Cincinnati (Cruiser # 7) and Raleigh (Cruiser # 8) were relatively small protected cruisers completed in 1894. During the Spanish-American War, Cincinnati served in the Caribbean area. Raleigh was assigned to Dewey's Asiatic Squadron, and took part in the Battle of Manila Bay. Both ships remained in active naval service through World War I.
By advertisement of June 14, 1889 the Navy Department invited proposals for the construction of the two cruisers of about 3,000 tons each, at a cost of not more than $1,100,000 each, authorized by the same act. All the proposals were opened at the Department 22 August 1888. For the construction of two 3,000-ton cruisers, N0s. 7 and 8:
- The William Cramp and Sons Ship and Engine Building Company, Philadelphia, Pa., for the construction of one of said cruisers (hull and machinery to bo constructed according to Department's plans and specifications) $1,225,000
- Same company, for the construction of the other of said cruisers (hull and machinery to be constructed according to Department's plans and specifications) $1,225,000
As the amounts for which these several proposals offered to construct the vessels were in excess of the limit fixed by Congress all of them were rejected. The Department then decided, as authorized by the act to build the two 3,000-ton vessels in the navy-yards, and on October 1, 1889, advertised for proposals for steel required for the construction of cruiser No. 7 at the New York navy-yard and for cruiser No. 8 at the Norfolk navy-yard. On the 5th of October another advertisement invited proposals for materials for use in the construction at the New York navy-yard of the machinery for both these cruisers were received under both these advertisements, and contracts were awarded for 2,284 tons of steel for the hulls of these vessels.
An important addition to the new Navy was made at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on November 10, in the launch of protected Cruiser No. 7, which was christened the Cinciniiati by Miss Stella Mosby, daughter of the Mayor of the Ohio city. A sister ship to the Raleigh, the construction of the Cincinnati was authorized in 1888, cost limited to $1,100,000. She was intended as a commerce destroyer, rather than as an opponent of the heavy battle-ships of other Powers.
Her displacement was 3,183 tons. The Cincinnati was 300 feet in length and forty-two feet in breadth, and draws eighteen feet of water. She has engines of considerably more than 8,000 horse power, which will drive her through the water at a speed of nearly twenty-two miles per hour. The main battery consists of eleven five- inch rapid fire guns, while the secondary battery is made up of eight six-pounders, two one-pounders, and two Gatling guns. The vessel carried twenty officers and over three hundred men.
The placing of figureheads under the bowsprits of ships, together with the carvings and decorating of bows and sterns, is a custom of the greatest antiquity. Until the seventeenth century it was the custom to place at the extremity of the prow a sculptured figure, which served to distinguish vessels of different nationalities. The Venetians adopted a bust of one of their great men, the Spaniards a lion, the English the figure of the reigning monarch, either on horseback or riding a lion. On the sterns of the Venetian, Portuguese and Spanish ships the carved image of some saint or hero was placed in much the same manner as a spread-eagle was at one time the favorite emblem on the stern of an American ship.
Figureheads were discarded with the bowsprits of the wooden warships of the old navy. The builders of men-of-war made but slight efforts to decorate either bow or stern of the grim fighting machines, which would scarcely relieve the rigid and formidable appearance of the huge floating batteries. A number of United States cruisers carried a shield draped with the national colors, but the execution or effect has never awakened criticism or aroused enthusiasm in connection with the modern navy.
A radical departure from stereotyped lines was inaugurated with the cruiser Cincinnati, which was decorated with an elaborate figurehead and stern piece. The bow piece was a winged representation of Victory, draped in flowing garments, holding above her head an eagle about to take flight. The trailing ornaments had a cartouche bearing in relief the seal of the Navy Department. Springing from the cartouche were ornamented foliage scrolls, and springing out of the foliage was a train of dolphins. The stern piece was a huge cartouche bearing in the centre the name of the vessel. The crest of the cartouche supported an eagle with spread wings standing on an American shield. In the lower part of the design, balancing the spot made by the shield, was the head of Medusa. A similar figurehead and stern piece has been placed on the Olympia.
By the 1890s the Brooklyn Navy yard on the Hudson estuary was the largest and most important Government construction yard in the States. That the capabilities of the yard in the way of ship-building are excellent is shown by the fact that the second-class battleship Maine (6648 tons), and the cruiser Cincinnati (3183 tons), have both been constructed at this yard. Its importance is also enhanced by the fact that it possesses the largest plant for construction of engines and boilers of any of the Navy yards, and it has already turned out engines of 10,000 I.H.P. for both the Cincinnatti and her sister ship the Raleigh.
