USS Dolphin (PG-24)

USS Dolphin (PG-24)

USS "Dolphin" (PG-24), an unarmored cruiser, was the fourth shipof the United States Navy to be named for the dolphin, a gregarious aquatic mammal having a pointed muzzle, and found in most oceans; also, a swift, spiny-finned fish having a long dorsal fin and iridescent body, and found throughout warm seas.

"Dolphin"'s keel was laid down by John Roach & Sons of Chester, Pennsylvania. She was launched on 12 April 1884, and commissioned on 8 December 1885 with Captain R. W. Meade in command.

The first of the vessels of the "New Navy" to be completed, Dolphin was assigned to the North Atlantic Station, cruising along the eastern seaboard until February 1886. She then sailed around South America on her way to the Pacific Station for duty.

She visited ports in Japan, Korea, China, Ceylon, India, Arabia, Egypt, Italy, Spain, and England, and the islands of Madeira and Bermuda, before arriving at New York City on 27 September 1889 to complete her round-the-world cruise.

She returned to duty on the North Atlantic Station, cruising in the West Indies from 9 December 1889 to 12 June 1890. On 23 December she was reassigned to the Squadron of Evolution and sailed from New York City on 7 January 1891 for a Caribbean cruise, returning to Norfolk, Virginia on 7 April.

Out of commission from 1 May 1891 to 14 March 1892, "Dolphin" then resumed her cruising along the Atlantic coast, often carrying the Secretary of the Navy. On 3 December 1895, she was assigned to the Special Service Squadron and made a surveying expedition to Guatemala during January and February 1896. She carried President of the United States William McKinley and his party to New York for the ceremonies at Grant's Tomb 23 April 1897. "Dolphin" was placed out of commission at New York 23 November 1897.

"Dolphin" was recommissioned 24 March 1898 just prior to the outbreak of the Spanish-American War and served on blockade duty off Havana, Cuba, during April and May. On 6 June she came under fire from the Morro Battery at Santiago. On 14 June 1898, she provided fire support for elements of the 1st Marine Battalion at the Battle of Cuzco Well in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba resulting in a total rout of the Spanish forces. Later that month, she sailed for Norfolk arriving 2 July.

From 1899 until the outbreak of World War I in Europe, "Dolphin" served as a special dispatch ship for the Secretary of the Navy and often carried the President of the United States and other important officials and diplomats. She visited Washington Navy Yard for the Peace Jubilee of 14 May to 30 June 1899; New York City for the Dewey celebration of 26 September to 29 September; and Alexandria, Virginia, for the city's sesquicentennial on 10 October. From 7 November 1899 to 2 February 1900, she cruised to Venezuela to survey the mouth of the Orinoco River. She departed Washington, DC, on 11 January 1902, to survey the southeast coast of Santo Domingo, then carried the Chief of the Bureau of Equipment from Havana for a tour of inspection of the coaling stations in the West Indies. She returned to Washington on 6 May.

"Dolphin" sailed from Norfolk 2 December 1902 to carry mail and dispatches to Culebra Island, Puerto Rico, then took the U.S. Minister to Venezuela to La Guaira, arriving 11 January 1903. She continued to cruise in the West Indies until returning to Washington, DC, on 19 April. From 1903 through 1905, she carried such dignitaries as the Naval Committee, Secretary of the Navy, Admiral and Mrs. George Dewey, the Philippine Commissioners, the Attorney General, Prince Louis of Battenberg and his party, and President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt on various cruises. Early in August 1905, she carried the Japanese peace plenipotentiaries from Oyster Bay, New York, to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to negotiate the settlement of the Russo-Japanese War. She continued on primarily ceremonial duty, participating in the interment of John Paul Jones at the United States Naval Academy, and the departure ceremonies for the Great White Fleet, until 22 October 1908, when she became flagship of the Third Squadron, Atlantic Fleet.

In the spring of 1914, as the tensions that would lead to
World War I mounted, the Third Squadron, with "Dolphin" as flagship,sailed into Tampico Bay to protect American lives and property.When some sailors from "Dolphin" were arrested by the Mexican government on 9 April 1914, the Tampico Affair began.The United States demanded their release and an apology. The Mexican government agreed, but when a warship of the Kaiserliche Marine arrived with guns and supplies for the Mexicans, war threatened. President of the United States Woodrow Wilson ordered the American naval forces to occupy Tampico, Mexico, and the navy bombarded Veracruz, Mexico. The issue was settled through the Abc Conference held in Niagara Falls, Canada, and the United States withdrew its naval force from Mexico, ending the incident.

Subsequently, "Dolphin" assisted in the occupation of Santo Domingofrom 12 May to 22 May 1916. Her career as flagship continued until 1917.

Sailing from Washington, DC, on 2 April 1917 to take possession of the recently purchased Virgin Islands, "Dolphin" four days later received word of the declaration of war between the United States and Germany.

The next day, she arrived at St. Thomas and the squadron commander assumed office as Governor of the Virgin Islands on 9 April. "Dolphin" carried the Governor and his staff to the islands of St. Croix and St. John to hoist the American flag with proper ceremony. On 26 April, she began a search for the steamer "Nordskar", flying Danish colors, but suspected of aiding enemy operations. She found her at St. Lucia on 5 May and since her registry showed irregularities, Dolphin kept her in custody until departing for Key West, Florida, on 28 June when she turned her charge over to British authorities. "Dolphin" continued to patrol in the Caribbean Sea until arriving at Washington, 6 September.

Assigned as flagship for the American Patrol Detachment 17 September 1917, "Dolphin" was based at Key West, Florida, and operated in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea to protect merchant shipping until the end of the war.

She remained in the Caribbean until her departure for New York City on 25 June 1920. After an overhaul at Boston, Massachusetts, she sailed 16 October 1920 as flagship of the Special Service Squadron and joined USS "Des Moines" (PG-29) to represent the United States at the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the Straits of Magellan. "Dolphin" returned to Balboa, Panama, and was based there for target practice, hydrographic experiments, and to obtain political information, visiting various neighboring countries to promote friendly relations. On 16 September 1921 she was at Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, to attend the anniversary of Guatemalan independence.

"Dolphin" arrived at Boston Navy Yard on 14 October 1921. She was decommissioned 8 December 1921 and sold 25 February 1922.



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