USS Charleston (C-22)

USS Charleston (C-22)

The third USS "Charleston" (C-22) (later CA-19) was a United States Navy "St. Louis"-class protected cruiser. She was launched 23 January 1904 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Virginia, sponsored by Miss H. Rhett, and commissioned 17 October 1905, Captain Cameron McRae Winslow in command. She was reclassified CA-19 on 17 July 1920.

Service history

Pre-war

"Charleston" cruised to South American ports in the summer of 1906 with Secretary of State Elihu Root on board for good-will visits, and after disembarking the official party at Panama in September, returned to the west coast for overhaul. She cleared San Francisco 6 December 1906 to begin service with the Pacific Squadron, sailing along the west coast from Magdalena Bay, Mexico, to Esquimalt, British Columbia, on exercises and fleet maneuvers until 10 June 1908, when she entered the Puget Sound Navy Yard to prepare for the long passage to the Asiatic Station.

Leaving Puget Sound 28 October 1908, "Charleston" served in the Far East until 11 September 1910, first as flagship of 3rd Squadron, Pacific Fleet, and later, as flagship of the Asiatic Fleet. Based on Cavite, Philippines in the winter, the Fleet moved north each summer to Chefoo, China, to continue exercises and visits to ports of China, Japan, Manchuria, and Russia, presenting a powerful reminder of American interest in the Far East. Returning to Bremerton, Washington, "Charleston" was decommissioned 8 October 1910 at Puget Sound Navy Yard.

Placed in commission in reserve 14 September 1912, "Charleston" joined the Pacific Reserve Fleet, remaining at Puget Sound Navy Yard as a receiving ship through early 1916, aside from a voyage to San Francisco in October 1913 as flagship for the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Reserve Fleet. From 1912 through early 1916, she was receiving ship at the yard. With a new assignment as tender for the submarines based in the Panama Canal Zone, "Charleston" arrived at Cristobal, C.Z., 7 May 1916, for a year of operations with submarines, reconnaissance of anchorages, and gunnery exercises.

World War I

On the day of America's entry into World War I, 6 April 1917, "Charleston" was placed in full commission, and early in May reported for duty with the Patrol Force in the Caribbean. Based on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, she patrolled for commerce raiders through the month of May, then sailed north carrying Marines from Haiti to Philadelphia.

Here she readied to join the escort of the convoy carrying the first troops of the American Expeditionary Force to France, which cleared New York 14 June 1917, made St. Nazaire, France, after a safe passage through submarine waters 28 June, and returned to New York 19 July. After training naval volunteers and reserves for 2 weeks at Newport, "Charleston" cleared 16 August for Havana, Cuba, where she supervised the sailing in tow of several former German ships to New Orleans. She next escorted a convoy from Cristobal to Bermuda, where she rendezvoused with a group of British transports, guarding their passage to Hampton Roads.

In September and October 1918, she made two convoy escort voyages to Nova Scotia, then joined the Cruiser and Transport Force, with which she made five voyages to France carrying occupation troops overseas and returning with combat veterans.

Decommissioning and fate

"Charleston" sailed from Philadelphia for the west coast 23 July 1919, reaching Bremerton 24 August. Here she was placed in reduced commission until late in 1920, when she arrived in San Diego to serve as administrative flagship for Commander, Destroyer Squadrons, Pacific Fleet. She served on this duty until 4 June 1923, when she sailed for Puget Sound Navy Yard and decommissioning on 4 December 1923. She was sold 6 March 1930.

"Charleston" was stripped down to the waterline and then sold to the Powell River Company, Ltd. On 25 October 1930, the ship was towed to Powell River, British Columbia, Canada, to serve as a floating breakwater for a large logging mill. The hulk was ballasted, anchored and periodically pumped out to keep her afloat. The following year, she was joined by the hull of the cruiser USS Huron (formerly USS South Dakota). In 1961, heavy weather caused the "Charleston" to partially flood, and her hull was towed to Kelsey Bay, on the north coast of Vancouver Island. The hulk was run ashore to serve as a breakwater, where she can be seen to this day. [http://freepages.military.rootsweb.com/~cacunithistories/USS_Charleston.html]

See also

* See USS "Charleston" for other ships of the same name.


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