The fourth BALTIMORE (Protected Cruiser No. 3) was launched 6 October 1888 by William Cramp and Sons Ship and Engine Building Co., Philadelphia, PA and commissioned 7 January 1890. The Baltimore was one of a series of good protected cruisers, although most of these had 12 6in guns, without the 8-inch guns that had been added to the Baltimore. But by 1898 her armament, by international standards, was considered undersized and her protection was behind the current state of naval design.
The Act of August 3, 1886, authorized the construction of a protected cruiser of about 4,500 tons displacement. The Secretary of the Navy, Hon. William C. Whitney, in order to avail the department of the latest and most approved experience abroad, purchased plans and specifications of hull and machinery, which had been prepared by Mr. W. H. White, now Director of Naval Construction to the British Admiralty.
Upon these plans and specifications the Cramp Company undertook the construction of a vessel by contract, dated December 17, 1886, which was launched October 10, 1 888, and named the BALTIMORE. Her official trial trip occurred in May, 1889, and she sailed from the shipyard in commission under command of Captain Winfield Scott Schley, January 13, 1890.
In her design the Government demanded a vessel superior to old-world standards, and heavy penalties were to be exacted in case of failure to realize all that was demanded. She can best be compared with the CHICAGO, which equalled any foreign vessel of her date. Of about the same displacement, and with only a few less of the smaller guns, the BALTIMORE had a heavy protective deck, extending from end to end, protecting her machinery, magazines, shell-rooms and steering gear, and about five knots greater speed. The complement of the ship was 22 officers, 275 seamen, and 40 marines.
The battery consisted of four 8 -inch breech-loading guns, mounted in light open barbettes on the poop and forecastle; six 6-inch guns in broadside sponsons, and a large number of machine and rapid-firing guns. The 8-inch guns fire 250-pound shells with a charge of 125 pounds of powder, and have a range of about eight miles.
This vessel was a twin-screw steel cruiser, with a heavy steel protective deck. The bilge keels extend over about 140 feet of the length amidships, projecting clear of the bottom. Tbe deck plank to tbe poop and forecastle to be 6 inches wide by 3 inches thick, except in the wake of the guns when it is thickened up to a level surface under the racers: to upper deck, 6 inches wide by 3 inches thick : to berth deck, the same as the upper deck : to the platforms, 2 inches thick. The 8-inch guns on the poop and forecastle were supported by steel bulk-heads of 15 pound plating, and intercostal beams diretly under the racers. The 6-inch guns were supported by vertical bulk-heads of 15-pound plating, stiffened by 3 by 3 inch of 7-pound angles, spaceed 18 inches, worked between the berth and upper decks. The rudder and steam steering gear are placed below the water-line, under tbe protective deck woiked from the chart house and conning tower. There were two masts tilted with military tops. The coal supply at the normal draught is 400 tons, the bunker capacity 850 tons.
The motive power was furnished by two triple expansion engines, placed in separate water-tight compartments, capable of developing 10,750 hone-power with forced draught. The cylinders are 42, 60, and 94 inches in diameter, with 42 inch stroke. There are 2 threc-bladed screws, about 14 feet 6 inches in diameter. There were 4 double-ended horizontal return tubular boilers 14 feet 8 inches in diameter, each having at each end 4 corrugated furnaces 3 feet in diameter.
The coal-supply at normal draught is 400 tons, but the bunker capacity is 1,168 tons. With the latter supply the ship has an endurance of about 4,500 knots at full speed natural draught, and of about 10,000 knots at 10-knot speed. The BALTIMORE easily kept pace over a long distance, while under natural draught, with one of the latest crack French cruisers, LE TAGE, under forced draught. She is generally considered a 20-knot ship.
The horse-power required was about 9,000. On the official trial this was exceeded by 1,064.418, which made the total horse-power 10,064.418, which was developed on 900 tons weight of machinery, including the water in the boilers and condensers, and earned for the builders a bonus of $106,441.80.
