The Castine and Machias were commissioned in 1893-1894, had a full load displacement of 1,293 tons, and a designed speed of 13 knots. The Machias carried a main battery of eight 4-inch guns. The Castine was converted into a tender to submarines, and was fitted with a torpedo tube for use in training submarine crews. She carried a battery of only two 6-pounder guns.
The first Machias (PG-5), a schooner-rigged gunboat, was laid down in February 1891 by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine; launched 8 December 1891; sponsored by Miss Ethel Hyde, daughter of President Hyde of Bath Iron Works; and commissioned at Portsmouth Navy Yard, N.H., 20 July 1893, Comdr. C. J. Train in command.
USS Castine, the second of two 1177-ton Machias class gunboats built at Bath, Maine, was launched in May 1892. However, stability problems necessitated lengthening the ship, and she was not placed in commission until October 1894. Between February and October 1895 she crossed the Atlantic, passed through the Mediterranean Sea and Suez Canal and cruised around Africa to Brazil. For the next three years Castine operated in South American waters and in the West Indies, including service off Cuba during the Spanish-American War.
In December 1898, some four months after the end of that conflict, Castine began the long voyage to the Far East, again transiting the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal. The gunboat operated in Philippines, and briefly off China, until mid-1901, when she retraced her route back through Suez to return to the U.S. East Coast. Laid up between October 1901 and November 1903, Castine then had an active tour of duty off South America, in the Mediterranean and in the Caribbean that lasted until September 1905. Following another three years out of commission, in October 1908 she commenced service as a submarine tender for the Atlantic Fleet. From mid-1913 until mid-1917 Castine again operated in the Caribbean area. She barely avoided disaster on 29 August 1916, when a powerful tsunami struck her anchorage off Santo Domingo. With the greatest difficulty the little gunboat fought her way through towering waves to the relative safety of the open sea.
The First World War sent Castine back across the Atlantic to Gibraltar, where she was employed on patrol work from August 1917 until late in 1918. After brief service in the Gulf of Mexico in the first part of 1919, USS Castine was decommissioned at New Orleans, Louisiana, in August 1919. She was sold two years later.
(PG-5: dp. 1,177; l. 204'; b. 32'1"; dr. 14'; s. 15.5 k.; cpl. 154; a. 8 4", 4 6-pdr., 4 1-pdr.)
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