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NavSource Online: Cruiser Photo Archive

USS MARBLEHEAD (Cruiser No. 11/PG 27)


Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign: Nan - Jig - Oboe
(Contributed by John Spivey)

Displacement 2,090 Tons, Dimensions, 269' (oa) x 37' x 16' 8" (Max)
Armament 9 x 5"/40, 6 x 6pdr, 2 x 1pdr, 3 x 18" tt..
Armor, 7/16" Deck, 2" Conning Tower.
Machinery, 5,400 IHP; 2 Vertical, Triple Expansion Engines, 2 screws
Speed, 18 Knots, Crew 274.
Operational and Building Data
Keel laid on OCT 1890 by the City Point Works, Boston, MA
Launched 11 AUG 1892
Commissioned 02 APR 1894
Decommissioned 30 APR 1900
Commissioned 10 NOV 1902
Decommissioned 01 OCT 1906
Loaned to California Militia 31 MAR 1910
Loaned to Oregon Militia in 1916
Commissioned 06 APR 1917
Decommissioned 21 AUG 1919
Reclassified on 07 July 1920 as PG 27
Stricken 05 AUG 1921
Fate: Sold for scrap 05 AUG 1921
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Navy Expeditionary Medal - Spanish Campaign Medal - World War I Victory Medal w/ATLANTIC FLEET Clasp

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She Glided Off the Ways at 11 o'Clock To-Day.
It Was & Married Woman and Not a Maid Who Broke the Wine Bottle Upon the Prow and Gave the Ship its Name

The Marblehead was sponsored by Mrs. C. F. Allen, the daughter in law of Mrs. C. H. Allen, her husband, being Charles H. Allen,. Mr. Harrison Loring, owner of the City Point Works which built Marblehead was building this as his last ship.
C. H. Allen was elected as a Republican to the Forty-ninth and Fiftieth Congresses, serving March 4, 1885 to March 3, 1889. In 1884, he received the title "Colonel," when Governor George Dexter Robinson appointed him to his personal staff. Governor Robinson..... after leaving office, his most famous legal client was Lizzie Borden, notoriously accused of killing her father and stepmother. She was acquitted in a highly sensationalized trial.
Image and text provided by Rhode Island Digital Newspaper Project.
Photo from The Providence News. (Providence [R.I.]) 1891-1906, 11 August 1892, Image 1, via

Former Assistant Secretary of Navy Served as First Civil Governor of Puerto Rico

Image and text provided by, 21 April 1934, page 15.

Marblehead, ready to launch on 11 August 1892.

Historic New England Nathaniel L. Stebbins Collection, Photo No. PC047.02.1520.04182

Mike Green

Guests arriving for Marblehead's launching on 11 August 1892.

Historic New England Nathaniel L. Stebbins Collection, Photo No. PC047.02.1520.04182

Mike Green

Marblehead sliding down the ways on 11 August 1892.

Historic New England Nathaniel L. Stebbins Collection Photo No. PC047.02.1520.04184

Marblehead just launched.

Historic New England Nathaniel L. Stebbins Collection Photo No. PC047.02.1520.04183


Yesterday brought a big celebration to Boston, when Cruiser No. 11  was christened the Marblehead and given to the sea. The new navy is the richer by another well-equipped vessel, and each addition marks a step in our advance toward a naval power coramensnrate with our importance among the nations. Contrary to expectation, naval superstition gave way and the christening ceremony was performed by a wedded woman in opposition to all precedent. And now the observance even of naval superstition is proven as inconsistent as all other modern earthly things.
A tradition has been violated, and a superstition defied, and it remains to be seen what will result in the new cruiser. Probably its career will be as unmarked by mishaps or just as checkered as it would have been if the launching had been conducted in the orthodox fashion, by the breaking of the champagne bottle in the hands of a maiden. But there is one direction in which the disregard of naval customs may turn out to be a real practical evil. It is just possible that it may add to the difficulty of obtaining seamen for the new vessel. This, however, is already so hard a matter to deal with satisfactorily for the navy as a whole that any trifling additional obstacle is hardly worthy of note.
Image and text provided by Penn State University Libraries; University Park, PA.
Photo from Pittsburg Dispatch.  [volume] (Pittsburg [Pa.]) 1880-1923, 12 August  1892, Image 4, via

Baptized the New Cruiser.

