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USS Badger in 1898 or 1899
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Class: BADGER (later LAWTON)
Design: Passenger & Cargo, 1889
Displacement (tons): 3,497 gross, 4,784 displ.
Dimensions (feet): 329.6' pp x 43.2' x 18.5' mn
Original Armament: 6-5"/40 6-3pdr (1898)
Later armaments: none (1903);
Speed (kts.): 16
Propulsion (HP): 3,200
Machinery: Vert. inverted triple expansion, 1 screw
||19 Apr 98
||Delaware River Iron SB&E
||12 Oct 89
||22 Apr 98
||17 Nov 06
||24 Apr 07
In October 1889 the Delaware River Iron Ship Building and Engine Works at Chester, Pa., launched the passenger & cargo steamer YUMURI for the Ward Line. She had two sisters, ORIZABA and YUCATAN. The ships ran between New York, Cuba (Havana), Mexico (Vera Cruz), and other Caribbean ports. They were partially funded by mail subsidies from the U.S. Government, in return for which they were to be suitable for use as naval auxiliary cruisers in the event of war. YUMURI suffered a serious fire in June 1895, but was refitted.
On 12 Mar 98 the Secretary of the Navy appointed a Naval Board on Auxiliary Cruisers to select civilian vessels for Navy use in the impending war with Spain. The Board initially focused mainly on potential auxiliary cruisers and on tugs and yachts, and on 14 Mar 98 it inspected four Ward Line steamers including YUMURI. The Navy Department on 4 Apr 98 directed the Board to select at once ten vessels for auxiliary cruisers, and on 15 Apr 98 the Navy Department ordered the purchase of YUMURI after some of the vessels selected proved to be unavailable.
YUMURI was sold to the Navy for $367,000 by the Ward Line Steamship Co., renamed BADGER, and converted to an auxiliary cruiser by the Morgan Iron Works at New York. She served in the North Atlantic Fleet during the Spanish American War, primarily on blockade duty. On 1 Feb 99 she departed Hampton Roads for the Pacific Station. After carrying out a diplomatic mission to Samoa she was decommissioned at Mare Island on 31 Oct 99. The ship was stricken on 23 Mar 00 and transferred on 7 Apr 00 to the Army, which renamed her LAWTON.
The Navy received LAWTON back from the Army on 12 Nov 02 and put her to use as a receiving ship in 1903. She was commissioned at Mare Island on 18 Apr 05 and during the next year and a half made four voyages from San Francisco to the Far East, primarily with supplies and personnel for U.S. forces in the Philippines. LAWTON was decommissioned at San Francisco on 17 Nov 06 and was stricken and ordered to be sold on 24 Apr 07. LAWTON was sold to the Pacific Mail S.S. Co. in 1907. In 1909 the San Francisco and Portland Steamship Co. converted LAWTON to an oil burner, named her ROSE CITY, and put her in service between Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Portland, operating alongside their new BEAR and BEAVER. The ship eventually passed to various other West Coast companies and was cut down to a barge in 1930.
||Ex merc. YUMURI (completed Jan 90). USAT LAWTON 1900, USS LAWTON 1902. Merc. ROSE CITY 1907, cut down to barge 1930.
Compiled: 01 Jan 2013
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2013