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USS Genesee (SP-1116) at Queenstown, Ireland, in 1918
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Class:        CONESTOGA (AT-54)
Design:        Tug, 1903
Displacement (tons):        617 gross, 1,000 displ.
Dimensions (feet):        170.0' oa, 158.0 reg x 29.0' x 16.0' mn
Original Armament:        1-3"/50 (both)
Later armaments:        2-3"/50 (1918: AT-55); none (1920: AT-55);
1-3"/23 (ca. 1941: AT-55)
Complement:        30 (1920: AT-54)
Speed (kts.):        15
Propulsion (HP):        1,000
Machinery:        Vert. triple expansion, 1 screw

AT Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
54 CONESTOGA 14 Sep 17 Maryland Steel -- 18 Mar 03 10 Nov 17
55 GENESEE 27 Jul 17 Maryland Steel -- 19 Jul 05 10 Nov 17

AT Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
54 CONESTOGA -- 30 Jun 21 30 Jun 21 Lost --
55 GENESEE -- 24 Jul 42 5 May 42 Lost --

Class Notes:
In 1917 the Philadelphia and Reading Transportation Line of Philadelphia, a subsidiary of the Philadelphia and Reading Rail Road Co., was operating 11 large 158-foot (pp) seagoing tugs built between 1896 and 1912. Of these the newest except one were CONESTOGA and MONOCACY, built to the same design by the Maryland Steel Co. in 1904-1905. They had been preceded by a trio including LYKENS (see AT-56) built by Neafie & Levy in 1899-1901 and another trio including CATAWISSA (see AT-147) built by Harlan & Hollingsworth in 1896-1898. These tugs were used to tow coal barges between Philadelphia (Port Richmond) and points on the East Coast, particularly in New England.

On 14 Aug 17 the Secretary of the Navy informed the Philadelphia and Reading Transportation Line that, by virtue of authority granted in the Naval Deficiency Act of 15 June 1917, its tugs LYKENS (SP-876), MONOCACY (SP-1116), and CONESTOGA (SP-1128) would be acquired by the Navy. The Navy paid $315,000 each for CONESTOGA and MONOCACY. Preliminary acceptance of MONOCACY took place on 25 Sep 17 and she was renamed GENESEE by General Order No. 334 of 30 Oct 17. Both were assigned to distant service during World War I. CONESTOGA was assigned to convoy duties between the United States and the Azores during 1918-1919 while GENESEE served at Queenstown, Ireland in 1918 and operated in the Azores, at Brest, France, and in the Mediterranean in 1919.

CONESTOGA and GENESEE were designated AT-54 and AT-55 respectively when the Navy's standard hull classification scheme was implemented on 17 Jul 20. CONESTOGA left San Francisco for Pearl Harbor enroute Samoa for duty as station tug there on 25 Mar 21 but nothing was heard from her after her departure. Intensive surface and air searches between 2 and 13 May failed to find her. The Secretary of the Navy declared her lost as of 30 Jun 21 and she was decommissioned and stricken as of that date. On 7 Sep 20 GENESEE arrived at the Cavite Navy Yard for permanent duty on the Asiatic Station. She provided a wide variety of services to the Asiatic Fleet until she was scuttled off Corregidor on 5 May 42 to avoid capture. She was salvaged by the Japanese in 1943-44 and put into service as a patrol boat only to be sunk by U.S. carrier aircraft later in 1944.

Navy records show the same specifications for these two tugs except that the displacement of CONESTOGA is listed as 1,200 tons and her speed is shown as 13 knots. The crew of GENESEE in 1929 was 42 men. CONESTOGA still had her 3" gun when she was lost in 1921.

Ship Notes:
AT Name Notes
54 CONESTOGA Ex merc. CONESTOGA (SP-1128, completed Feb 04). Missing after 25 Mar 21 on voyage from San Francisco to Pearl Harbor and Samoa
55 GENESEE Ex merc. MONOCACY (SP-1116, completed Sep 05). Scuttled off Corregidor. Salvaged by Japanese, reclassified PATROL VESSEL No. 107 on 20 Apr 44. Sunk 5 Nov 44 by U.S. Navy aircraft off Corregidor, stk. by Japanese 10 Jan 45.

Page Notes:
AT        1917
Compiled:        19 Feb 2013
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2013