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USS Resolute on 12 May 1898
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Design: Passenger & cargo, 1894
Displacement (tons): 2,898 gross, 3,894 displ.
Dimensions (feet): 309.7' pp x 40.0' x 18.0' mn
Original Armament: 4-6pdr (1898)
Later armaments: --
Complement: 87 (1898)
Speed (kts.): 16
Propulsion (HP): 3,000
Machinery: Vert. triple expansion, 1 screw
||21 Apr 98
||Delaware River Iron SB&E
||10 Feb 94
||11 May 98
||15 Dec 99
||22 Jan 00
In February 1894 the Delaware River Iron Ship Building and Engine Works at Chester, Pa., launched the coastal passenger ship YORKTOWN for the Old Dominion Steamship Co. Her sister JAMESTOWN had been launched there in December 1893. The ships operated between New York and Norfolk. They were followed by the PRINCESS ANNE in 1897 and the HAMILTON and JEFFERSON in 1899.
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. On 4 Apr 98 the Navy Department directed the Board to select at once ten vessels for auxiliary cruisers, and late in the same day the Board reported to Washington that it had made arrangements for the purchase of ten steamers including the YORKTOWN, JAMESTOWN, and PRINCESS ANNE of the Old Dominion Line. The ships were to be sent to the New York and Norfolk Navy Yards for immediate conversion into cruisers, and if the work could not be done there within a few days some of them would be taken in hand by private shipbuilding firms. Arrangements to purchase these three ships initially fell through, but on 15 Apr 98 the Navy Department ordered the purchase of YORKTOWN. YORKTOWN and JAMESTOWN had first been inspected for possible Navy wartime use in October 1897.
JAMESTOWN was sold to the Navy by the Old Dominion Steamship Co. and was converted to the transport RESOLUTE at the Morgan Iron Works at New York. A distilling plant with a capacity of 90 barrels a day was being erected on the ship in mid-May 1898. She completed conversion near the end of that month. In Cuban waters from May to August 1898 she served primarily as a scout and shifted to transport duty after the end of the fighting. From May to September 1899 RESOLUTE supported the steam trials of the new battleship KEARSARGE at Portsmouth, N.H., and was then decommissioned at the League Island (Philadelphia) Navy Yard on 15 Dec 99. She was transferred to the War Department on 22 Jan 00 and became the Army transport RAWLINS. The Army sold her into merchant service in 1902 and she was destroyed by fire under the name SENECA at the end of 1927.
||Ex merc. YORKTOWN (completed May 94). USAT RAWLINS 1900. Merc. POWHATAN 1902, CUBA 1920, SENECA 1925. Burned at Hoboken on 30 Dec 27, refloated 2 Sep 28, and scrapped at Baltimore in 1929.
Compiled: 01 Jan 2013
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2013