Mrs. C. H. Allen, of Boston, is the first married woman who has christened a warship. Naval tradition heretofore required that a maiden perform the ceremony.
Mrs. Allen yesterday at Boston, gave Cruiser No. 11 the name of Marblehead by which it will be known hereafter. The lady is the daughter in law of C.H. Allen, a Boston banker.
Image and text provided by The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundation.
Photo from The Evening World. [volume] (New York, N.Y.) 1887-1931, 12 August 1892, LAST EDITION, Image 4, via

Comdr. Charles O'Neil was in command of the Marblehead as her first Captain.
A turn of the century portrait photograph taken while he served as Rear Admiral, Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance, from 1 June 1897 to 14 March 1904.

380k Marblehead after sliding down the ways. Mike Green
Marblehead 211k Port quarter view at anchor, location and date unknown. USNHC
21k Port side view, date and location unknown. Note what appears to be laundry hanging from the forward mast, drying. Roel Bakels

Cold day in New England for the sailors of the Marblehead as they work raising the anchor (I guess).

Record Group 19: Records of the Bureau of Ships
Series: The Child Collection of Photographs (Bureau of Ships) Documenting U.S. Naval Vessels
National Archives Identifier: 353696686
Local Identifier: 19-NC-6840
Photo courtesy of
968k Starboard side view of the USS Marblehead (Cruiser No. 11). Record Group 19: Records of the Bureau of Ships
Series: The Child Collection of Photographs (Bureau of Ships) Documenting U.S. Naval Vessels
National Archives Identifier: 353696657
Local Identifier: 19-NC-6832
Photo courtesy of


After Taking a Spanish Steamer Near Cienfuegos United States Cruisers Quickly Rout a Gunboat.
The cruiser Marblehead and Nashville (Gunboat No. 7) and the converted yacht Eagle, forming the fourth division of the North Atlantic squadron and under command of Commander Bowman H. McCalla of the Marblehead sailed the early part of iast week for the south coast of Cuba. The division arrived off Cienfuegos on Friday morning. About 10 o'clock the Nashville sighted a steamer to the westward and began a chase. After a couple of hours the steamer was hove to by a shot across her bows, and an armed boat's crew was sent aboard......
Image and text provided by University of California, Riverside; Riverside, CA.
Photo from The San Francisco Call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, 03 May 1898, Image 3, via

Commander Bowman H. McCalla of the Marblehead

Image and text provided by University of California, Riverside; Riverside, CA.
Photo from The San Francisco Call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, 03 May 1898, Image 3, via
Marblehead 85k

USS Marblehead (Cruiser No. 11) "Stripped for battle" in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, circa June-July 1898. Donation of Capt. Dudley W. Knox, 1926, from the McCalla collection.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph #NH 47159.

267k USS Marblehead in Guantanamo Bay during the Spanish American War in 1898. Tommy Trampp

The USS Marblehead (Cruiser No. 11) is in the rear of Mare Island's dry dock #1 with the out of commission Torpedo Boats USS Fox (TB 13) and USS Davis (TB 12) forward of the cruiser. The ship in the background to the left appears to be a revenue cutter with a tug outboard of her.

U.S. Navy Photo

Darryl Baker
247k USS Marblehead (Cruiser No. 11) in the Mare Island channel a month after her recommissioning in December 1902. Darryl Baker

Ships in the Mare Island channel circa 1905 in the foreground are USS Marblehead (Cruiser No. 11) with two stacks and the Gunboat USS Alert with one stack and in the background are USS Bennington (1 stack and 3 masts) and USS Cincinnati (Cruiser No. 7) (2 masts and 2 stacks) .

U.S. Navy photo #C 11 001-1905

Darryl Baker

USS Jupiter (AC 3) fitting out at Mare Island Navy Yard, with Marblehead (Cruiser No. 11) alongside, circa 16-17 March 1913.

Photo from "U.S. Warships of World War One", with permission of the author Paul H. Silverstone

Robert Hurst
Marblehead 291k

Starboard bow view while at anchor at Mare Island 13 March 1916. Courtesy of Thomas P. Naughton.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph #NH 92170.


Broadside view of USS Marblehead (Cruiser No. 11) believed to be off Mare Island circa 1916-17.

U.S. Navy Photo #C 11 1902

Darryl Baker

Starboard side view of USS Marblehead (Cruiser No. 11) in the Mare Island channel on 11 August 1917.

