(Gbt: dp. 1,103; l. 168-; b. 36-; dr. 12-9-; s. 11 k.; cpl. 147; a. 6 4-, 2 1-pdr.r, 1 mg; cl. Newport)
A borough in west central New Jersey, scene of a famous Revolutionary War battle 2-3 January 1777 and birthplace of Capt. R. F. Stockton.
The third Princeton, a composite gunboat, was laid down in May 1896 by J. H. Dialogue and Son, Camden, N.J.; launched 3 June 1897; sponsored by Miss Margeretta Updike; and commissioned 27 May 1898 at Philadelphia, Comdr. C. H. West in command.
After acceptance trials 7-25 July 1898 off Delaware Bay, Princeton got underway for Key West where she joined the North Atlantic Fleet 27 July at the beginning of the SpanishAmerican War. She was immediately sent (2 August) to patrol the area from the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula to Livingston, Guatemala. After completing this mission 13 August, she returned to Key West and the Dry Tortugas and remained on this station until departing 11 January 1899 for New York.
Princeton sailed for the Pacific in early 1899 She passed through the Straits of Gibraltar 2 February and the Suez Canal 13-17 February, joining the Asiatic Fleet 16 April at Cavite, Philippines. Princeton cruised throughout the Philippines 4-15 May with Petrel, distributing the proclamation of peace with Spain. Later she carried Sen. A. J. Beveridge on a tour of the newly acquired Philippine Territory.
In late May Princeton commenced blockading the Lingayen Gulf ports of St. Vincent and Musa and extended the blockade to the entire Gulf 18-26 June. During the various local disturbances on Luzon, she landed troops at San Fabian 2-7 November, transported cavalrymen from Vigan to Lingayen, conveyed dispatches, received surrendered arms and carried stores to the Marines at Subic Bay. Princeton took formal possession of the Babuyan and the Batan Islands 10-13 January 1900 and continued to patrol off Luzon 10 February. Princeton was later station ship at Iloilo and Cebu 5 March21 June.
At the time of the Boxer Rebellion Princeton cruised in Chinese waters (26 June-29 November) between Hong Kong and Woosung where she received a draft of men from Buffalo 9 August. She returned 4 December to operations in the Philippines, principally in the Sulu Archipelago, and remained on duty there until 20 July 1902. Princeton was stationed at Cavite beginning 23 July and called at Uraga, Japan (9 October-18 December). While at Cavite she participated in large-scale maneuvers off the Philippines (29 December-3 February 1903). Afterwards Princeton acted as a survey ship. (13 February-5 April) at Malabug Bay, Zamboanga and Dumanquilas Bay until she departed 13 April for California. Princeton decommissioned 12 June 1903 at Mare Island Navy Yard.
Princeton recommissioned 12 May 1905 at Mare Island Navy Yard and was attached to the Pacific Squadron. She left 4 June for duty as station ship at Panama City, where she remained until 24 October. On 2 December 1905 Princeton returned to Mare Island Navy Yard and began cruising off the Pacific coast from San Diego to Esquimalt, British Columbia. She escorted Rear Admiral C. J. Train-s remains from Vancouver to Seattle (22-24 August), assisted Boston (6-9 December) which was aground off Bellingham, Wash., and accompanied California 10-22 September on her sea trials off Washington. Princeton remained on station off the West coast until directed to rejoin the Pacific Squadron 3 January 1907 at Magdalena Bay, Mexico.
Princeton proceeded to Corinto, Nicaragua, arriving 17 March for the purpose of protecting American interests there. She transported troops from Ampala, Honduras to La Union, (12 April) and brought General Bonilla back to Salina Cruz, Mexico (13 April). She returned to San Diego 30 May and decommissioned 3 July 1907 at Bremerton, Wash.
Princeton recommissioned 5 November 1909 at Bremerton and sailed 28 November for Central America for duty with the Nicaraguan Expeditionary Squadron. From 20 December until 21 March 1911 she showed the flag in this area, operating between San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua and La Union, El Salvador. She returned to Puget Sound Navy Yard 20 June 1911 for repairs and alterations. From late 1911 until 1915 she was used as a station ship at Tutuila, American Samoa.
Returning to San Francisco 18 September 1915, Princeton decommissioned and was laid up until 20 February 1917 when she proceeded to Puget Sound for repairs. She commissioned in ordinary there 16 January 1918 for use as a training ship at Seattle from 9 May 1918 to 25 April 1919 when she decommissioned.
Princeton was struck from the Navy List 23 June 1919 and sold to Farrell, Kane and Stratton, Seattle, Wash. 13 November 1919.