Tuesday, January 26, 2010
USS Denver (Cruiser No. 14, later PG-28 & CL-16)
Figure 1: USS Denver (CL-16) dressed with flags, probably during the 1920s. Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1969. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: USS Denver (Cruiser No.14) in port, 7 October 1904. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: USS Denver (Cruiser No. 14) underway during the North Atlantic Fleet review in 1905. Photographed by the Burr McIntosh Studio. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, Rodgers Collection. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: USS Denver (Cruiser No.14) dressed with flags for a holiday or other special occasion, circa the 1910s. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the US National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: USS Denver (Cruiser No.14) dry docked at the Charleston Navy Yard, South Carolina, on 5 February 1918. Note that the ship's hull is sheathed and coppered at and below the waterline, to reduce the need for dry docking while operating on distant stations. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: USS Denver (Cruiser No.14) firing a salute at San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1905. Donation of Edward A. Mayer, 1969. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: USS Denver (Cruiser No.14) men of the Second Division cleaning the ship, after coaling, circa 1913. Collection of Hubert C. Rickert, courtesy of Daniel Rickert, 1981. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 8: Ship's racing boat crew celebrates with cigars after a victory, circa 1913. Note the coiled line and decorated broom and mop handles. Seaman Hubert C. Rickert is seated in center holding the mop, just to the right of the cigar box. Collection of Hubert C. Rickert, courtesy of Daniel Rickert, 1981. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 9: USS Denver’s steam gig tied up to one of the ship's boat booms, circa 1912-1915. The sailor on board the boat is R.O. Mullens. Collection of Hubert C. Rickert, courtesy of Daniel Rickert, 1981. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 10: USS Denver’s shore patrol of sailors and marines, at Acapulco, Mexico, circa 1913. Collection of Hubert C. Rickert, courtesy of Daniel Rickert, 1981. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 11: USS Denver (Cruiser No. 14) souvenir pennant from the ship, circa 1913. Collection of Hubert C. Rickert, donated by Daniel Rickert, 1982. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
The 3,200-ton USS Denver (Cruiser No. 14) was the lead ship in a class of six “protected cruisers,” which were ships that possessed armor protection for their main deck but not for the sides of the ship. Also known as “Peace Cruisers,” these slow, lightly-armed and armored ships were never meant for fleet actions. They were used as gunboats with the Asiatic Fleet and in the waters off Central America and South America, as well as in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. Because they were needed to patrol distant waters with little support, the Denver class ships were furnished with sails to extend their cruising range while economizing on coal, but they also had large coal bunkers, which increased their range and endurance. Their steel hulls were sheathed with pine and coppered for long service in tropical waters and they possessed roomy, well-ventilated quarters for their crews to ease the discomfort of sailing in hot climates. Each Denver class warship had a two-and-one-half-inch-thick armored deck and all of them were armed with ten 5-inch rapid-fire guns. USS Denver was built by the Neafie and Levy Ship and Engine Building Company at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was commissioned 17 May 1904. She was approximately 308 feet long and 44 feet wide, had a top speed of 16 knots, and had a crew of 339 officers and men.
After she was commissioned, Denver spent almost three years patrolling the Atlantic coast of the United States and the Caribbean. She served as a traditional gunboat, protecting American lives and property in the West Indies, and acted as a training ship for midshipmen from the US Naval Academy in the summer of 1906. Denver also participated in the Fleet Review off Oyster Bay, Long Island, for President Theodore Roosevelt in September 1906.
On 18 May 1907, Denver left New York to join the Asiatic Fleet in the Philippines. She went via the Mediterranean, through the Suez Canal, and on to Cavite in the Philippines, arriving on 1 August. Denver visited ports throughout China and Japan and remained with the Asiatic Fleet until 1 January 1910, when she was ordered back to the United States. Denver arrived on 15 February at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, and was decommissioned on 12 March. She was placed in reserve commission on 4 January 1912 and was fully re-commissioned on 15 July for service in the Pacific Ocean.
From 1912 to 1917, Denver’s area of operations ranged from San Francisco all the way south to Panama. She made many stops along the coasts of Mexico and Nicaragua, two countries that were involved in almost constant political turmoil. Denver was responsible for protecting American lives and property in these troubled nations and assisted in evacuating US citizens when necessary. From 6 December 1916 to 30 March 1917, Denver also conducted a survey of the Gulf of Fonesca on the coast of Nicaragua. The ship then was transferred to the Caribbean and on 10 April 1917 arrived at Key West, Florida. She was assigned to patrol duties between Key West, Cuba, and the Bahamas.
During World War I, Denver was sent to New York. She arrived on 22 July 1917 and began escorting merchant convoys originating from either New York or Norfolk, Virginia. The convoys steamed to a mid-Atlantic meeting point where American or British destroyers took over control of the convoy and escorted the merchant ships to ports in either England or France. During the war, Denver escorted eight convoys in this manner. After the war ended, Denver began patrolling off the east coast of South America on 5 December 1918 and returned to New York on 4 June 1919. From 7 July 1919 to 27 September 1921, Denver sailed between New York and San Francisco and spent much time in the Panama Canal Zone and operating off the coasts of Central America. Denver was re-classified PG-28 on 7 July 1920 and then CL-16 on 8 August 1921.
During the summer of 1922, Denver carried the President of Liberia back to his country after he visited the United States. On 9 October 1922, Denver returned to the Canal Zone and remained there for eight years, based at Cristobal. She patrolled along both coasts of Central America, guarding American interests, transporting various officials, and paying courtesy calls to numerous ports in the area. This routine, though, was broken by occasional visits to Boston, Massachusetts, for overhauls. From 20 November to 18 December 1922, Denver carried relief supplies to earthquake and tidal wave victims in Chile and from November 1925 to June 1926, Denver served the Special Commission on Boundaries and carried dignitaries from Chile to the United States or the Canal Zone.
From 14 to 19 February 1929, Denver participated in ceremonies held at Havana, Cuba, commemorating the sinking of the battleship Maine. She returned to Philadelphia on 25 December 1930 and was decommissioned on 14 February 1931. USS Denver was sold for scrapping on 13 September 1933.
Posted by Remo at 9:09 AM