The boilers of the U.S. cruiser Cincinnati were extensively adopted in the British and American navies for the largest war-vessels, and since 1895 it had been used with great success in the Wilson (British) line of merchant steamers. The chief features in which it differs from the land type of the Babcock & Wilcox boiler have been designed for the purpose, chiefly, of providing a very large area of grate and heating surface, together with relatively small weight of metal and water to be carried in the contracted space allowed in ocean steamers. The tubes in the lower row are 4 ins. diameter, all the others being 2 ins. The steam and water drum was set transversely to the direction of the tubes. The fire-box ws roofed over by fire-brick supported by the lower row of tubes. The fire-door was placed at what would be called the rear of the boiler in the ordinary land boiler.
USS Cincinnati, a 3183-ton protected cruiser, was built by the New York Navy Yard, commissioning in June 1894. Her early service was in Atlantic, Caribbean and European waters. She operated in the West Indies during the Spanish-American War, and participated in the bombardment of Matanzas, Cuba. The second Cincinnati (C-7) was launched 10 November 1892 by New York Navy Yard; sponsored by Miss S. Mosby; and commissioned 16 June 1894, Captain H. E. Glass in command.
Cincinnati's first cruise, along the east coast, and then in the Caribbean, found her enforcing neutrality laws at Tampa and Key West during the Cuban Revolution from September 1895 to January 1896. Between September 1896 and July 1897, she served in the eastern Mediterranean, returning to the South Atlantic Station in September 1897. In April 1898, opening month of the Spanish-American War, Cincinnati joined the blockade off Havana, Cuba, and bombarded Matanzas. On 27 April 1898, in the first action in the Spanish-American War, the armored cruiser USS New York (ACR 2), flagship of Admiral Sampson, cruiser USS Cincinnati (C 7), and monitor USS Puritan (BM 1) engaged and silenced two Spanish batteries at Matanzas, Cuba. The next month, she scouted throughout the West Indies searching for the Spanish fleet known to be approaching Cuba.
At the close of May 1898, Cincinnati came north for repairs, returning to the Caribbean for occupation duty in August. She convoyed troops from Guantanamo Bay to Puerto Rico, patrolled off San Juan, made a reconnaissance of Culebra Island, and escorted the captured Spanish flagship Infanta Maria Teresa until the prize of war sank en route to Norfolk from Cuba. After joining in salvage operations at Santiago in November, she sailed north, and from 14 February 1899 to 2 December 1901 was out of commission at New York Navy Yard for extensive repairs.
Between May 1902 and January 1903, Cincinnati protected American citizens and property in the Caribbean during political disturbances at Haiti, Santo Domingo, and Panama, and brought relief supplies to Martinique after the devastating eruption of Mount Pelee. From January through May 1903, the cruiser sailed in the Mediterranean, then passed through the Suez Canal for 4 years of duty on the Asiatic Station, based in the Philippines. On 12 March 1904 Marines from the cruiser USS Cincinnati (C 7) helped evacuate American citizens, caught up in the Russo-Japanese War, from Seoul and Chemulpo (Inchon), Korea. Target practice, maneuvers, and goodwill cruises took her to many ports in China, Japan, and the Pacific islands, and from time to time she patrolled off Korea. She returned to Mare Island Navy Yard 10 September 1907, and there was decommissioned 12 October 1907.
Recommissioned in reserve 8 March 1911, Cincinnati was in full commission from 11 October 1911, and two months later returned to the Asiatic Station for a 6-year tour of duty similar to her earlier employment there. She returned to San Diego 16 December 1917, and while bound for the east coast, took part in humanitarian relief at San Jose, Guatemala, after severe earthquakes. She arrived in Hampton Roads 16 January 1918.
As flagship of the American Patrol Detachment, Atlantic Fleet from 1 February 1918 to 28 March 1919, Cincinnati patrolled the Gulf of Mexico from Key West, protecting the movement of vital oil supplies. She was decommissioned at New Orleans 20 April 1919, and sold 4 August 1921.
USS Raleigh, a 3183-ton Cincinnati class protected cruiser, was built at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Virginia, and commissioned in April 1894. She initially served along the U.S. east coast, then made a European tour in 1897 before transferring to the Asiatic Staion. During the Spanish-American War, she participated in the Battle of Manila Bay. After the war, Raleigh returned to the U.S. east coast, and briefly served off Central America before again transiting to Asiatic waters where she spent the years 1903-1907. She subsequently operated off the Pacific coasts of the United States and Central America. In World War I, the cruiser was active in the Atlantic off both North and South America, and in the Caribbean area. Raleigh decommissioned in April 1919 and was sold in August 1921.
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