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USS Chesapeake
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Class:        CHESAPEAKE (later SEVERN)
Design:        Sail training ship, 1899
Displacement (tons):        1,175 displ., 1,324 full
Dimensions (feet):        224.25' oa, 175.0' wl x 37.0' x 16.5' mn
Original Armament:        6-4"/40 4-6pdr 2-1pdr
Later armaments:        none (1911)
Complement:        256
Speed (kts.):        11
Propulsion (HP):        --
Machinery:        Sails, ship rig

AG Name Ord. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
-- CHESAPEAKE 16 Mar 98 Bath IW 2 Aug 98 20 Jun 99 3 Dec 99

AG Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
-- CHESAPEAKE 3 Oct 16 12 Oct 16 7 Dec 16 Sold --

Class Notes:
FY 1898 (Acts of 3 Mar 97 and 19 Jul 97). In the late 1890s the Navy was using the old sloop MONONGAHELA as practice ship at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. This ship had been launched in 1862 and, with training in sail regarded as an essential part of the Academy curriculum, the Navy obtained funds from Congress in 1897 for a dedicated replacement. The new ship had a steel hull sheathed in 4-inch Georgia pine (the first sheathed vessel built in the U.S.) and a full ship rig.

Although she had no mechanical propulsion, CHESAPEAKE had a small boiler room 16 feet long by 14.5 feet wide containing two single-ended Scotch boilers, a condenser and several pumps. Her auxiliary machinery included a steam capstain windlass, two generators, an evaporator and distillers, and a refrigerating room with an ice machine. The ship's steering gear was manually operated. Her bunkers held 24 tons of coal. Although some of her equipment, notably the windlass and steering gear, were found too weak in service, a report dated 30 Aug 1900 stated that "The ship is a fine sailing vessel; speedy, handy in working to windward and, so far as has been observed, easy in a seaway. The CHESAPEAKE has done 11 knots, practically on the wind, all sails set to royals, heel 14 degrees." Her crew as of 1900 consisted of 15 officers, 98 men, and 122 cadets.

Preliminary acceptance took place on 22 Jul 99 at the Boston Navy Yard, which fabricated the ship's spars, boats, outfit, and furniture.
The ship was placed in commission on 3 Dec 99. After a few years she was recommissioned for each summer training season, on 1 May 05, 4 Jun 06, 10 Jun 07, 2 Jan 08, and 24 Feb 09. CHESAPEAKE was renamed SEVERN 15 Jun 05 at the suggestion of Captain Seaton Schroeder, but the correspondence containing the reason for the change had disappeared from the files of the Bureau of Navigation by 1938.

Released from Academy training duty, SEVERN on 15 Feb 10 was ordered refitted as a submarine tender. On completion of that work she was recommissioned on 18 May 10 as the tender for the Submarine Division (later the 3rd Submarine Division), Atlantic Torpedo Fleet. For the next three years, she performed tender duties off New England during the summer and in Chesapeake Bay during the winter, her movements being accomplished under tow. Decommissioned a third time for overhaul after summer maneuvers in 1913, SEVERN was recommissioned on 15 Nov 13 and transferred to the Panama Canal Zone. She arrived at Coco Solo on 12 Dec 13 and served as tender to the 1st Submarine Division into July 1916. By then rated as "unserviceable," she was ordered back to the United States and arrived at Norfolk, under tow by the collier NEREUS, on 1 Aug 16.

SEVERN was decommissioned on 3 Oct 16 and was sold to F. G. McDonald of Ardmore, Pa., on 7 Dec 16 for $41,025. In 1918 she was registered as the iron 4-masted bark JOHN J. PHILLIPS, 968 gross tons, owned by A. D. Cummins & Co. She was scrapped in the third quarter of 1934.

Ship Notes:
AG Name Notes
-- CHESAPEAKE Sold to F. G. McDonald of Ardmore, Pa. Merc. JOHN J. PHILLIPS 1918, scrapped 1934.

Page Notes:
AG        1899
Compiled:        01 Jan 2013
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2013