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Identification Numbered Vessel Photo Archive

Housatonic (ID 1697)

Navy call sign:
George - Quack - King - Charlie

Call sign (Late 1919):
Nan - Fox - Xray


  • Built in 1899 as El Rio by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Corp., Newport News, VA
  • Acquired by the Navy in 1917 and renamed Housatonic
  • Commissioned USS Housatonic (ID 1697), 25 January 1918 and converted to a Minelayer
  • Converted to a Troop Transport in 1918
  • Decommissioned 5 August 1919 and returned to her owners
  • Fate unknown.


  • Displacement 7,620 t.
  • Length 405' 1"
  • Beam 48'
  • Draft 22' 6"
  • Speed 15 kts.
  • Complement 100
  • Armament: One 5"/51 mount, two 3"/50 mounts and two machine guns
  • Propulsion: Three double ended boilers, one vertical triple expansion steam engine, one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Housatonic 21k

    Housatonic - One of the rivers of New England which rises in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, and flows southward into Connecticut before emptying into Long Island Sound a little east of Bridgeport

    Tommy Trampp
    Housatonic 105k Halftone reproduction of a photograph of the ship at anchor, in 1918.
    Courtesy of Boatswain's Mate First Class Robert G. Tippins, USN (Retired), 2005
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 102875
    Robert Hurst
    Quinnebaug 74k U.S. Navy minelayers steaming in column in the North Sea, September 1918. At left, British destroyers are covering the formation's flank with a smoke screen. Ships in the minelayer column are (from front to rear): Roanoke, Housatonic, Quinnebaug and Baltimore
    U. S. Navy Photo NH 2805
    Naval Historical Center
    Canonicus 125k U.S. Navy Mine Layers steaming in line abreast during the laying of the North Sea mine barrage, September 1918. Analysis of camouflage patterns indicates that these ships are (from front to rear): USS Roanoke (ID 1695); USS Housatonic (ID 1697); USS Shawmut (ID 1255); USS Canandaigua (ID 1694); USS Canonicus (ID 1696); with USS Quinnebaug (ID 1687) and USS Saranac (ID 1702) in the left and right center distance. A four-stack British cruiser is in the left distance
    U.S. Navy photo 61101
    Quinnebaug 71k U.S. Navy minelayers proceeding to sea in two columns, in Area Number 2 of the North Sea, September 1918. Ships in the column at left are (from front to rear): Roanoke, Housatonic, Quinnebaug and Baltimore. Ships in column at right are (from front to rear): Canonicus (out of picture, to right), Canandaigua, Aroostook and Saranac
    Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives
    U. S. Army Signal Corps Photo 111-SC-43563
    Aroostook 111k American minelayers underway on 20 September 1918. They include; on the right: USS Roanoke (ID-1695), USS Housatonic (ID-1697), USS Quinnebaug (ID-1687), USS Baltimore (CM-1). On the left: USS Canonicus (ID-1696), USS Canandaigua (ID-1694), USS Aroostook (CM-3), USS Saranac (ID-1702)
    Imperial War Museum photo No. IWM(Q 20254) from American First World War Official Exchange Collection
    Mike Green
    Housatonic 143k In port, while serving as a troop transport in 1919
    Donation of the City Museum of Washington, D.C., 2005
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 103112
    Robert Hurst
    Housatonic 93k At the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, on 28 March 1919. The "cage" masts of a battleship are visible behind Housatonic
    Panoramic photograph by J.C. Crosby, Boston
    Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation. Crosby Collection
    U. S. Navy photo NH 84083
    Naval Historical Center

    Commanding Officers
    01CAPT John Wills Greenslade, USN - USNA Class of 1898
    Awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal (1918) and the Legion of Merit (1950) - Retired as Vice Admiral
    25 January 1918
    02LCDR Henry W. Lewis, USNRF1918
    03CDR Walter Frederick Jacobs, USN - USNA Class of 1906
    Awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal (1919) - Retired as Captain
    Courtesy Joe Radigan

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships History: The second Housatonic was built in 1899 by Newport News Ship Building & Dry Dock Co., Norfolk, Va., and was acquired by the Navy from Southern Pacific Steam Ship Co., under the name El Rio. She commissioned 25 January 1918 and served as a mine planter in the 3d Naval District until decommissioning 5 August 1919 when she was returned to her owner.
    Back To The Main Photo Index Back to the Identification Numbered Vessel (ID) Photo Index Back To the Mine Warfare Ship Photo Index Back To The Minelayer (CM) Photo Index

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