S.S. Wartburg, a 5586 gross ton (10,475 tons displacement) freighter, was built at Newcastle, England, in 1900. Prior to World War I she operated commercially under the German flag, with her name being changed to Tübingen in 1906-1907. When the outbreak of World War I in August 1914 made the high seas unsafe for German shipping, she took refuge in an American port and was seized when the United States entered the conflict in April 1917. Renamed Seneca, she was part of the U.S. merchant marine until February 1918, when she was acquired by the Navy and placed in commission as USS Wabash (ID # 1824). The ship made her first voyage as a unit of the Naval Overseas Transportation Service in February-April, steaming from the U.S. to France and back. During her second such trip, while in convoy on the foggy night of 22 May 1918, Wabash collided with the U.S. Navy patrol vessel Wakiva (SP-160), sinking her. During the rest of the First World War, and in the months following the 11 November 1918 Armistice, she completed three more round-trip Atlantic crossings. USS Wabash was decommissioned in April 1919 and returned to the U.S. Shipping Board. Subsequently, she operated commercially under the U.S. flag until the mid-1920s, when she was transferred to Italian registry.
This page features all available views concerning the freighter Seneca of 1900, which was USS Wabash (ID # 1824) in 1918-1919.
Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.
Photo #: NH 89796
S.S. Seneca (American Freighter, 1900)
In port, circa 1917.
While in pre-World War I commercial service under the German flag, this ship was named Wartburg and Tübingen. She was seized by the U.S. Government in April 1917 and renamed Seneca. Between February 1918 and April 1919 she served as USS Wabash (ID # 1824).
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 51KB; 740 x 435 pixels
Page made 31 January 2006