Colliers of the U.S. Navy

By Patrick McSherry

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General:

The ships of the U.S. Navy were powered by coal. As the U.S. did not have coaling stations around the world, and because it could be inopertune to have ships leave  therir stations to get to a coaling base, the navy moved quickly to secure a sufficient number of colliers to serve its fleets. Colliers, or coaling vessels, had to be able to carry a sufficient amount of coal and the means to get that coal aboard naval vessels.

Also, since the colliers purchased were sufficiently powerful, they were equipped with tow lines to enable them to tow damaged naval vessels should the need arise. Additionally the colliers were outfitted with a defensive guu battery.


Abarenda ||| Alexander ||| Brutus ||| Caesar ||| Cassius ||| Hannibal ||| Hector ||| Justin ||| Lebanon
Marcellus ||| Nanshan ||| Nero ||| Pompey ||| Saturn ||| Scindia ||| Scipio ||| Southery ||| Sterling



ABARENDA   
Displacement
 Dimensions
Horsepower
Speed
Armament
Coal Capacity
Crew
4670 tons
314 ft. x 42 ft. x 22 ft. 6 in.
1050 hp
9 knots
four 3-pounders, later replaced by four 6-pounders
3843 tons
9 officers + 60 enlisted men 
The ABARENDA was a steel vessel built in 1892 in Newcastle, England by the S. B. Edwards Company. She served the Eastern Squadron the in Atlantic . She was commissioned by the U.S. Navy on May 20, 1898 under the command of Lt. Cmdr. M. B.Buford. She carried coal between Virgina and Santiago and Guantanamo Bay. During the Philippine American War she saw service in the Pacific, heloing to establish a coaling station at Samoa. On January 21, 1926 she was stricken from the navy rolls, and was sold to the S. R. Paterno company of Manila, P.I. The ship was renamed ANTONIO and was used by Madrigal & Company of Manila until she was scrapped in 1934.

Collier USS Alexander
The USS ALEXANDER taken about week after her commissioning. Though she is a naval
vessel, she retains her company markings on her funnel.

ALEXANDER
Displacement
 Dimensions
Horsepower
Speed
Armament
Coal Capacity
Crew
6181 tons
330ft. x 43 ft. x 23 ft. 1 in.
1029 hp
9 knots
two 3-pounders
4200 tons
8 officers + 60 enlisted men 
The ALEXANDER was a steel vessel built in 1894 in Stockton-on-Tees, England by the Richardson Duck Company. She served the Eastern Squadron in the Atlantic . She was commissioned by the U.S. Navy on June 1, 1898.


BRUTUS
Displacement
 Dimensions
Horsepower
Speed
Armament
Coal Capacity
Crew
 
321ft. 5 in. x 41 ft. 5 in. x 23 ft. 3 in.
1200 hp
10 knots
two 6-pounders
 
9 officers + 55 enlisted men 
The BRUTUS was a steel vessel built in 1894 in South Shields, England by J. Readhead & Sons. She served the Asiatic Squadron the Pacific . She was commissioned by the U.S. Navy on May 27, 1898.


CAESAR
Displacement
 Dimensions
Horsepower
Speed
Armament
Coal Capacity
Crew
 5016 tons
310 ft. x 44 ft. x 19 ft. 6 in.
1500 hp
10 knots
two 3-pounders, two 1-pounders

6 officers + 48 enlisted men 
The CAESAR was a steel vessel built in 1896 in Stockton-on-Tees, England by the Ropner & Sons. She served the North Atlantic Fleet. She was commissioned by the U.S. Navy on May 13, 1898.


CASSIUS
Displacement
 Dimensions
Horsepower
Speed
Armament
Coal Capacity
Crew
 
351 ft. 1.25 in. x 43 ft. x 26 ft.
 

two Rapid-fire Colts
2897 tons
8 officers + 68 enlisted men 
The CASSIUS was a steel vessel built in 1883 in Hamburg, Germany by the Reiherstieg Shipyard. She served the Eastern Squadron in the Atlantic. She was commissioned by the U.S. Navy on June 6, 1898.


HANNIBAL
Displacement
 Dimensions
Horsepower
Speed
Armament
Coal Capacity
Crew
 4291 tons
264 ft. 6 in. x 39 ft. 3 in. x 17 ft. 8 in.
 1100 hp
10 knots
two Dudley-Sims guns
 
8 officers + 42 enlisted men 
The HANNIBAL was a steel vessel built in 1898 in Sunderland, England by J Blumer & Co. She served the North Atlantic Fleet. She was commissioned by the U.S. Navy on June 7, 1898.


HECTOR
Displacement
 Dimensions
Horsepower
Speed
Armament
Coal Capacity
Crew
 
351 ft. 1.25 in. x 43 ft. x 26 ft.
 
10 knots
two 6-pounders
2600 tons
7 officers + 74 enlisted men 
The HECTOR was a steel vessel built in 1883 in Newcastle, England by Wigham, Richardson & Co. She was commissioned by the U.S. Navy on June 30, 1898.


JUSTIN
Displacement
 Dimensions
Horsepower
Speed
Armament
Coal Capacity
Crew
3300 tons
278 ft. x 39 ft. x 19 ft. 6 in.
 
8.5 knots
two 6-pounders
2600 tons
6 officers + 47 enlisted men 
The JUSTIN was a steel vessel built in 1891 in Middleboro-on-Tees, England by R. Dixon & Co. She served the North Atlantic Fleet, being commissioned by the U.S. Navy on April 27, 1898.


LEBANON
Displacement
 Dimensions
Horsepower
Speed
Armament
Coal Capacity
Crew
 
249 ft. x 36 ft. x 17 ft. 9 in.
 
