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Gunboat Photo Archive


Alvarado served the Navies of Spain, the United States and the Louisiana Naval Militia.

Alvarado Class Gunboat:

  • Laid down 24 July 1895 as Alvarado by the Clydebank Engine and Shipbuilding Co., Clydebank, Scotland for the Spanish Navy
  • Launched 19 September 1895
  • Captured 17 July 1898 at Santiago de Cuba
  • Commissioned USS Alvarado 4 August 1898
  • Decommissioned 5 May 1899 at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, NH
  • Recommissioned 20 September 1900
  • Decommissioned 22 March 1906 at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, VA
  • Loaned to the Louisiana Naval Militia 16 November 1906 as a training ship
  • Returned to Navy custody 21 May 1912 and struck from the Navy list
  • Sold 10 June 1912 at New Orleans, LA
  • Scrapped in 1916.


  • Displacement 106 t.
  • Length 116' 10"
  • Beam 15' 6¾"
  • Draft 6' 3"
  • Speed 19 kts.
  • Complement 33
  • Armament: Two 3-pounders and two Colt machine guns (later changed to one 57mm and one 37mm mount)
    1911 - Two 3-pounders rapid fire mounts, two 1-pounder rapid fire mounts and added temporarily two 3-pounder rapid fire mounts
  • Propulsion: One single ended boiler, one 690ihp vertical compound engine (later replaced by a vertical triple-expansion engine), one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Sandoval 482k Newspaper article from the 22 January 1899 edition of the "New York Tribune Illustrated Supplement" Michael Mohl
    Alvarado 74k Original photo: Underway circa 1900; the men on her deck give an idea of the small size of this vessel. Also the size of the national ensign and the commission pennant relative to the size of the ship.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 83960
    Replacement photo: U.S. Navy photo from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
    Original photo: Naval History and Heritage Command
    Replacement photo: Robert Hurst
    Alvarado 125k Library of Congress photo LC-D4-20124 from the Detroit Photographic Co. Mike Green

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships:


    Pedro de Alvarado—who lived from 1495 to 1541—served as second in command to Hernan Cortez during the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire in Mexico. Later, he led an equally successful expedition to what is now Guatemala and Honduras. Following that conquest, he served as Spanish governor of the new territory.

    Alvarado—a gunboat built in 1895 at Clydebank, Scotland, by the Clydebank Engine & Shipbuilding Co. for the Spanish Navy— was captured by the United States Navy at the fall of Santiago de Cuba on 17 July 1898 and was commissioned on 4 August 1898, Lt. Victor Blue in command.

    During the waning days of the Spanish-American War, she patrolled waters around Cuba. On 12 August, the gunboat participated in the bombardment and capture of Manzanillo located on the southeastern coast of the island. Following the end of hostilities, Alvarado continued to cruise between ports of Cuba until November. She began her voyage north on the 6th of November and, after a number of stops along the east coast of the United States, arrived at Washington, D.C., on 3 January 1899. She remained at Washington exactly three months before getting underway again on 3 April. The warship operated along the middle Atlantic coast for about a month before arriving at Portsmouth, N.H., on 5 May. Five days later, she was decommissioned and berthed in the navy yard there.

    On 20 September 1900, Alvarado was placed back in commission, probably assigned to training duty at the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. There is some information to suggest that, about this time, she also cruised the Atlantic coast making port visits for recruiting purposes. In any event, she served as a training platform at Annapolis until 1906. On 22 March 1906, she was decommissioned once more, this time at the Norfolk Navy Yard. On 16 November of that year, she was turned over to the Louisiana Naval Militia for which she served as a training vessel until 1912. She was returned to Navy custody on 21 May 1912, and her name was struck from the Navy list simultaneously. On 10 June 1912, she was sold at New Orleans, La.

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