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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS California (I)
USS Minnetonka

Java class Screw Frigate:
  • Laid down, date unknown, at Portsmouth Navy Yard, N.H. as Minnetonka, one of eight wooden steam frigates authorized by the Navy during the Civil War to provide a postwar general purpose fleet
  • Launched, 3 July 1867
  • Renamed California, 15 May 1869
  • Commissioned, USS California 12 December 1870, CAPT. J. M. B. Glitz in command
  • Clearing New York, 13 March 1871, California sailed for San Francisco arriving 30 July
  • Assigned as flagship for RADM. J. A. Winslow, commanding the Pacific Fleet, she steamed from Mare Island Navy Yard 28 November 1871 for a cruise to Honolulu, Hawaii; Valparaiso, Chile; and Panama, Colombia, putting back into San Francisco 13 November 1872
  • California's second cruise, 30 December 1872 to 25 May 1873, she flew the flag of RADM. A. M. Pennock, commanding the North Pacific Station, and sailed to Honolulu to supervise the protection of American interests there
  • Because she was built with improperly seasoned timber USS California deteriorated quickly and was therefore decommissioned at Mare Island, 3 July 1873
  • Final Disposition, sold May 1875
    Displacement 2,354 t.
    Length 313' 6"
    Beam 46'
    Draft 17' 2"
    Speed 12 kts
    Complement 325
    two 100-pdr Rifles
    eighteen 9" Smooth Bore
    one 60-pdr Rifle
    two 20-pdr Rifles
    Propulsion steam and sail

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    Size Image Description Contributed
    California 156k USS California moored off the Mare Island Navy Yard, CA., circa 1871-1873.
    US Navy photo # 19-N-13844 from the collections of the US Naval History and Heritage Command.
    Robert Hurst
    California 84k View looking along the waterfront of Mare Island Navy Yard during the 1870s, with the city of Vallejo on the opposite side of the channel. Ships tied up at the Navy Yard include USS Saranac (left), USS Independence (center), and a Revenue Cutter (right center). Moored offshore are USS California (left) and USS Pensacola (left center). The yard's floating drydock is in the right distance
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 68685, from the William H. Topley collection. Courtesy of Charles M. Loring, 1969.
    Robert Hurst

    USS California (I)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 8 October 2010