10 knots
four 6-pounders
1800 tons
5 officers + 53 enlisted men 
The LEBANON was an iron vessel built in 1894 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA by William Cramp & Sons. She served the North Atlantic Fleet, being commissioned by the U.S. Navy on April 16, 1898.

USS Leonidas with mast from Battleship Maine
The USS LEONIDAS from 1911. Visble on her deck is the main mast of the USS MAINE,
which was returned from Cuba and placed in Arlington National Cemetery.

LEONIDAS
Displacement
 Dimensions
Horsepower
Speed
Armament
Coal Capacity
Crew
 4242 tons
261 ft. 6 in. x 39 ft. 2.5 in. x 17 ft. 8 in.
1000 hp 
13 knots
two 3-pounders
  
7 officers + 45 enlisted men 
The LEONIDAS was a steel vessel built in 1898 in Sunderland, England by S. P. Austin & Son. Ltd. She served the North Atlantic Fleet, being commissioned by the U.S. Navy on May 21, 1898.


MARCELLUS
Displacement
 Dimensions
Horsepower
Speed
Armament
Coal Capacity
Crew
 
282 ft. 6 in. x 35 ft. 10 in. x 20 ft. 6 in.
1200 hp 
11 knots
two 6-pounders
2400 tons  
 
The LEONIDAS was an iron vessel built in 1879 in Sunderland, England by Mounsey & Foster.


NANSHAN (Click here for a full article on NANSHAN)
 
Displacement
 Dimensions
Horsepower
Speed
Armament
Coal Capacity
Crew
5059 tons
238 ft. x 39 ft. 1 in. x 21 ft. 3 in.
  
11 knots
None
  
  
The NANSHAN was a steel vessel built in 1896 in Grangemouth, Scoland by the Grangemouth Dockyard Co. She served the Asiatic Squadron and was present in Manila Bay during the Battle of Manila Bay. When she was purchased by Commodore Dewey the British cew of about 45 remained with the ship, and only one U.S. Navy officer was placed aboard for co-ordination. She was deliberately left un-armed, all in a effort to work around the neutrality laws to allow for Dewey to purchase coal as needed.


NERO
Displacement
 Dimensions
Horsepower
Speed
Armament
Coal Capacity
Crew
 
312 ft. x 41 ft.
  1000 hp
10 knots
Four 3 in. Breechloading Rifles
  
9 officers + crew 
The NERO was a steel vessel built in 1895 in Sunderland, England by J. L. Thompson & Son. Ltd. She served the Asiatic Squadron, being commissioned by the U.S. Navy on June 8, 1898.


POMPEY
Displacement
 Dimensions
Horsepower
Speed
Armament
Coal Capacity
Crew
 3085 tons
234 ft. x 33 ft. 6 in. x 15 ft. 10 in.
  
10 knots
two 6-pounders
  
5 officers 37 crew 
The POMPEY was a steel vessel built in 1895 in Sunderland, England by  S. P. Austin & Son. Ltd. She served the North Atlantic Fleet, being commissioned by the U.S. Navy on May 26, 1898.


SATURN
Displacement
 Dimensions
Horsepower
Speed
Armament
Coal Capacity
Crew
6220 tons
275 ft. x 40 ft. x 22 ft.
   1500 hp
12.5 knots
two 6-pounders
  
7 officers 64 crew 
The SATURN was an iron vessel built in 1890 in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A. by Harlan & Holllingsworth. She served the North Atlantic Fleet, being commissioned by the U.S. Navy on April 11, 1898.


SCINDIA
Displacement
 Dimensions
Horsepower
Speed
Armament
Coal Capacity
Crew
7500 tons
375 ft. x 46 ft. 2 in. x 24 ft. 6 in.
   3000 hp
12 knots
two 6-pounders
4550 tons  
10 officers + 98 crew 
The SCINDIA was a steel vessel built in 1890 in Glasgow, Scotland by D. and W. Henderson & Co. She served the Eastern Squadron in the Atlantic, being commissioned by the U.S. Navy on May 21, 1898.


SCIPIO
Displacement
 Dimensions
Horsepower
Speed
Armament
Coal Capacity
Crew
6864 tons
383 ft. x 40 ft. x 23 ft. 6 in.
   2422 hp
14.5 knots
 
 
7 officers + crew 
The SCIPIO was a steel vessel built in 1882 in Dumbarton, Scotland by William Denney & Bros.


SOUTHERY
Displacement
 Dimensions
Horsepower
Speed
Armament
Coal Capacity
Crew
3100 tons
288 ft. x 38 ft. 9.75 in. x 18 ft. 3 in.
   3000 hp
9 knots
 
300 tons  
6 officers + 46 crew 
The SOUTHERY was an iron vessel built in 1889 in Sunderland, England by R. Thompson Sons & Co. She served the North Atlantic Fleet, being commissioned by the U.S. Navy on April 16, 1898.


STERLING
Displacement
 Dimensions
Horsepower
Speed
Armament
Coal Capacity
Crew
5663 tons
274ft. x 37 ft. x 23 ft.
   926 hp
11 knots
two 6-pounders
   
5 officers + 55 crew 
The STERLINGwas an iron vessel built in 1881 in Port Glasgow, Scotland by Duncan & Co. She served the North Atlantic Fleet, being commissioned by the U.S. Navy on April 16, 1898.


Bibliography:

Clerk of the Joint Committee on Printing, The Abridgement: Message from the President of the United States to the Two House of Congress. Vol II (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1899) 1226-1227.

Barrash, Marvin W., Murder on the Abarenda. (Berwyn Heights, MD: Heritage Books Inc., 2016) 117 -122.

USS ALEXANDER image - U.S. National Archives RG-19-A-1, Photo #19-N-14265

USS LEONIDAS - Library of Congress Call Number: LC-H261- 788
.


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