Quick Links Menu.
USS Lebanon in October 1912
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.
Class: LEBANON (AG-2)
Design Cargo, 1894
Displacement (tons): 3,285 normal
Dimensions (feet): 259.5' oa, 249.0' pp x 37.3' wl x 17.25' mn
Original Armament: 2-6pdr (1898)
Later armaments: none (1900);
4-6pdr (ca. 1915);
Complement 102 (1920)
Speed (kts.): 8.5
Propulsion (HP): 1,000
Machinery: Vertical triple expansion, 1 screw
||6 Apr 98
||William Cramp & Sons
||29 Sep 94
||16 Apr 98
||6 Feb 22
||2 Jun 22
In 1894 William Cramp & Sons built the iron-hulled collier LEBANON for the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Co. of Philadelphia. In addition to hauling coal on its rail lines the Philadelphia & Reading had a fleet of seven steam colliers, 36 schooner-rigged sea barges, three strong seagoing tugs, and 20 smaller craft that moved coal up and down the East Coast. For a tug that was once in this service see ESSELEN (AT-147).
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. On 5 Apr 98 the New York Times reported that "the powerful seagoing iron tug SATURN was purchased yesterday from the Boston Towboat Co. and taken to the [New York] Navy Yard, where she will be converted into a collier. The big steam tug LEBANON was also purchased from the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad, to be used as a collier." The Times noted that the LEBANON was considerably smaller than the SATURN but was a powerful boat. Four days later the Times reported that "it has been an almost impossible task to find vessels in this port suitable for colliers, as an investigation has shown that the old style of coal-carrying steamships has almost disappeared, having been superseded by barges. These barges can be moved about by powerful ocean-going tugs, and are left at the wharves to be loaded or unloaded while the tugs take away other barges. Hence the former colliers have been put into the tramp or oil-carrying business. After a three weeks' search the board has only secured two suitable ships for this purpose--the SATURN and the LEBANON." The Navy soon turned to the old-style tramps, and ultimately LEBANON was the second of twenty cargo ships acquired by the Navy for use as colliers between early April and late July 1898.
A Boston newspaper's account of LEBANON's conversion dated 9 Apr 98 stated that she was to be given four six-pounder rapid fire guns, two on the forward deck and two aft, which would enable her to make a good fight if attacked by any light powered war vessels. However there were no 6-pounders at Charleston, where she was being converted, and the guns would have to be sent from New York or Washington -- ultimately she only got two. The conversion was also to include putting in a berth deck and quarters for a crew of 45 or 50 men. LEBANON arrived off the Cuban coast in early June 1898 and provided coal to U.S. naval forces there. After additional operations in the Caribbean and along the Atlantic coast she decommissioned at the Norfolk Navy Yard in April 1899.
LEBANON arrived off the Cuban coast in early June 1898 and provided coal to U.S. naval forces there. After additional operations in the Caribbean and along the Atlantic coast she decommissioned at the Norfolk Navy Yard in April 1899. Placed back into commission at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in August 1905, LEBANON again operated as a collier along the East Coast and in the Caribbean until decommissioned at Norfolk in October 1909. During this period she was manned by a Naval Auxiliary Service merchant marine crew.
Placed back into commission at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in August 1905, LEBANON again operated as a collier along the East Coast and in the Caribbean until decommissioned at Norfolk in October 1909. During this period she was manned by a Naval Auxiliary Service merchant marine crew. When LEBANON was recommissioned in July 1911 she was assigned a new role, supporting the Atlantic Fleet's gunnery training. After transporting ammunition between East Coast ports during 1911, she participated the Fleet's 1912 Caribbean winter maneuvers, towing gunnery targets during battle practices and repairing the targets between exercises. LEBANON's primary duty continued to be target towing and repair through and after World War I, although she was also occasionally used as an ammunition transport and as a tender. She was designated AG-2 when the Navy's standard hull classification scheme was implemented on 17 Jul 20.
On 2 Nov 21 CNO directed the Commandant, 3rd Naval District, to place the newly-acquired PROCYON (AG-11) in commission at the New York Navy Yard as the relief for LEBANON (AG-2). LEBANON was to be directed to proceed to the New York Navy Yard to effect this relief. On 26 Nov 21 CNO noted that PROCYON would relieve LEBANON and would be ready to sail by 1 Feb 22. The Navy Department placed LEBANON on the sale list on 21 Nov 21 and she was decommissioned in February 1922 and sold in June 1922. SecNav directed on 13 Mar 22 that LEBANON would be considered as being stricken from the Navy Register as of the date she was actually disposed of by sale. She returned to merchant service as S.S. TABOGA in 1922, was renamed HOMESTEAD in 1926, and foundered in Humber Arm, Newfoundland, in July 1932.
||Ex merc. LEBANON (completed Oct 94). Sold to N. F. Dillon of New York and delivered to buyer on 14 Jun 22. Merc. TABOGA 1922, HOMESTEAD 1926, foundered in Humber Arm, Newfoundland, on 26 Jul 32.
Compiled: 06 Oct 2012
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2012