U.S. Navy Photo #C 11 3518-8-1917

Darryl Baker


The entire city of San Francisco lately played the role of Jonah to a huge, sperm whale, quite dead, which took a fancy to the beach near the Cliff House and made life miserable for half a million people when the west wind blew. The cruiser Marblehead speared the monster on its ram and brought it into port, thinking it might be valuable. After 24 hours, upon urgent request of the authorities, the Marblehead towed it out to sea again. But the tide brought it in upon the beach. It needed no newspaper publicity to announce its presence. It weighed 120 tons, and every ton had its own peculiar atmosphere. Crowds of sightseers swarmed to view the monster. None remained long. Those who ascended the slip- pery carcass usually tumbled all over themselves and went home to be hated by their friends and Relatives. The park commissioners, official custodians of the beach, finally had the carcass saturated with several hundred dollars’ worth of crude oil and gasoline and tried to burn it, but the waves put out the fire. Other attempts reduced the monster to a charred skeleton and a large section of the tail, which refused to burn. Incidentally the captain of the Marblehead suffered a nervous breakdown and went to a hospital for treatment, though his plight is said to have nothing to do with the whale.
Image and text provided by Digital Library of Georgia, a project of GALILEO located at the University of Georgia Libraries.
Photo from Atlanta Semi-Weekly Journal. (Atlanta, Ga.) 1898-1920, 06 June 1919, Image 8, via


Two former proud cruisers, the Minneapolis (Cruiser No. 13) and the Marblehead (Cruiser No. 11), which helped make American naval history during the Spanish war were sold for junk recently and are being dismantled at the Oakland shipyard.
Junk dealers purchased the two veteran vessels from the navy department recently for approximately  $20,000. When the ships were built about thirty years ago they cost almost $6,000,000.
The junk dealers say they hope to take from the vessels material worth about $500,000.
First to go to the junk yards was Minneapolis, second-class protected cruiser, built in 1891 of 7,350 tons displacement. Workmen with gas torches immediately started to cut away at her sides, her mahogany furniture was removed, her decks cut out and soon flat cars carried away huge pieces of steel. Soon after the workmen started, a fire broke out on the vessel and nearly destroyed it.
The Marblehead, a little third class cruiser, built in 1890 of 2,073 tons displacement follows Minneapolis to the graveyard.
The name of the Marblehead was wired around the world when, during the Spanish war. In company with the cruiser Nashville (Gunboat No. 7), she entered the harbor of Cienfuegos, Cuba, and cut a cable while under fire. The Minneapolis was one of the ships of the famous “flying squadron" under Commander Schley.
Image and text provided by History Colorado.
Photo from Pueblo Chieftain. (Pueblo, Colo.) 1889-current, 11 December  1921, Image 21, via

Commanding Officers
Name/Rank Class Final Rank Dates
O'Neal, Charles, CDR     04/02/1894 - ~1896
Jewell, Theodore Frelinghuysen, CDR 1865   03/12/1896 -
McCalla, Bowman Hendry, CDR 1896   09/11/1897 - 10/15/1898

Mead, William Whitman, CDR

1896   10/15/1898 - 04/23/1899
Colby, Harrison Gray Otis, CDR 1867   04/23/1899
Decommissioned     04/30/1900 - 11/10/1902
Phelps Jr., Thomas Stowell, CDR 1869   11/10/1902 -
Scott, Bernard Orme, CDR 1874   07/09/1904 - 10/15/1904
Young, Lucien, CDR 1873 RADM 10/15/1904 - 11/10/1905
Mulligan, Richard Thomas, CDR 1876   11/10/1905 - 10/01/1906
Decommissioned     10/01/1906 - 04/06/1917
Barthalow, Benjamin Grady, LTJG 1900   07/22/1911
Scranton, Edison Ernest, LT 1900   01/01/1912
Tomb, William Victor, LCDR 1900   05/10/1913
Lang, Charles Jonas, CDR 1893   04/06/1917 - 05/18/1917
Huff, Charles Peabody, CDR 1900   05/18/1917
Tarrant, William Theodore, CAPT 1898 RADM 06/03/1919 - 08/21/1919

(Courtesy of Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves - Photos courtesy of Bill Gonyo)

USS MARBLEHEAD (Cruiser No. 11 / PG 27) History
View This Vessels DANFS History Entry on the U.S. Navy Historical Center website.

Crew Contact And Reunion Information
Not Applicable To This Ship

Additional Resources
Hazegray & Underway Cruiser Pages By Andrew Toppan.
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