The 900-ton gunboat Petrel, built at the Columbian Iron Works in Baltimore, carried four 6-inch guns. The little gunboat Petrel, which was with Admiral Dewey's fleet at Manila Bay, was called the baby battleship by some. Displacement 867 t; Length 188'; Beam 31'; Draft 11' 6"; Speed 11.4 kts; Complement 138; Armament four 6" Breech-loading Rifles, two 3-pounders, one 1-pounder rapid fire gun, two Hotchkiss revolving cannon and two Gatling guns; Propulsion, steam and sail.
USS Petrel, an 867-ton gunboat, was built at Baltimore, Maryland, and commissioned in December 1889. After serving in the Atlantic until 1891, she steamed to the Asiatic Station where she remained for two decades. During the Spanish-American War, she participated in the Battle of Manila Bay and subsequent operations in the Philippines.
The work of dredging the coral reef that blocked Pearl Harbor progressed rapidly enough to allow the gunboat, USS Petrel, to proceed to the upper part of Main Loch in January 1905.
In October 1894, the third USS Petrel (PG-2), a fourth-rate gunboat, was dispatched to Newchwang (also known as Yingtze and Yenkow), China, in order to protect the city's foreign residents. Special problems arose because the city is located on the Liao River, which is closed to navigation from November until April by ice floes. Since it was necessary to remain there all winter, they beached the vessel and constructed a fortress around it large enough to include all the foreign residents.
It was reported that, although the American force never confronted hostile Chinese or the Japanese forces, its presence prevented the outbreak of rioting on several occasions, and strengthened the local governor's authority. The governor, the foreign consuls, and residents agreed that "Fort Petrel" had given them a significant advantage in their efforts to protect life and property. The Petrel arrived at Newchwang on 12 November 1894, just as the winter freeze was setting in, and it departed with the spring thaw on 24 April 1895.
Petrel transferred to the Atlantic by way of Europe in 1911 and served in the Caribbean area until 1917. She patrolled off the U.S. coast during World War I. Decommissioned in July 1919, Petrel was sold in November 1920.
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