- USS Lancaster (1858)
The first USS "Lancaster" was a screw
sloop-of-warin the United States Navyduring the American Civil Warthrough the Spanish-American War.
The first "Lancaster" was laid down by the
Philadelphia Navy Yardin December 1857; launched 20 October 1858; sponsored by Miss Harriet Lane, niece and official hostess of President James Buchanan; and commissioned 12 May 1859, Captain John Rudd in command.
1859 – 1867
The new screw sloop-of-war departed
Delaware Bay 27 July 1859for the Pacific. After rounding Cape Hornshe reached Panama Bay 6 December. Two days later, Flag Officer John B. Montgomeryhoisted his flag above "Lancaster", and she served as flagshipof the Pacific Squadronuntil 1866, cruising along the coast of South and Central America, Mexico, and Californiato protect American commerce and the Pacific mail steamers. On 23 FebruaryRear Admiral Charles H. Bell reported an incident which typified her service during the Civil War: "Such is the present state of affairs at Acapulco, that it is believed by both native and foreign populations that the presence of man-of-war alone prevented an attempt to sack and destroy the town by the Indians in the interior, encouraged by governor, General Alvarez..." Far from the main theaters of the Civil War, a U.S. naval vessel was carrying out the traditional mission of protecting U.S. interests and keeping the peace.
11 November 1864, a secret expedition of boats from the ship captured a party of Confederate officers in passenger steamer "Salvador", outside the Bay of Panama. They had planned to seize "Salvador" for the Confederate Government and convert her into a raider to capture Union gold shipments from California.
In the spring of 1866, "Lancaster" received extensive repairs at the
Mare Island Navy Yardand on 27 Junesailed from San Francisco, Californiafor the east coast, via Panama Bay, Callao, Valparaíso, Barbados, and Nassau. She arrived Norfolk Navy Yard 8 March 1867and decommissioned on the 19th.
1869 – 1889
26 August 1869, "Lancaster" sailed for the South Atlantic via Funchal, Madeira. She arrived at Rio de Janeiro 6 January 1870and served as flagshipof the squadron until 1875. From January to May 1874, she took part in fleet drills in the North Atlantic and was in the force concentrated at Key Westlest war with Spainbreak out over the " Virginius affair". Spanish officials at Santiago de Cubahad seized American filibustering steamer "Virginius" and executed a part of her crew. After diplomatic efforts resolved the controversy peacefully, "Lancaster" returned to the South Atlantic until she departed Rio de Janeiro 21 May 1875for home, arriving at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 12 July. The ship decommissioned 31 July 1875, and laid up for repairs at the Portsmouth Navy Yard.
26 August 1881and on 12 Septembersailed from Portsmouth, via New York, for Europe. Arrived at Gibraltar 9 November, she became flagship of the European Squadronand during the following years cruised extensively in the Mediterranean, northern European waters, and on the coast of Africa, protecting American citizens and commerce and promoting friendly relations with other countries. From 27 Juneto 20 July 1882the flagship was at Alexandria, Egypt, during a series of riots and was present when the British fleet bombarded the forts 11 July. Rear Adm. James W. Nicholson, commanding the U.S. squadron, welcomed on board both American and foreign refugees for protection, and landed a force of 100 men to guard the American consulate and assist in extinguishing fires, in burying the dead, and in preserving order. Rear Adm. Charles H. Baldwin relieved Rear Adm. Nicholson of command of the squadron 10 March 1883. Acting under instructions from the Navy Department, Admiral Baldwin proceeded in "Lancaster" to Kronstadt, Russia, and on 27 Mayhe and his staff attended the coronation of Tzar Alexander III at Moscow.
Early in 1885 "Lancaster" cruised down the west coast of Africa and arrived in the
Congo River 28 Aprilen route to Brazil. She arrived Rio de Janeiro 1 Julyand served as flagship of the squadron until 1888, cruising along the coasts of South America and Africa conducting squadron drills and exercises.
18 January 1888from Montevideofor Europe arriving Gibraltar 6 April. As flagship of the European Squadron she cruised in the Mediterranean until she departed Gibraltar 2 July 1889and returned to the United States via Funchal, Madeira, arriving at New York 8 August. She decommissioned at the New York Navy Yard 7 September 1889and was towed to the Portsmouth yard for repairs.
1891 – 1897
19 March 1891, "Lancaster" proceeded to New York where Rear Adm. David B. Harmonybroke his flag in her 23 June. She departed New York 13 Julyen route to the Far East via Madeira, Cape Town, and Singapore. She arrived at Hong Kong 4 January 1892and served as flagship of the Asiatic Squadronuntil 1894, cruising extensively on the coast of China and in Japanese waters. She sailed from Hong Kong 15 February 1894for the United States, via the Suez Canal, and arrived at New York 8 June. The ship decommissioned at the New York Navy Yard on 30 June 1894.
12 September 1895and was ordered to the South Atlantic Squadron. On 22 Octobershe proceeded to Newport, Rhode Island, and on 4 Novemberstood out for the South Atlantic, via Madeiraand the Cape Verde Islands. The ship arrived at Montevideo, Uruguay, 13 February 1896. She operated on the coast of South America until the following year, based at Montevideo, and serving part time as flagship of the squadron. On 5 September 1897she sailed from base for the United States, arrived Boston 18 November, and decommissioned there 31 December 1897.
1898 – 1915
After the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, "Lancaster" recommissioned
5 May 1898, sailed on the 19th, and arrived on the 31st at Key West, Florida, where she served as station ship during the conflict. Departing Key West 18 Augustthe ship arrived at Portsmouth 3 September. Assigned to duty as a gunnery training ship, "Lancaster" departed Portsmouth 8 January 1899and cruised along the Atlantic coast and in the West Indies. From 3 June 1900to 4 March 1901she made a cruise to European waters, returning to the United States via the West Indies and La Guaira, Venezuela. She continued cruising the Atlantic training landsmen until she decommissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard 1 May 1902. "Lancaster" served as receiving ship at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, 16 November 1903to 31 March 1912, and was transferred to the Treasury Department's Bureau of Public Health Service, on 1 February 1913. Her name was stricken from the Navy list on 31 December 1915.
"Lancaster" served the
U.S. Public Health Serviceas a quarantine detention ship at Reedy Island, Delaware, Quarantine Station until 1920, then was transferred to the New York Quarantine Station for similar use. Her hulk was broken in 1933.
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