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USS City of Peking on 25 May 1898
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Class:        CITY OF PEKING
Design:        Passenger & Cargo, 1874
Displacement (tons):        5,080 gross
Dimensions (feet):        423.0' oa, 408.0' pp x 48.0' x 24.0' mn
Original Armament:        2-3pdr (1898)
Later armaments:        --
Complement:        --
Speed (kts.):        14
Propulsion (HP):        --
Machinery:        Vert. compound, 1 screw

AP Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
-- CITY OF PEKING 1 May 98 John Roach & Sons SB -- 18 Mar 74 10 May 98

AP Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
-- CITY OF PEKING 1 Sep 98 -- 1 Sep 98 RTO --

Class Notes:
In March 1874 the Delaware River Iron Ship Building and Engine Works at Chester, Pa., owned by John Roach, launched the large iron-hulled propeller-driven steamer CITY OF PEKING (rendered as CITY OF PEKIN in some Navy records), for the Pacific Mail Steamship Co. She was the first ship of this type built for this line and, at the time of her launch, was the largest ocean steamer afloat after the GREAT EASTERN. Her sister, CITY OF TOKIO, was launched a month later.

CITY OF PEKING was chartered on 1 May 98 from the Pacific Mail S.S. Co. at $1,000 a day for the transportation of supplies from San Francisco to Manila as part of the first wave of reinforcements for Dewey's forces in Manila Bay. She was commissioned on 10 May 98 at San Francisco with ten naval officers assigned, including a Commander in command. She departed San Francisco on 25 May with two smaller chartered Pacific Mail steamers, CITY OF SYDNEY and AUSTRALIA, the latter ships having naval officers on board in an advisory capacity (as opposed to command). The ships, carrying the first detachment of Army troops to Manila (2,500 men), arrived at Honolulu on 1 June. (A Library of Congress video of the two smaller ships leaving San Francisco is on YouTube.) At Honolulu the transports joined the cruiser CHARLESTON, to which CITY OF PEKING delivered sealed orders from the Secretary of the Navy to seize the Spanish island of Guam on the way to Manila. The little convoy arrived off San Louis d'Apra, Guam on 20 June and CHARLESTON took possession of the island. The ships then arrived at Manila on 30 June and landed their troops. CITY OF PEKING continued on to Nagasaki, Japan, on 4 August, and returned to San Francisco on 22 August. The charter ceased and the ship was placed out of commission on 1 Sep 98. Three other Army expeditions to Manila followed during the summer of 1898. Dewey needed the troops to take possession of the city of Manila, which his naval forces were too weak to hold.

S.S. CITY OF PEKING collided with the old Japanese corvette AMAGI in the Kii Channel in 1899. She was laid up at San Francisco in 1908 and was broken up in 1910.

Ship Notes:
AP Name Notes
-- CITY OF PEKING Ex merc. CITY OF PEKING (completed Aug 74). Chartered for Navy operation from 1 May 98 to 1 Sep 98. Scrapped 1910.

Page Notes:
AP        1898
Compiled:        01 Jan 2013
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2013