. Cuyler on blockading duty and in September 1863, took command of the side‑wheel steamer gunboat Metacomet. In the Battle of Mobile Bay, on 5 August 1864, his ship was lashed to Adm. David G. Farragut’s flagship, the screw sloop-of-war Hartford, as the ships stood in to the bay. The monitor Tecumseh was sunk by an underwater “torpedo” [mine] but the Union ships steamed on at Farragut’s command. Metacomet was sent after two Confederate gunboats, and after a short chase riddled the side-wheel steamer Gaines and captured the side-wheel gunboat Selma. For his actions, Jouett was advanced 30 numbers in the order of precedence.
After the Civil War, Jouett received promotion to commander on 25 July 1866 and to captain on 6 January 1874. Promoted to commodore on 11 January 1883, Jouett assumed command of the North Atlantic Squadron in 1884. Two years later, on 19 February 1886, he received promotion to rear admiral. In 1889, he commanded a naval force which forced the opening of the Isthmus of Panama which was threatened by insurrection.
Rear Adm. Jouett retired on 27 February 1890. He served as president of the Board of Inspection and Survey and in March 1893 was granted full pay during his retirement, by a special act of Congress in appreciation of his services to his country. Living for most of his remaining years at "The Anchorage," near Sandy Springs, Md., he died on 30 September 1902.
(Destroyer No. 41: displacement 787; length 293'11"; beam 27'; draft 8'4"; speed 30 knots; complement 83; armament 5 3-inch, 6 18-inch torpedo tubes; class Monaghan)
The first Jouett (Destroyer No. 41) was laid down on 7 March 1911 at Bath, Maine, by Bath Iron Works, Ltd.; launched on 15 April 1912; sponsored by Miss Marylee Nally, Rear Adm. Jouett’s cousin; and commissioned at Boston, Mass. on 24 May 1912, Lt. Cmdr. William P. Cronan in command.
After fitting out and completing trials, Jouett cleared Boston on 7 July 1912 and the following day arrived at Newport, R.I., reporting for duty with the Torpedo Flotilla, Atlantic Fleet. She cruised on the east coast, engaging in scheduled drills and exercises, until 12 November when she arrived at Norfolk, Va., for docking. On 5 January 1913, the destroyer departed Norfolk for the Caribbean where she participated in combined fleet exercises conducted from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, returning to the east coast in April. From November to January 1914, the ship lay at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Va., being overhauled.
On 11 January 1914, Jouett got underway with the Fifth Division, Atlantic Torpedo Flotilla, from Lynnhaven Roads, Va., for Cuban waters to take part in fleet maneuvers. In early April she proceeded to Key West and Pensacola, Fla., for supplies and on 20 April, she departed the latter with the Fifth Division for the coast of Mexico. The course of the Mexican Revolution threatened U.S. interests and officials at Tampico had arrested American sailors without cause at Tampico. Jouett arrived off Tampico on 22 April, the day after Rear Adm. Frank F. Fletcher had landed bluejackets and marines and seized the port of Veracruz. The destroyer remained on the Mexican coast during the U.S. occupation of the city into June, carrying mail and passengers between Veracruz, Tampico, and Galveston, Texas. On one occasion [6 June] Rear Adm. Cameron McR. Winslow and his staff took passage from Veracruz to Puerto Mexico and returned on board the destroyer.
On 12 June 1914, Jouett, in company with Cummings (Destroyer No. 44) and Jarvis (Destroyer No. 38), departed Veracruz for Norfolk via Key West. She remained at Norfolk from 16 June to 25 September when she returned to operations with the flotilla along the Atlantic coast. In 1915, she participated in the fleet’s annual winter maneuvers in Cuban waters and scheduled drills and exercises on the New England coast. In May she was at New York for the fleet review, escorting the presidential yacht Mayflower on 17-18 May. From October 1915 until June 1916, she lay at the Norfolk Navy Yard, overhauling.
Assigned to the Second Reserve Flotilla on 13 December 1915, Jouett was designated as “operating with reduced complement” on 5 January 1916 but continued patrol duty along the coast out of New York. After overhaul in Philadelphia in August she remained on neutrality patrol in Delaware Bay, keeping especially close watch on several interned German vessels. She also cruised intermittently along the east coast, engaging in mine laying and torpedo exercises and strategic maneuvers with the flotilla and performing neutrality patrol duty in the New York area. She underwent overhaul and extensive repairs at the Philadelphia [Pa.] Navy Yard (August 1916-February 1917) and later in February 1917 operated at Camden, N.J., providing security while Idaho (Battleship No. 42) lay under construction at the New York Shipbuilding Corporation yard.
Placed in full commission on 22 March 1917, shortly before the U.S. declared war on Germany and entered the World War, Jouett was attached to the Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet, and performed patrol duty along the eastern coast, escorting vessels engaged in the coastwise trade and searching for submarines. During 7-26 August, Jouett, in company with Montana (Armored Cruiser No. 13) and Monaghan (Destroyer No. 32) escorted Henderson (Troop Transport No. 1), USAT Antilles, Lenape (Id. No. 2700), USAT San Jacinto, and Finland (Id. No. 4543) from New York to the war zone where the troop transports were turned over to a group of destroyers for convoy to St. Nazaire, France. In December, she made another transit with Montana, escorting George Washington (Id. No. 3018).
