Battleships of the 20th century

American Battleships

USS Texas

USS Texas

USS Texas, date and location unknown


Name

USS Texas

The United States Navy's first battleship was the first to bear the name USS Texas, in honor of Texas, the 28th state.

Four ships of the United States Navy have borne (and the fourth being a nuclear submarine) the name USS Texas, in honor of the State of Texas.

  • The first Texas was the US Navy's first battleship, which served from 1895 until 1911.

  • The second Texas (BB-35) is a dreadnought battleship that served in both World Wars.

  • The third Texas (CGN-39) was the second Virginia-class nuclear guided missile cruiser.

  • The fourth Texas (SSN-775) was commissioned on September 9, 2006 and is the second Virginia-class nuclear attack submarine.

Hull #

n/a

Built

Ordered: 3 August 1886

Laid down: 1 June 1889

Launched: 28 June 1892

Built at the Norfolk Navy Yard

Texas was authorized by the U.S. Congress on 3 August 1886. She was built from British plans developed for a design competition. The prize for the winning design was $15,000. Texas and her "sister ship" Maine were unusual in that their armament was mounted en echelon, projected off to either side (Texas' forward turret was off to port and her aft turret to starboard; the arrangement was reversed on Maine). This severely limited their ability to fire on a broadside[citation needed]. Texas was a weak design even for her time[citation needed]. An unfortunate feature of her turrets when she was launched was that they had a fixed loading position; this was corrected later.

Commissioned

15 August 1895

Sister Ships

USS Maine

History Highlight

Early in the spring, war between the United States and Spain erupted over conditions in Cuba and the supposed Spanish destruction of the armored cruiser Maine in Havana harbor in February 1898. By 18 May, under the command of Captain J.W. Philip, Texas was at Key West, readying to prosecute that war.

On 21 May, she arrived off Cienfuegos, Cuba, with the Flying Squadron to blockade the Cuban coast. After a return to Key West for coal, Texas arrived off Santiago de Cuba on 27 May. She patrolled off that port until 11 June on which day she made a reconnaissance mission to Guantánamo Bay. For the next five weeks, she patrolled between Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo Bay. On 16 June, the warship joined Marblehead for a bombardment of the fort on Cayo del Tore in Guantánamo Bay. The two ships opened fire just after 1400 and ceased fire about an hour and 16 minutes later, having reduced the fort to impotency.

On 3 July, she was steaming off Santiago de Cuba when the Spanish Fleet under Admiral Cervera made a desperation attempt to escape past the American Fleet. Texas took four of the enemy ships under fire immediately. While the battleship's main battery pounded armored cruisers Vizcaya and Cristobal Colon, her secondary battery joined Iowa, Gloucester, and Indiana in battering two torpedo-boat destroyers.

The two Spanish destroyers fell out of the action quickly and beached themselves, damaged heavily. One by one, the larger enemy warships also succumbed to the combined fire of the American Fleet. Each, in turn, sheered off toward shore and beached herself. Thus, Texas and the other ships of the Flying Squadron annihilated the Spanish Fleet.

The defeat of Cervera's Fleet helped to seal the doom of Santiago de Cuba. The city fell to the besieging American forces on 17 July, just two weeks after the great American naval victory. The day after the surrender at Santiago, Spain sought peace through the good offices of the French government. Even before the peace protocol was signed in Washington, DC, on 12 August, American ships began returning home. Texas arrived in New York on 31 July. Captain Philip was promoted to Commodore on 10 August 1898.

In late November, Texas moved south to Hampton Roads where she arrived on 2 December. The warship resumed her peacetime routine patrolling the Atlantic coast of the United States. Though her primary field of operations once again centered on the northeastern coast, she also made periodic visits to such places as San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Havana, Cuba, where her crew could view some of the results of their own ship's efforts in the recent war.

Decommissioned

 1 February 1911

Final Disposition

The ship was renamed San Marcos in February 1911. Struck from the Navy List the following October, she was sunk in gunnery tests in Chesapeake Bay. 

Related Info

USS Texas, renamed the USS San Marcos to allow the name Texas to be assigned to BB-35.

General characteristics

Displacement:

6,316 tons (6,417 t)

Length:

308.8 ft (94.1 m)

Beam:

64.1 ft (19.5 m)

Draft:

22.5 ft (6.9 m) mean, 24.5 ft (7.5 m) max

Speed:

17.8 knots (33 km/h)

Complement:

389 officers and men

Armament:

2 × 12 inch (305 mm) guns

6 × 6 inch (152 mm)

12 × 6 pounders (2.7 kg)

6 × 1 pounders

4 then 2 (fore and aft tubes removed 1897) × 14 inch (356 mm) torpedo tubes

Source: Wikipedia


Related Links

Return to American Battleships

USS Texas (1895-1911), later renamed San Marcos

NavSource Online: Battleship Photo Archive

USS Texas (1892)

USS TEXAS By Patrick McSherry


Photos

USS Texas

USS Texas (1895-1911) ready for post-war drydocking, at the New York Navy Yard, 3 August 1898.

 

USS Texas, date and location unknown