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NavSource Online: Army Ship Photo Archive

USAT Burnside

Cable Repair Ship:
  • Built in 1882 as SS British Yeoman by Campbell, Mackintosh & Bowstead, Newcastle upon Tyne as a cargo ship for Lundís Blue Anchor Line
  • Launched date unknown
  • Fitted with new boilers and engines in 1887 at Swan, Hunter of Wallsend on Tyne
  • Sold to Vapores Serra at Bilboa, Spain in 1891 and reflagged Spain, renamed SS Rita
  • Captured, 8 May 1898, by USS Yale during the Spanish-American War
  • Acquired by the Quartermaster Department 8 July 1898 from the U.S. Prize Court and assigned to the Army Transport Service
  • Renamed USAT Burnside in February 1899 in honor of Maj. Gen. Ambrose P. Burnside, commander of the Army of the Potomac 1862-63
  • Assigned to the A.T.S. Pacific Fleet with homeport at Seattle, WA
  • Converted into a cable ship after the loss of USAT Hooker while laying cable in the Philippines, USAT Burnside completed the work
  • In 1903 Burnside began work on the US-Alaska cable, laying the 291 nm section from Sitka to Juneau
  • In 1904 she laid 1070 nm of cable from Sitka to Seattle, and a further 640 nm from Sitka to Valdez
  • These cables were operated by the US Army Signals Corps for the Washington-Alaska Military Cable and Telegraph System (WAMCATS)
  • Condemned 17 March 1923 and sold
  • Final Disposition sold for scrapping to General Metals Co., Oakland CA. in June 1924
    Displacement 2,226 gross tons
    Length 276'8"
    Beam 36'7"
    Draft 17.8'
    Speed unknown
    Complement unknown
    Cruise Radius unknown
    Fuel Capacities unknown
    one triple-expansion reciprocating steam engine
    single shaft

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    Size Image Description Source
    Burnside 128k USAT Burnside underway, 28 September 1899, location unknown. Shortly the ship will be converted to a cable ship after the loss of USAT Hooker while she was laying cable in the Philippines, Burnside completed the work originally started by Hooker.
    New England History, Nathaniel L. Stebbins photographic collection, Photo No. PC047.02.5890.10448
    Mike Green
    Burnside 92k USAT Burnside anchored in an unidentified Puget Sound port circa 1900.
    University of Washington, Wilhelm Hester Photographs Collection
    Mike Green
    Burnside 82k
    Burnside 130k USAT Burnside at anchor, date and location unknown.
    US National Archives RG-111 Army Signal Corps. Photo Collection
    US Army Order of Battle 1919-1941 Vol.4
    Burnside 75k USAT Burnside moored pierside at Seward, Alaska, date unknown. Burnside visited Seward numerous times beginning in 1903.
    Source: Seward Community Library Association, DC Bronell Photographs, Photo No. SCLA-28-32
    Mike Green
    Burnside 59k USAT Burnside at anchor in Valdez Bay, Alaska, October 1916 History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
    Burnside 36k Painting of USAT Burnside courtesy of David Stoff. The painting was commissioned by his great-grandfather, who served on the Burnside laying cable in the Philippines. History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
    Burnside 28k USAT Burnside at Ketchikan, Alaska, 1911. Courtesy of University of Washington Library
    Burnside 81k USAT Burnside in Wright Sound, Alaska.
    US National Archives photo
    US National Archives
    Burnside 197k USAT Burnside at the Orient Dock, Seattle circa 1912. Courtesy University of Washington Libraries
    Burnside 89k USAT Burnside drydocked in Dry Dock No. 1. at Puget Sound Navy Yard, date unknown.
    US National Archives catalog # NAID 29962.
    US National Archives, Pacific Alaska Region, Seattle, WA.

    The history for USAT Burnside is from the US Army Order of Battle 1919-1941 Vol. 4NavSource
     Capt. Shears, Robert W., A.T.S.20 April 1912 - 17 March 1923

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications - CS Restorer
    Back To The Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To The US Army Ship Index Back To The US Army Cable Repair Ship Index
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 21 June 2019