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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

Merrimac (II)


Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Spanish Campaign Medal

Steamer:
  • Built as the merchant ship SS Solveig at New Castle, England, in 1894
  • Documented under American registry 9 December 1897
  • Rebuilt in New York by John N. Robbins Co.
  • Purchased by the Navy, 12 April 1898 from Jefferson T. Hogan & Sons, New York, N.Y.
  • Renamed Merrimac, date unknown
  • Commissioned USS Merrimac, 11 April 1898, CDR. J. W. Miller in command
  • Merrimac supplied coal to US warships operating off Cuba during the Spanish-American War
  • Merrimac joined Commodore Schley's squadron off Cienfuegos, Cuba, 20 May 1898
  • After she had fueled several of Schley's ships she was placed under the command of LT. Richmond Pearson Hobson
  • Hobson daringly steamed into the entrance of Santiago Harbor early in the morning of 3 June. The plan was to run her bow aground in shallow water at the narrowest point in the channel with the floodtide sweeping her stern around to the opposite bank sealing the harbor. However, a random shot disabled her steering and she sank without obstructing navigation. A picket launch under Ensign Powell waiting close by the entrance to rescue the survivors was driven off by intense Spanish fire at dawn. Admiral Cervera, the Spanish commander sent his barge to pick up Hobson and his seven volunteer crewmen. That afternoon he sent out under a flag of truce word of their rescue with generous praise for their skill and valor.
  • Final Disposition, 3 June 1898, scuttled inside the entrance of Santiago Harbor
    Specifications:
    Displacement 3,363 t.
    Length 322' 9"
    Beam 41' 2"
    Depth of Hold 27' 3"
    Draft unknown
    Speed unknown
    Complement unknown
    Armament unknown
    Largest boom capacity unknown
    Fuel Oil Capacity Coal, 4,976 t.
    Propulsion steam


    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Source
    Merrimac 66k Merrimac at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, VA., 23 April 1898.
    US Navy photo # NH 809, US Naval Historical Center Photograph
    US Naval Historical Center
    Merrimac 59k Merrimac at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, VA., 23 April 1898.
    US Navy photo # 19-N-19-18-4 from the Bureau of Ships collection now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Merrimac 121k USS Merrimac under way, circa 1898, location unknown.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo.
    USNHHC
    Merrimac 362k USS Merrimac under fire while entering the harbor at Santiago, Cuba, 3 June 1898.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command illustration.
    USNHHC
    Merrimac 136k The wreck of USS Merrimac sunk in the entrance to the harbor at Santiago, Cuba, June 1898.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command illustration.
    USNHHC
    Merrimac 238k The rescue of the USS Merrimac crew from the harbor at Santiago, Cuba, 3 June 1898.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command illustration.
    USNHHC
    Merrimac 3244k Halftone reproduction of a photograph, published in Deeds of Valor, Volume II, page 370, by the Perrien-Keydel Company, Detroit, 1907. This image shows an artistic interpretation of the scuttling of USS Merrimac across the entrance of Santiago Harbor, Cuba, with portraits of her crew on this mission. The crew members from upper left to right are Lieutenant Richmond P. Hobson, Coxswain Claus K. R. Clausen (note: official sources state Clausen's first name to be Claus, not Randolph), Coxswain Osborn W. Deignan, Watertender Francis Kelly. The crew members from lower left to right are Coxswain John E. Murphy, Chief Master-At-Arms Daniel Montague, Machinist First Class George F. Phillips, and Gunner's Mate First Class George Charette. All the crew members received the Medal of Honor for this operation.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo #NH 79954
    NHHC
    Merrimac 631k The seven crew members that sailed USS Merrimac into the harbor at Santiago, Cuba on 3 June 1898.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command illustration.
    NHHC
    Merrimac 249k Sterograph image of Asst Naval Constructor LT. Richmond P. Hobson, one of the heros of the USS Merrimac operation at Santiago de Cuba on 3 June 1898. Tommy Trampp

    USS Merrimac (II)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 24 June 2016