Diogenes, a steamer built in 1881 by George Howaldt at Kiel, Germany-was acquired by the Navy from the Thames Iron Works, London, England, on 2 April 1898 renamed Topeka, and placed in commission the same day, Lt. John J. Knapp in command.
In a war between the United States and Spain it was a primary necessity for either power, before it could make use of its land forces with safety, that it should establish its naval superiority within the sphere of operations, either by meeting and defeating the enemy's naval furces at sea or by shutting them up in port. The two fleets were so nearly balanced in nominal strength that navsj critics could hardly pronounce between them. Although war had been long talked about, and the relations between the two countries had been strained for many months, neither had begun serious preparations for war until the last month, when both powers exerted every effort to obtain suitable vessels with which to augment their naval strength. Commander Brownson had been sent to England on the passage, 09 March 1898, of the appropriation of $50,000,000 for national defence with reference to the purchase of ships, but the purchase of these two had already been arranged by Lieutenant Colwell, then naval uttachfi at London. The only other vessels purchased were a small torpedo-boat in Germany (renamed the Somers), the the Japanese second-class cruiser Diogenes, (renamed the gun-boat Topeka), and, in Brazil, the Nictheroy, a sister ship to the Yankee (renamed the Buffalo).
The Diogenes took part in the war. She was purchased from the Thames Iron Works, London, and proved a useful 1,800-ton gunboat. She was built in 1883 for Peru, but was never paid for by that government. She came within an ace of taking part in the China-Japan war, having been actually bought and fitted by Japan, but being kept in English waters under the same conditions that caused the Somers to be held captive.
On 17 July 1920, the Navy adopted the alpha-numeric system of hull designations, and the gunboat became PG-35. Almost a year later, on 1 July 1921, she was redesignated IX-35. On 1 July 1922 Topeka was put up for sale. However, no satisfactory bids were forthcoming; and the vessel was withdrawn from the market on 29 September. Topeka was recommissioned again on 2 July 1923 and was turned over to the 4th Naval District as a training ship for Philadelphia units of the Naval Reserve Forces. She served in that capacity until 2 December 1929, when she was decommissioned for the last time. On 2 January 1930, her name was struck from the Navy list. In accordance with the terms of the London Treaty for the Limitation and Reduction of Naval Armaments, she was sold to the Union Shipbuilding Co., of Baltimore, Md., on 13 May 1930, for scrapping.
(Gbt.: dp. 2,255 (n.), 1. 259'4"; b. 35'0" (wl.); dr. 19'5" (aft), s. 16 k., cpl. 167, a. 6 4", 6 3-pdr.,2 1-pdrs., 1 Colt ma. )
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