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USS Iroquois (1898-1928)
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Class: IROQUOIS (AT-46)
Design: Tug, 1891
Displacement (tons): 400 gross, 702 displ.
Dimensions (feet): 152.0' oa, 145.0 wl/pp. x 26.0' x 12.2' mn
Original Armament: 4-3" BLR (light), 2-37mm (Jul 1898)
Later armaments: none (Aug 1898);
2-3pdr (1918); none (1920)
Complement: 42 (1924)
Speed (kts.): 13.25
Propulsion (HP): 1,000
Machinery: Vert. triple expansion, 1 screw
||18 Apr 98
||Union IW, San Francisco
||7 Nov 91
||6 Jul 98
||7 Mar 25
||14 Oct 27
||15 May 28
In February 1892 the Union Iron Works of San Francisco delivered the large tug FEARLESS to the J. D. Spreckels & Bros. Co., also of San Francisco. 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, but in late March it was ordered to secure tugs and yachts as well. On 13 Apr 98 the San Francisco press reported that FEARLESS, "the largest tugboat that flies the American flag," and the smaller Spreckels tugs ACTIVE and VIGILANT had been sold to the Government and ordered turned over to the Navy on the previous day for conversion at Mare Island as part of the auxiliary fleet. FEARLESS was then on her way back from a 2,100 mile tow to Dutch Harbor, Alaska. She was purchased for $150,000 and was renamed IROQUOIS by the Navy. The three tugs were to be fitted with several 6pdr guns each and IROQUOIS was possibly also to receive torpedo tubes. They were to be used as patrol boats as part of the West Coast's defenses against Spanish privateers, functioning as skirmish boats for the regular fleet and as dispatch vessels. The torpedo tubes were an idea of Secretary of the Navy Long that by the end of March had been abandoned as impractical on tugs.
IROQUOIS first served as the station tug at the Mare Island Navy Yard and then, between 1899 and 1910, as station tug, mail boat, and surveying ship in the Hawaiian Islands, operating as far as Midway Island. She returned to Mare Island in 1910 and was converted to oil burning in around 1911. After service along the California coast she steamed to New York in early 1918 for service as a wartime tug and convoy escort. Returning to the West Coast in 1919, she served out of San Diego until decommissioned in 1925. She was designated AT-46 when the Navy's standard hull classification scheme was implemented on 17 Jul 20. On 21 Oct 27 she was ordered sold. After interwar commercial service, she was acquired by the Army during World War II as its large tug LT-461.
||Ex merc. FEARLESS (completed Feb 92). Sold to Benjamin L Jones of Bellingham, Wash., for $36,000. Merc. IROQUOIS 1928, Army LT-461 1942, scrapped 1952.
Compiled: 19 Feb 2013
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2013