USS Chattanooga (CL-18)

USS Chattanooga (C-16/PG-30/CL-18) was a Denver-class protected cruiser in the United States Navy during World War I. She was the second Navy ship named for the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

USS Chattanooga (C-16), USN photograph, unknown date.
United States
Name: Chattanooga
Namesake: City of Chattanooga, Tennessee
Ordered: 3 March 1899
Awarded: 14 December 1899
Builder: Crescent Shipyard, Elizabethport, New Jersey
Cost: $1,039,966 (contract price of hull and machinery)
Laid down: 29 March 1900
Launched: 7 March 1903
Sponsored by: Miss L. N. Chambliss
Acquired: 3 March 1905
Commissioned: 11 October 1904
Decommissioned: 19 July 1921
  • PG-30, 17 July 1920
  • CL-18, 8 August 1921
Struck: 13 December 1929
  • Hull symbol: C-16
  • Hull symbol: PG-30
  • Hull symbol: CL-18
Fate: Sold for scrap, 8 March 1930
General characteristics (as built)[1][2]
Class and type: Denver-class protected cruiser
  • 3,200 long tons (3,251 t) (standard)
  • 3,514 long tons (3,570 t) (full load)
  • 308 ft 9 in (94.11 m) oa
  • 292 ft (89 m)pp
Beam: 44 ft (13 m)
Draft: 15 ft 9 in (4.80 m) (mean)
Installed power:
Sail plan: Schooner
  • 16.5 knots (30.6 km/h; 19.0 mph)
  • 16.75 knots (31.02 km/h; 19.28 mph) (Speed on Trial)
Complement: 31 officers 261 enlisted men
  • Deck: 2 12 in (64 mm) (slope)
  • 316 in (4.8 mm) (flat)
  • Shields: 1 34 in (44 mm)
General characteristics (1921)[2][3]
  • 8 × 5 in (127 mm)/50 caliber Mark 5 breech-loading rifles
  • 1 × 3 in (76 mm)/50 anti-aircraft gun
  • 6 × 6-pounder (57 mm (2.2 in)) rapid fire guns
  • 2 × 1-pounder (37 mm (1.5 in)) guns


Chattanooga was one of six Denver-class protected cruisers ordered for the US Navy on 14 December 1899.[4] She was laid down at the Crescent Shipyard of Elizabethport, New Jersey on 29 March 1900,[5] and launched on 7 March 1903.[6] Construction was much slower than contracted (the contracted completion date was 14 June 1902), and when the shipbuilding trust that owned the Crescent Shipyard, the US Government cancelled the contract and took possession of the part-completed ship, which was moved to the New York Navy Yard for finishing in October 1903.[5]

Chattanooga was commissioned on 11 October 1904, with Commander Alexander Sharp in command.[6] After sea trials in January 1905, during which she reached a speed of 16.65 knots (30.84 km/h; 19.16 mph) in a four-hour trial,[7] she reported to the Atlantic Fleet.[6]

Service history

Pre-war service

Chattanooga's first cruise following shakedown was to the Caribbean, from which she returned to New York City to join the squadron which cleared for Cherbourg, France 18 June 1905. At Cherbourg, USS Brooklyn (CA-3) received on board the body of John Paul Jones, which the squadron brought home to the United States Naval Academy, arriving at Annapolis 23 July. Through the remainder of the year, Chattanooga aided in training men of the Maine and Massachusetts Naval Militia, and cruised briefly in the Caribbean. On 28 December she cleared San Juan, Puerto Rico, for the Suez Canal and duty in the Pacific. Between 29 April 1906, when she arrived at Cavite, P.I., and 10 August 1910, when she reported at Puget Sound Navy Yard for inactivation, Chattanooga joined the Asiatic Fleet in its winter operations in the Philippines and summer cruises to China, aiding in representing America's strength and interest in the Orient. Chattanooga was decommissioned at Puget Sound Navy Yard 17 September 1910.[6]

World War I

Chattanooga was placed in reserve commission 31 August 1912, remaining at Puget Sound, and in full commission 21 April 1914, for duty in Mexican waters. Through 1915 and 1916, she cruised to protect American interests from the disorder of the Mexican Revolution, and this duty continued after America's entrance into World War I until May 1917. Chattanooga then sailed through the Panama Canal for several months of patrol duties in the Caribbean, searching for German raiders. From July 1917, she escorted convoys from the Atlantic coast to rendezvous with other escorts in the approaches to French ports. This rugged duty across the stormy mid-Atlantic was broken only by two escort missions to Nova Scotia.[6]

Chattanooga took part in the Victory Fleet Review taken by the Secretary of the Navy in New York harbor 26 December 1918. After an overhaul, the cruiser carried a party of Liberian officials to Monrovia, then turned north for Plymouth, England, which she reached 7 May. As flagship of U.S. Naval Forces, European Waters, Chattanooga sailed among English and French ports until June. On 29 June, she served as leading honor escort guarding President Woodrow Wilson's departure from France in George Washington, then sailed on to call at German and Belgian ports before arriving in the Mediterranean for service as flagship for U.S. Naval Forces, Turkish Waters. Cruising primarily in the Black Sea, she also served in the Adriatic in connection with the disposal of ships of the former Austro-Hungarian Navy. From January through May 1921, she conducted regular patrols with the cruiser squadron assigned to European waters, and on 1 June, returned to the United States. She was decommissioned at Boston 19 July 1921, and laid up at Portsmouth Navy Yard until sold 8 March 1930.[6]

Chattanooga's bell was at a now-closed American Legion post in Shelbyville Tennessee, in late 2015 was at the National Medal of Honor Museum in the Northgate Mall, and soon will be incorporated into a memorial to the victims of the attack on the recruiting station at Chattanooga, Tennessee.[8]


  1. "Ships' Data, U. S. Naval Vessels". US Naval Department. 1 January 1914. pp. 40–47. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  2. Toppan, Andrew (8 September 1996). "US Cruisers List: Protected Cruisers and Peace Cruisers". Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  3. "Ships' Data, U. S. Naval Vessels". US Naval Department. 1 July 1921. pp. 60–67. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  4. White Journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers February 1905, p. 104.
  5. White Journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers February 1905, p. 105.
  6. "Chattanooga II (C-16)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History and Heritage Command. 30 June 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  7. White Journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers February 1905, pp. 115–121.
  8. Mark Kennedy, "Ship's Bell finds a home, a purpose", Chattanooga Times Free Press, 31 December 2015
  • This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
  • White, W. W. (February 1905). "The U.S.S. Chattanooga: General Description—Standardization and Official Trials". Journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers. Vol. XVII no. 1. pp. 104–122.
  • Photo gallery of USS Chattanooga (CL-18) at NavSource Naval History
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