Jouett reported to Commander, Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet, at New London, Conn., on 15 January 1918, for special duty with the Experimental Board. From January to June, the destroyer conducted experimental tests of various anti-submarine detection devices. On 5 May, the noted inventor Thomas A. Edison, President of the Naval Consulting Board, and his party came on board Jouett to observe the tests. Completing this duty on 4 June, the destroyer then served as flagship of a special anti-submarine force composed of several destroyers and a group of submarine chasers. This force patrolled the Atlantic coast between Norfolk and Halifax, Nova Scotia, escorting Allied shipping and searching for U-boats. The force also conducted search and rescue for survivors of ships sunk by the enemy.
Jouett employed the experimental submarine detectors installed at New London while patrolling. The force stopped to listen every 15 to 20 minutes each hour and then went to general quarters frequently but made no contacts with enemy submarines. On 27 September, Commander, Special Anti-submarine Force, shifted his flag to Henley (Destroyer No. 39) at Boston. Jouett received orders to Charleston, S.C., for new boilers and other repairs. She departed Boston on 29 September, escorting New Mexico (Battleship No. 40) to Norfolk, and arrived at the Charleston Navy Yard on 4 October, where the end of hostilities (with the Armistice of 11 November) found her the following month.
Jouett conducted post-repair trials on 27 February 1919 and on 1 March departed Charleston for Guantanamo Bay to join Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet. She remained in Cuban waters, performing dispatch duty and carrying mail and provisions for the fleet, until April, when she proceeded to Hampton Roads, arriving on 11 April. For several months, the destroyer operated along the east coast of the U.S. between New York and Key West, engaging in torpedo practice and maneuvers with Flotilla B. She arrived at the Philadelphia [Pa.] Navy Yard on 20 July 1919 where the Navy placed her out of commission on 24 November.
Jouett remained inactive until transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard on 28 April 1924. Adapting veteran destroyers for the enforcement of the recently enacted 18th Amendment (Prohibition), was thought to be less costly than building new ships for the execution of that mission. The rehabilitation of the vessels, however, became a saga in itself because of the exceedingly poor condition of many of these war-weary ships. In many instances it took nearly a year to bring the vessels up to seaworthiness. Additionally, these were larger and more sophisticated than any other vessels ever operated by the Coast Guard and trained people were nearly nonexistent.
The second of the transferred destroyers to be ready for service with the Coast Guard – Henley (CG-12) being the first – Jouett, given the identification number CG-13, was commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 23 August 1924, Lt. Cmdr. Raymond L. Jack, USCG, in command. She arrived at her permanent duty station at New London for duty with Division One under the command of Cmdr. William H. Munter on 29 August. By 31 December, Jouett had seized five rumrunners – the sloop Elizabeth Wilson, schooner John Leonard, launch Madonna della Grazia, schooner Pocomoke, yacht Marguerite, and tug Underwriter – and their illicit cargoes.
Jouett overhauled and boarded Joppaite of Gloucester, Mass., on 25 January 1925. Having heard the crew dumping cases of illegal alcohol into the sea, the destroyer’s crew seized the boat with liquor still on board. Less than a fortnight later, on 4 February, Jouett found Homestead at anchor some distance off Montauk Point. The destroyer circled the 1,321-ton steamer slowly and picketed the latter, reporting her position to the division commander back at New London, but shortly after midnight leaky condensers and the need to change the water in her boilers compelled Jouett to abandon her picket and proceed to Melville, R.I. for repairs. The rumrunner was eventually fired upon, boarded, and seized by the cutter Redwing -- ex-minesweeper Redwing (AM-48). Four days later, on 8 February, the destroyer seized Josephine Maria of New Bedford, Mass., 19.5 miles off Montauk Point.
Jouett rated second in order of standing for gunnery exercises for the Gunnery Year 1925-1926, attaining this standing despite the fact that the Coast Guard’s Annual Report of Gunnery Exercises noted that her guns were “pitted and there is considerable erosion in the bores, due to the age and service of the guns.” On 22 May 1926, the Coast Guard reassigned her to Division 3 and changed her duty station to Boston, Mass., where she arrived on 16 July. On 29 September, Jouett conducted Long Range Battle Practice and finished first among the Coast Guard Destroyers. In the Short Range Battle Practice, she finished sixth. Her final gunnery merit saw her finish second for Gunnery Year 1926-27; less than a month later, on 27 October, the destroyer grounded. The ship’s scores for the Gunnery Year 1928-1929 saw the ship’s standing drop to 22nd of 24 destroyers conducting the battle practices that year. That standing would improve to ninth in Gunnery Year 1929-1930.
Clearing Boston for the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 14 April 1931, Jouett arrived two days later on 16 April. There she was decommissioned on 16 May 1931 and returned to the Navy at on 22 May.
Stricken from the Navy Register on 5 July 1934, the ship, in accordance with the Treaty for the Limitation and Reduction of Naval Armament [London Naval Treaty of 1930], was scrapped and her materials sold to Michael Flynn, Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y., on 22 August 1934.
Christopher B. Havern Sr.
26 June 2017