The third Niagara retained the name she carried at the time of her acquisition by the Navy.
(Supply ship: displacement 5,221; length between perpendiculars 274'; beam 38'; draft 19'6"; speed 12 knots; complement 57; armament 2 6-pounders, 4 3-pounders, 2 37 millimeter, 1 Colt machine gun)
The steamer Niagara -- built by John Roach & Sons, Chester, Pa., in 1877 -- was acquired by the Navy from the Ward Line Steamship Company on 11 April 1898. Fitted out as a distilling and supply ship of the Collier Service, Niagara was commissioned at New York on 11 April 1898, Cmdr. George A. Bicknell, III, in command.
Niagara departed New York on 25 April 1898 for the Caribbean via Norfolk, Va., and Key West, Fla. During the Spanish-American War she served the fleet off Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Haiti. The ship returned to Hampton Roads on 26 May and sailed four days later, again bound for ports of Cuba and Puerto Rico. Niagara remained on station in the Caribbean until 24 July when she departed Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for New York, arriving on 3 September.
Niagara remained at New York until she was decommissioned there on 14 October 1898. She was sold on 19 July 1899.
Robert J. Cressman
8 June 2016