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C-2 Charleston

This vessel was built at the Union Iron Works, San Francisco, Cal. She had a central open superstructure, twin screws, and two masts, with military tops, in which machine guns were mounted. She was built upon the plans of the swift Japanese cruiser Naniica Kan, built by Sir Wm. U. Armstrong, with such modification in quarters as were rendered necessary by the conditions of the U. S. service and the substitution of 8-inch for 10-inch rifles.

The main battery consists of two 8-inch breech-loading rifles, mounted at eaeh end of the superstructure in light barbettes about ;i feet high. Six 6-inch ritles were mounted on the same deck, three on a side, in projecting sponsons. The secondary battery consisted of four 6-pounders, rapid-fire rides, six Hotchkiss revolving cannon, and four Gatlings. Four above-water torpedo guns or launching tubes were fitted.

In May 1889 there seemed to be a disposition at the Navy Department to regard the reports about the trial of the Charleston with a good deal of doubt, not only as to the success of her attempt to develop the horse power guaranteed by the contractor, but also as to the statements the speed with the horse power said to have been developed on the trial. Iu order to secure the full contract price the vessel must develop, 7,000 horse power. For horse power less than that the contractor must forfeit $100. It was believed that the vessel would develop only 6,000 horse power, but even it the speed of 18 knots was obtained with less power the vessel would not be the success it was hoped it would be.

Charleston had a speed of 18.9 knots. The motive power was furnished by two horizontal compound engines in separate water-tight compartments and developing 7,56O indicated horsepower under forced draught. Each engine has a high and low pressure cylinder of 44 and 85 inches in diameter with a stroke of 31 inches. The crank shafts are a single forging of steel. The circulation and air pumps are worked by independent engines. The screws were three-bladed, about 14 feet in diameter. There were six main boilers in two separate water-tight compartments, all with one smoke-pipe. Those in the forward compartment were 11 feet in diameter and in the after compartment 11 feet 6 inches. Air was driven into each fire room to maintain an air pressure of 2 inches of water. There was a steam-starting and reversing gear, distilling apparatus, auxiliary bilge and fire pumps, ash-hoisting engines, a windlass for hoisting the anchor and for other heavy work, a steam winch for hoisting boats and other light work, and steam turning gear for the main engines. The coal supply at normal draught is 324 tons, but the bunker capacity was 800 tons.

A chart and wheel house was built under the bridge containing brass-mounted steering wheels, engine telegraphs, steering lever, indicators, speaking-tubes to the conning tower and other parts of the vessel, folding chart-table, chart-lockers, tolescope-racks, etc. A conning tower was worked on the bridge of mild steel, 2 inches thick on the vertical sides, the cover 2 inches. Fitted with steering lever, engine telegraphs, indicator, and speaking-tubes. The floor had a grating for communication with tho chart-house. Hydraulic steering-gear was fitted to this vessel, with wheel or levers in the conning tower and chart-house. Tho steering-gear was placed under the protective deck well below the water.

Two electric, incandescent, electric-lighting plants were arranged to work on the same circuit, each capable of providing at leant 3,200 candle-power of light. The lamps were so placed as to fully light up all parts of the ship, including coal bunkers, magazines, shell and ammunition rooms, running lights, and lights for use on deck and aloft. Provision was made for draining water from the store-rooms, chain lockers, coal bunkers, and all other compartments of the vessel to places from which the water can be pumped by hand or steam.

The ventilation of the living and storage spaces was by the exhaust system, and while natural ventilation was used as far as possible, artificial exhausts were provided for all compartments below the spar-deck by means of two blowers of 10,000 cubic feet capacity per minute. The foul air of the coal bunkers is led into the funnel casing, and the bunkers have fresh-air pipes with large mouths opening into the hammock berthing. The horizontal plating of the protective deck is 2 inches thick, tho sloping sides 3 inches. This deck extends from stem to stern.

The quarters for the officers and crew were all on the berth deck. The captain occupies the after part, having a large cabin, also two staterooms with water closets, office and pantry forward of the transverse bulk-head, which separates his quarters from the wardroom. The latter has two staterooms only, on tho starboard side, at the after end and forward of which in an enclosed dining room for the wardroom officers. This room is 29 feet long by a mean width of 14 feet. Adjoining this at the forward end is the wardroom pantry, next again, tho steerage wash room, connecting with an inclosed steerage for tho accommodation of the junior officers. On the port side are eleven state-rooms arranged in an unbroken line. Forward of the steerage inclostiro is the steerage pantry; also navigator's office, with the armory next, the center hulk-head. Forward of the wardroom and steerage and separated therefrom by a transverse bulk-head is the warrant officers quarters, paymaster's office, ordnance workshop, wardroom, steerage, and warrant officers' water-closets ; also firemmen's washroom.

The galleys for the officers and crew are in the center of the vessel, enclosed in a steel bulk-head, ard join the chimney over the auxiliary boiler inclosure. The sick bay and dispensary are also on this deck, but placed in tho bow of the vessel. The berthing space for the accommodation of the crew is quite limited, and the general arrangement of the rooms, particularly the wardroom, is unlike any other vessel in this Navy. The head room, or height in the clear under the beams, was 6.5 feet, and there were a great number of air ports and lights through the vessel's side.

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Page last modified: 22-07-2011 17:36:04 ZULU