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Tecumseh II (Tug)


The second Tecumseh was also named to honor the prominent Native American of the Shawnee tribe. See Tecumseh I for complete biography.


(Tug: displacement 214; length 100'9" (overall); beam 21'0"; draft 8'2" (mean); speed 11.0 knots; complement 15; armament 1 1-pounder, 1 Gatling)

Edward Luckenbach, a steel-hulled, single-screw tug laid down 1891 by J. H. Dialogue & Son at Camden, N.J., and completed in 1896, was acquired by the Navy from L. Luckenbach & the spring of 1898; renamed Tecumseh; and placed in commission at New York City on 6 April 1898, Lt. George R. Evans in command.

Six days after her commissioning, Tecumseh headed south to join in the war against Spain. After stops at Norfolk, Va., Charleston, S.C., and Key West, Fla., she joined the North Atlantic Fleet’s blockade of Cuba on 26 April 1898. Thereafter, she made frequent shuttles between Key West and the area off Havana.

Tecumseh came close to action only once during her four months of service in Cuban waters. On 5 May 1898, she was nearby when Vicksburg (Gunboat No. 11) captured the Spanish fishing schooner Oriente in the Gulf of Campeche. The end of hostilities that summer brought the tug north once more. She reached Hampton Roads on 21 August and, after a period of operations between Norfolk and Hampton Roads, was placed out of commission on 17 September 1898.

Tecumseh was placed back in commission in 1899 and, by 30 June, was assigned to the Washington Navy Yard as a district tug. The Nation’s Capital remained her duty station for over four decades. She made frequent trips up and down the Potomac River, most often between the navy yard and the proving grounds at Indian Head, Md. She also visited Norfolk from time to time.

During that period, Tecumseh was twice out of commission. No decommissioning date for the first period exists, but it must have been brief since the annual reports of the Secretary of the Navy for both 1910 and 1911 indicate that she was active at the Washington Navy Yard. In any case, she was commissioned on 1 July 1911. A sad highlight to her tour of duty was transporting ambulatory sailors and marines—who had been hurt when Memphis (Armored Cruiser No. 10) had been wrecked in a Tsunami at Santo Domingo on 29 August 1916—to the Washington Navy Yard from Solace (Hospital Ship No.2) upon their return.

Tecumseh’s second decommissioning was probably a result of her sinking which occurred at her wharf in Washington about daybreak on 22 October 1919. In any event, she was decommissioned once again on 1 April 1920. On 17 July 1920, when the Navy adopted its alphanumeric system of hull designations, Tecumseh was classified as a harbor tug, YT-24.

The tug was raised, refitted, and, sometime between July 1921 and January 1922, was placed back in commission at Washington where she served through the 1920's and 1930's. In mid-1940, Tecumseh was reassigned to the Fifth Naval District.

On 5 October 1942, her name was cancelled so that it could be assigned to the harbor tug YT-273. However, she continued to serve, known only by her hull designation, YT-24. On 15 May 1944, she was re-designated as a medium harbor tug, YTM-24. Sometime between 15 April 1945 and 25 January 1946, she was decommissioned and stricken from the Navy Register. On 22 August 1946, she was transferred to the Maritime Commission for disposal.

The Victory Towing Co. of New Orleans, La., however, acquired the vessel in 1947, and she resumed operations under her original name, Edward Luckenbach. She retained that name when purchased by E.N. Bisso & Son, also of New Orleans, in 1951. Ultimately, she was out of documentation in the 1980s.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

21 July 2022 

Published: Thu Jul 21 15:47:12 EDT 2022