History of the USS Wisconsin (BB-9)
Two battleships were named for the State of Wisconsin.
The first Wisconsin BB-9 was built by the Union Iron Works of San Francisco. Her keel was laid 9 February 1897 and she was launched 26 November 1898 under the sponsorship of Miss Elizabeth Stephenson, daughter of United States Senator Isaac Stephenson of Wisconsin. The battleship was commissioned 4 February 1901, Captain George C. Reiter, USN, in command.
Wisconsin BB-9 had an overall length of 373 feet, 10 inches; extreme beam, 72 feet 3 inches; normal displacement, 11,653 tons; mean draft, 23 feet, 8 inches; designed speed, 16 knots, and a designed complement of 35 offices and 496 men. She was originally armed with four 13-inch .35 caliber guns; fourteen 6-inch .40 caliber guns; sixteen 6-pounders; six 1-pounders; four .30 caliber guns and four 18 inch surfaced torpedo tubes. The maximum thickness of her armor was 16.5 inches.
The battleship departed San Francisco 12 March 1901 for tactics reaching south to Mexico and north to ports in the State of Washington. While in the Puget Sound Navy Yard at Bremerton, 12 August, she became flagship of Rear Admiral Silas Casey, commanding the Pacific Squadron. Proceeding via Honolulu, the ship investigated conditions at Pago Pago and Apia, Samoa 5-12 November. She again called at Honolulu before arriving at Acapulco, Mexico 25 December, for coaling. From there she made goodwill calls at Valparaiso, Chile and Calleo, Peru. The presidents of both those countries visited Wisconsin. The ship then exercised along the coast of Mexico before returning to San Diego, California, 25 March 1902, to resume tactics between ports in California and Washington.
On 17 September 1902 Wisconsin steamed from San Francisco for Colombia to preserve the integrity of transit across the Isthmus of Panama and to protect Americans endangered by the civil war then raging in that country. She entered Panama Bay 30 September, where Rear Admiral Casey assumed command of the belligerent forces on both sides of the Isthmus and offered his services as peacemaker. The two revolutionary factions met on board Wisconsin. After prolonged conferences, a treaty was signed 21 November 1902, and was subsequently honored in Colombia as the "The Peace of Wisconsin."
Wisconsin steamed out of Panama Bay 22 November for San Francisco where on 9 December, she was relieved as flagship of the Pacific Squadron by Battleship New York. Following overhaul in Puget Sound Navy Yard, she departed 14 May 1903 for passage to Asiatic Station. She called at Yokohama, Japan, 12 June, and then at Kobe before beginning squadron maneuvers and torpedo practice at Chefoo, China. The ship was back at Yokohama 21 September for repairs, leaving 5 December to spend the Christmas holidays in Honolulu. From there she proceeded to Guam, in company with Battleships Oregon and Kentucky and then went on to Cavite, in the Philippine Islands, arriving 18 January 1904.
At Cavite, the battleship was flagship of the Asiatic Squadron from March 1904 to March 1905. Interspersing target practice and maneuvers in the Philippines, she spent the following years on repeated cruises of observation and maneuvers along the coasts of China and Japan. The ship sailed up the Yangtze River as far as Nanking and remained there 7-13 October 1904. While off Taku Bar, China, 15 September 1905, the commanding officers of the Squadron paid an official visit to the Empress of China.
Departing Chefoo 28 September, Wisconsin visited ports of the Inland Seas of Japan on termination of the war between Russia and Japan. She had further duty up the Yangtze River 10-22 June 1906, and steamed from Yokohama 20 September 1906 en route back to the United States. She arrived at San Francisco 18 October and was decommissioned in the Puget Sound Navy yard 15 November 1906.
Wisconsin was recommissioned at Puget Sound 1 April 1908, with Captain Henry Morrell, USN, in command. She then relived battleship Alabama as one of the sixteen "Great White" battleships making a cruise around the world. She returned from the cruise on the morning of 22 February 1909, passing into Hampton Roads under review by President Theodore Roosevelt.
In the ensuing years, Wisconsin was based at Norfolk for maneuvers and tactics with the Atlantic Fleet, reaching north to the New England coast and south to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She visited New Orleans 7-15 April 1910 to attend the Mystic Shriners convention and was placed in reserve at Portsmouth, New Hampshire 27 April. She shifted to the Philadelphia Navy yard 1 April 1912 and was recommissioned there 15 April 1915. The ship served with the Naval Academy Practice Squadron until she was placed in reserve at Philadelphia 15 October. She was again in commission 2 May 1916 for the midshipmens summer cruise and was in reserve at Philadelphia when the United States entered World War I.
Wisconsin was recommissioned at Philadelphia 24 April 1917 and was assigned to the Coastal Patrol Squadron. She arrived in the York River, Virginia 7 May. Operating from that base throughout the war, she trained thousands of recruit engineers in Chesapeake Bay and up the Atlantic Coast to New York. She trained 175 midshipmen, 8 June-30 August 1917, then resumed schoolship duty for firemen, water tenders, engineers, steersmen and signalmen. The ship participated in the fleet review by the Secretary of the Navy at New York December 1918. After winter maneuvers out of Guantanamo Bay, she spent the summer of 1919 on a midshipmen training cruise to the Caribbean. Returning to Philadelphia, Wisconsin remained inactive until she was decommissioned 15 May 1920. She was sold for scrap 26 January 1922.
USS WISCONSIN (BB-9)
CAPT. George C. Weiter
04 February 1901
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