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USS Brutus a few years before World War I
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Class:        BRUTUS (AC-15)
Design        Cargo, 1894
Displacement (tons):        2,000 light, 6,550 max
Dimensions (feet):        332.5' oa, 321.5' pp x 41.5' wl x 22.9' max
Original Armament:        2-6pdr (1898)
Later armaments:        1-6pdr (1902);
none (1911);
4-6pdr (1916/17)
Complement        95 (1920)
Speed (kts.):        10
Propulsion (HP):        1,200
Machinery:        Vertical triple expansion, 1 screw

AC Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
15 BRUTUS 3 Jun 98 J. Readhead & Sons -- Feb 94 27 May 98

AC Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
15 BRUTUS 17 Aug 21 -- 29 Jul 22 Sold --

Class Notes:
PETER JEBSEN, a part awning deck cargo ship, was built by John Readhead & Sons, South Shields, England in 1894 for Bergh & Helland of Bergen, Norway. She traded under the Norwegian flag.

On 12 Mar 98 the U.S. Secretary of the Navy appointed a Naval Board on Auxiliary Cruisers to select and purchase civilian vessels for Navy use in the impending war with Spain. The Board initially focused on potential auxiliary cruisers and on tugs and yachts, but in early April the Navy Department ordered it to secure additions to the Navy's fleet of colliers. Between 2 Apr 98 (SATURN) and 30 Jun 98 (NERO) the Navy acquired twenty cargo ships for use as colliers. Navy authorities at San Francisco negotiated the purchase of the ship from L. F. Chapman & Co. (possibly an intermediary), probably during a port call there, and the Navy commissioned her as BRUTUS on 27 May 98 at the Mare Island Navy Yard. The final purchase documents were dated 3 Jun 98. The Navy rated her cargo coal capacity as 4,850 tons.

BRUTUS began her Navy career by towing the monitor MONTEREY (Monitor No. 6) from San Diego, Calif., to Manila Bay in the Philippines between June and August 1898. Except for brief periods out of commission between cruises she was in continual use during the next two decades carrying Navy cargoes all over the world. From 1903 to 1917 she was manned by a merchant marine crew, initially made up of Chinese nationals. Between December 1905 and July 1906 BRUTUS, CAESAR, GLACIER, and the tug POTOMAC towed the DEWEY drydock from Chesapeake Bay to Manila. On 24 Apr 17 she ran aground on Cerros Island near San Diego in a heavy fog. Refloated ten days later, she was repaired at the Mare Island Navy Yard. BRUTUS was designated AC-15 when the Navy's standard hull classification scheme was implemented on 17 Jul 20. The Navy Department placed her on the sale list on 28 Mar 22.

Ship Notes:
AC Name Notes
15 BRUTUS Ex merc. PETER JEBSEN (completed Mar 94). Sold to A. Bercovich & Co. of Oakland, Cal., and scrapped there in 1922.

Page Notes:
AC        1898
Compiled:        06 Oct 2012
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2012