Two electric plants of the most approved pattern, the lightest and most compact and best adapted for marine work, were placed in the vessel. Each engine to lie so arranged as to drive either dynamo separately, or both together. The dynamos of the same electromotive force, each capable of producing 3,2OO candle-power of light, so constituted that lights of 10, 10, 32, and 50 candle-power can be used on the same circuit, with an independent control over each lamp. All parts of tho ship were fully lighted by the incandescent lamps, including coal bunkers, magazines, shell and ammunition rooms, running lights, and lights for use on the upper deck and aloft.
Recourse was had to natural ventilation as much as possible for the living and storage spaces by means of pipes, louvres, and cowls. Artificial ventilation is provided for all compartments below the living deck by means of 2 blowers of 10,000 cubic feet capacity per minute, so arranged with reversible valves as to exhaust from or force air to the several parts of the vessel, and to deliver into the lower parts of the engine room or tho open air. Pipes to be led from the upper part of the coal bunkers to the smoke-pipes to create an exhaust draught to carry off the gases generated in the hunkers. A steam bilge-pump is placed in each engine room, having suctions from the sea, the engine room bilge, the ship's drainnge system, and the boilers eaoh delivering into the fire main or overboard. The general nature of the suctions from the steam-]>nnips was as follows: A pipe about 12 inches in diameter, with cocks and stop valves, is fitted above the double bottom leading to each principal compartment of the hold, so that any compartment may be drained. Au independent 6-iuch bilge-pipe was placed in the fire and engine rooms, connected with the bilge.
This vessel is fitted as a flag-ship. The captain's cabin and other rooms are under the poop deck. The admiral's cabins are located at the after end of the berth deck, and next to them on each side forward are two state-rooms, also lavatories, pantry, and office. Forward of these and separated by a transverse bulk-head is the wardroom with eight state-rooms on each side. Forward of this again is the steerage, the starboard side of which is devoted to the accommodation of the junior officers, having a bath-room and pantry adjoining same. The port side is taken up by the warrant officers' quarters, paymaster's office, dispensary, and surgeon's examining room, the latter a new feature in US naval vessels. The blowers for ventilating the living and other spaces were located on each side of the vessel amidships, and the firemen's wash rooms in the center adjoining the fire room hatches. Great space was available on this deck for berthing the crew, and all state-rooms, quarters, etc., were well lighted by side lights or sky-lights ; the height in the clear under the beams is 6-1/4 feet. The forecastle deck was about 86 feet in length, and under it the space was divided by steel transverse bulkhead. The forward compartment contained the water-closets for the crew, also the windlass and two 57mm guns. The after compartment contains the galley inclosure and the officers' closets.
In 1898, she served with the United States Asiatic Squadron under Commodore Dewey and took part in the Battle of Manila Bay on 01 May 1898. Most of the Spanish ships were old, unprotected cruisers or gunboats fit for colonial duty but not for full-scale combat with enemy cruisers. USS BALTIMORE was a good design, far superior to any vessel of Admiral Montojo's Squadron.
The vessel was selected as the one to carry the body of the late John Ericsson to his native land. From Sweden she cruised in the Mediterranean, where she attracted great attention, and was universally admired for her graceful appearance, efficient design, and excellent workmanship.
During 1913-14 she was converted to a minelayer at Charleston Navy Yard and recommissioned 8 March 1915. During 1915-16 she carried out mining experiments and operations in Chesapeake Bay and along the Atlantic coast. At American entry into World War I, BALTIMORE was training personnel. Early in March 1918 she was detailed to assist in laying a deep mine field off the north coast of Ireland in the North Channel. She arrived at the Clyde on 8 March and between 13 April and 2 May laid approximately 900 mines in the North Channel. On 2 June she joined Mine Squadron 1 at Inverness, Scotland, and for four months participated in laying the Northern Mine Barrage. On 28 September 1918 BALTIMORE sailed from Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands, for the United States. She carried out mining experiments in the vicinity of the Virgin Islands until the end of the year.
Baltimore became part of the Pacific Fleet in September 1919. In July 1920, as the Navy implemented its system of ship hull numbers, she was designated CM-1. The old minelayer went to Pearl Harbor early in 1921 and decommissioned there in September 1922. For nearly two decades, Baltimore was inactive at that base, serving for part of the time as a storage hulk.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|